It’s likely commercial designers saw a bevy of product releases in 2020 offering solutions for safer spaces amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. New panels and shield guards have certainly been prolific, designed to create more distance between those in commercial environments and to protect employees at forward-facing counters like office receptions, retail check-outs and hotel front desks.
Acoustic and acrylic panel manufacturer 3form has taken a more intricate approach with one of its newest collections, the Artisan Collection. Comprising four new handmade patterns of its translucent Varia panels—Bentuk, Savu, Tribe and Ladder—the Artisan Collection uses locally sourced materials developed by Indonesian and Senegalese craftspeople to bring a biophilic feel to any space.
Local materials in the translucent collection include hand-bent grass formations from the Wlingi area of Indonesia (Bentuk), and hand-cut strips of cloth carefully sewn together (Tribe) and recycled wire (Ladder) from Ndem, Senegal.
One of 3form’s missions as a company is to help preserve artisanship throughout the world, and it often works with craftspeople from different countries and backgrounds. After analyzing materials available to those craftspeople and their unique skillsets, 3form considers how to marry those two factors to create a thoughtful, sustainable product or collection.
“We just felt like the Bentuk and the Savu, with their very linear forms, lined up so beautifully with the Tribe and the Ladder, and that it created this beautiful collection all tied together by our seasonal color palette,” says Christian Darby, vice president of design for 3form.
Bentuk, meaning “shape” in Indonesian, is made up of playful hand-bent grass formations. The material is a malleable native Indonesian grass that allows artisans to bend, twist and form it into shapes. Savu, also crafted in Indonesia, comprises repeating patterns of “flowery bursts,” handmade by artisans using fine threads.
From Senegal, Tribe features a plain-woven textile, in irregular linear patterns, that can take on dye very easily, according to Darby. Tribe is available in pure white or “natural,” which is a colorway achieved by naturally dying the textile using local Senegalese plants, materials and other organics. And Ladder, made from skilled wireworkers in Ndem, features patterns made from hand-bent recycled wire.
The panels can be applied through 3form’s extruded aluminum system, allowing them to reach from floor to ceiling. They can also be cantilevered at eight feet or all the way down to four feet for a half wall. For a lighter look and feel, designers can also install the panels with 3form’s cable suspense system.
All of 3form’s barrier products, including the Artisan Collection, are bleach cleanable, making them appropriate for healthcare applications. “We see our materials specifically chosen in healthcare quite often,” Darby says. “For the cleanability, and then it also allows so much light translucency to come through. It does a beautiful job of that compared to a lot of products.”
“3form is really thinking about biophilia and human health and wellness,” Darby adds. “And I think the Artisan Collection is a perfect example of how these temporary solutions can be subbed out for long-term solutions that look beautiful and make people feel great while they’re in a space.”