In today’s design culture, there are numerous degrees of personalization, customization, and bespoke design. Unfortunately many of these go-to designer buzz words are oftentimes misused.
Many furniture brands provide customers with “options”: color choice, width, height, accents…so long as these options live within the range of measures found in their catalogs. For the majority of brands, customization implies a very small window of choice and it would be more appropriate to define what they offer as “limited customization”
A wardrobe model, for example, will have a range of 3 to 4 different heights within which the customer has to choose. If he or she wants a measure different from those offered by the company, he or she will be billed at a much higher price and will need to wait a much long time (sometimes more than 6 months) for the delivery of the product. The same is true for lighting, you may be able to choose a lamp and a finishing- but you cannot request a different lamp structure or to use your favorite color. That request is off catalog and outside the allowed range of customization; it simply would not be realizable.
Design-Apart completely flips this idea on its head.
The incredible photostream presented here by Paolo Ponti of Ermes Ponti gives you a window into what real customization means as well as one of most important aims of Design-Apart: creating and distributing handcraft Italian furniture that stands apart from mass production.
In our Living Showroom loft in Manhattan, clients will see amazing products- like a cabinet crafted with 5 or 6 different depths all made to make the best of the space behind the cabinet, which is not straight at all. The cabinet includes 2 entrances (1 for an elevator and 1 for stairs), and hides a small laundry and other features. It is nothing less than a piece of art, unprecedented and designed to mold around the architecture of the loft and the requirements of the client. It improves the loft by making it larger and streamlining the space.
This product was not a part of any catalog (In fact, Ermes Ponti doesn’t really even have a catalogue!). Paolo and Daniela just took one look at the loft floor plan knew exactly what was needed. They tailored the industrial architecture specifically to the loft and created some amazing cabinets that completely transform the space. What it’s even more incredible, is that they were able to do this in a shorter amount of time, and within the same budget, as other leading Italian design brands.
Ermes Ponti is able to do this because they have reorganized the production process and have invested in professionals and experienced people. Business structures like theirs, allow us to talk about a revolution in industrial design – today you can make each product different and still be within the parameters of industrial design. It’s the new bespoke industrial design era- and we’re so excited to be a part of it!