Advertise Here

Monday, October 1, 2012

Modular Skylight


By Teresa Simon
Photography: Courtesy Foster + Partners


Humble stratagems in product design can make life simpler; proves Foster & Partners’ design of their latest modular skylight…

Apart from their architectural expertise, Fosters + Partners have a long history of collaborating with manufacturers to develop products. In a first, merging architectural pragmatism with aesthetic and technological sensibilities of a company like VELUX, Fosters +Partners have designed a building element product that professes to set new standards for energy efficiency.

Aimed at radically improving environmental performance of every aspect of roof lights, the new frame offers levels of insulation far better than that of a typical aluminium profile.

.

The innovative VMS solution is designed to function in a wide range of building types, from offices to schools, retail spaces and hotels. The range of three skylights fulfils different requirements in terms of size, placement and functionality and the modular system proves highly versatile – it can be used to create a single window, or even to cover an entire atrium.

.

.

The glazing is framed by slim pultrusion profiles that have a thermal performance comparable to timber, combined with a tensile strength greater than aluminium or steel. Yet, compared to aluminium, the glass fibre composite is more sustainable and strong enough to support triple-glazed units up to three metres long.

The open-able skylights support natural ventilation, rain-proof trickle ventilation and night ventilation strategies, as well as smoke clearance, maximising daylight, offering high thermal performance and facilitating the integration of glare control blinds. The system can also work in tandem with fully integrated motorised controls linked to BMS systems to form part of a low-energy, whole building lighting, heating and ventilation approach. Further a range of glass specifications that suit different European climates have been worked upon and ensure that solar gain is kept to a minimum, where not desired.

.

An effort like this one, which brings an expert architectural practice on the same platform as a technical manufacturing giant, can indeed open new doors to design thinking and solutions. As David Nelson, Senior Partner and Head of Design at Foster + Partners concludes, “…we are able to achieve a lot more for a lot less.”

.

.

14 comments:

  1. what the generally more reputable of manufacturers don't want to do is to cut out the "middleman" ie the wholesaler who's invested his money in the warehouse space and personel necessary to stock manufacturer merchandise, has provided personel for showroom and wholesale departments and related office merchandise and space, and not forgetting the showroom space to further promote and sell said merchandise, and provided at least a portion of the money co-advertising in all manor of media to satisfy not only this investment but propbably manufacturer's requirement to sell x amount of dollars monthly/annually to justify keeping wholesaler at this status, and last but not least, the investment in reps who, like the manufacturers, make special appointments with designers expressly for the purpose of promoting/specifying said merchandise including creating a relationship of interaction whereby any custom design coordination can be created and even on occasion co-promoted and advertised as having been incorporated into manufacturer's scope of offerings...you get the picture...
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Michele Prud'hommeOctober 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Any relationship like this is challenging because of the unusal amounts of large egos in this business. Ha! I takes a lot of open minds to produce exactly what the designer wants. However, the manufacturer does have the responsibility to point out items that may not be in the best interest of the final customer. The next step is to get the installers to put it in correctly. My husband (an architect and builder) had to fire two different roofing crews that would not install the way he speced.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  3. India, I think that you are receiving some excellent advise. You are in Mumbai, so you need to decide the market area.you wish to serve. having a relationship in the UK and Europe as an independent is easier than where you are or even in the states. You have to sell yourself and your abilities, have an u to date digital portfolio and be able to crank out work on a set schedule. i would suggest developing a simple website. Be ready to state rates.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The problem here usually between this pairing will always come down to Trust and Greed.
    I have found in some cases Greed takes over the Quality aspect of the relationship.
    In other words the designer even though they are getting a Good Quality product and competetive rates will look to make a better Margin Elsewhere and the Quality may be lost.
    Usually the pairing may get seperated over a period of Time and the Designer comes back after finding The other manufacturer cant produce the Quality they need.
    On the other Hand the Manufacturer becomes complacent, what was once a good quality Product he produced regularly for his client becomes less so, trying to make more money
    from the same product can only result in substandard materials, finish and attention to detail, also bad managing of the product from order to completion will result in the same outcome. The relationship is like a marriage you have to work at it.
    As a manufacturer we have found The relationship becomes a little one Sided from the deisgners point of View but we have Learnt to deal with that. We do need each other especially in todays Current climate, having a good stable relationship of Trust, enables a Designer to provide the Client with a team of Craftsmen and women they can rely on over and over, the fast buck in the short term is not the answer.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  5. The relationship works two ways. The manufacture needs to provide accurate infomation on the product being recommended and be frank with the designer if the product falls short in any area and state it up front. The manufacture needs to walk away if their product is not a good fit and if possible recommend a direction the designer may find the product.The manufacture should be a resource to the designer. This builds the rep creditabilty. On the other hand the designer needs to provide the manufactures rep the job name, it's location and the time line of the job. This is the only way the rep can track the job and the sale. The designer needs to notify the rep if the project is being valued-engineered. This allows the manufacture who has put time and effort into the project to respond first. By doing this the designer may not have to reselect product or finishes which increase the non billable time on the project. This crates a win win for both the design firm and the manufacture. This team effort establishes a good relationship.
    As a designer I call my manufactures, tell them what I need. They provide me with their best product or products that fit my requirements. I them select the product, finishes and colors. After selection I get back with all providers to let them know if thier product was selected. I then share with the specified manufacture all the information they need to track the job. In only this way can they tie the spec to a sale and the value of the relationship Many times the manufacture will call if the GC or end user is requesting alternates. This allows us to better control the final product to the client and protect the design integity of the job.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I find many home owners are bypassing the designer and asking the manufacturer for design advice. For example, in a kitchen redo, instead of hiring a designer to coordinate the different elements the make up a kitchen, get the traffic flow, and space optimized, they'll ask the granite manufacturer (for example) to help them with these other aspects. It puts a lot of pressure on the manufacturer and leaves the designer out of the loop.
    I know of a few manufacturers who recommend hiring a designer to coordinate a project, and I thank those of you who do. Great relationships can be established by manufacturers including designers in the construction process, making it a win for the consumer as well.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with Stephens points but I have found it also takes both sides being willing to open their minds to new ideas and concepts while keeping the customer's perspective in view. Designers have to be willing to allow the manufacturer to take their ideas and designs and engineer them for manufacturing. At the same time, designers may have to be more realistic and aware of the limitations of actually manufacturing the project. Many times the viewpoint of the designer is to make a name for themselves which builds a client base for future business. The manufacturer's primary focus is usually profit and the designer has to keep that in mind. The partnership will only survive when the two opposing views are willing to work together for the common goal of achieving both. Stephen is spot on with greed being the demon to control. Manufacturers feel jaded when a designer makes double their profits for considerably less work. Both sides have overhead and both sides need to be compensated for the value they bring to the project. Manufacturers need to also realize that designers spend considerable resources landing clients in order for both to even have a shot at the profits that await.

    I am glad to report that I have been able to find this happy place with architects and designers more times than not. I have always been in a custom manufacturing role so I was ususally the one that offered the designer options they hadn't even considered so maybe I was able to add more value than some. I guess I've been blessed.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Stephen you nailed it! I've been creating custom lighting, bronze work and furniture for over 30 years; working on custom cars before that. I mention it usually only to get a person to TRUST my capabilities and know I wont steer them wrong. Currently 80% of my bids, which do not have large margins, fall through. Often I work from things with no dimensions, no exact finish instructions, and sometimes just a verbal description. i usually will roughly hand draw something, fax/email, it over with a quote and then talk it over with the client/perspective client. 80% of the time they will complain about the price and ask why. I always try to give alternative solutions to save money. At times people will say do part of it and we will take care of the other part; only to come back and tell me to take care of it all. Often a client will try to buy parts cheap or feel they can buy them cheaper - only to learn they can not. Sometimes they will buy a part and we can not use it. A person also must be decisive and give exact instructions. Often a designer will want to change something after it is made. When its a simple fix, not a problem - but often they will say "Change A B and C" and not want to change for an almost complete design change. You have to be open to suggestions from the beginning, be decisive and then be willing to compromise to a point. Lately, from the bigger known companies, it is about going to China. Very unfortunate, but the profit margins to them is much more important then the quality. You see this in mainstream Malls/Galleries with fine furniture, but rarely is anything made in the US or from a quality manufacture overseas.

    Bottom Line - Ask Questions, Listen, Collaborate, Don't Be Greedy, Require Quality Work, Compromise and Be Satisfied in the End.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  9. I found that being a designer with a trained eye for details and by taking manufacturing into my own hands solved my problem. All of our firm's softgood designs are also manufactured in our in-house workroom. The result is good workmanship, well priced, and beautifully coordinated. Finally, a number of designers work with our workroom because of my attention to detail and also because I know where they are coming from. I try to see the problem before it happens and allows us to do the job once. With other manufacturers such as carpentry, we work closely with them to make sure once again, the job is done one time not many times to reach a positive result.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Being a furniture designer who trained as a designer/maker at The John Makepeace School, Parnham House, England it has never caused me a problem.

    The important thing is listening to the client, taking a thorough brief and giving best advice.

    It does help greatly that I can make anything I design and will often have positive discussions on the construction with manufacturers or workshops, to come up with the best solutions.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  11. As both a designer and custom manufacturer supplying to other designers, I have an understanding for both sides of the coin. The competent, dependable manufacturer who provides quality at a slightly better than fair price, will always have work and be able to choose to work with designers that treat them equally. Likewise for designers, those that pass on good quality and value to their clients, will continue to receive referrals and new work. As in any business, it may take years or even a lifetime to find people you trust and enjoy working with, but the rewards are tenfold.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Our entire manufacturing enterprise is based on direct collaboration with Designers. Just as it is the Designers purpose to solve a problem for their Client, so it is our purpose to solve a problem for the Designer. The approach to establishing this relationship is repetition. The more time spent working with our Designers, the better we understand their wants and desires. As this relationship continues, less time is required in the engineering of any one particular item since basic manufacturing concepts have already been worked through on previous projects. If it were not for this direct collaboration, our business would suffer greatly. My sincere apologies to all others who have not yet been able to establish this type of working relationship with their Design Clientele.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  13. A common outcome of good design is that it is very expensive to make. We make hand made organic tiles and wall treatments, but we design ideas that can be made at a reasonable cost. Our design customers can then take the components and expand or change the designs to suit the needs of their clients.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very interesting comments !

    From my humble point of view and almost 40 years in the business, I would say that it is not really a question of greed, and that profit is the main goal. Of course profit is what keeps any business alive but it is very important to please the customer. After all, a pleased customer is likely to come back.
    In my personal experience working with designers, I would say that the main problem is proud. Quite often I had to work based on unintelligible drawings and confusing instructions because designer's lack in constructive knowledge ( in most of the cases ). In order to be sure of what designer wants, I usually present them with detailed drawings and even shop drawings but, sometimes, once the given piece is made according to the approved drawings, there have been designers that said that " this is not what I had in mind " and they never admit that they had been incapable of putting into paper what they really wanted.
    I have a deep respect for designers as I admire their good taste and ideas but I wish they knew how to translate this to a paper so that others could understand it. It would save all of us a lot of time and money.
    Brad mentioned the possibility of a manufacturer being jaded by the other party higher profit, but I do not say so much. In my case, I never know what other's profits may be and it is really not my business. In fact, the more profit they make with my product... the better for my too, as orders will keep coming.
    For short, a designer / manufacturer relationship is not always easy ( as any other ) and one has to learn how to understand each other because we need each other.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: What does it take to establish the designer-manufacturer relationship? How often do manufacturers collaborate with designers?

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...