Loop by Tom Skeehan
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COLLABORATION

Tom: We’ve had a longstanding relationship with Instyle working together on many furniture projects. This honest and easy relationship opened up the conversation to develop an acoustic product exclusively for Instyle.

Carol: Working with designers from different disciplines allows us to combine our collective knowledge, and so we were thrilled to work with Tom to bring his signature style and a new handwriting to our collection with a new print design for our acoustic panels.

 

tan acoustic panel with print behind chair and designer on right

 

BRIEF

Carol: Our aim was to keep the brief open so Tom and his team could respond without being inhibited by too many restrictions or manufacturing constraints.

Tom: After initial research and collaboration, our studio responded with a formal design brief that we used to funnel the project into a clear conceptual direction. One goal was to design a print that referenced our process and furniture products. Wanting to create a product that understood the A&D sector while complementing the interior and products surrounding it. Flexibility was very important, exploring a clean language that had opportunity to scale.

 

 

INSPIRATION

Tom: We celebrate materiality and process in all our products: the subtle intersection of materials and the relationship between each of these components. We wanted to capture this narrative in the print.

Loop began as a series of investigative drawings of our furniture products and our process: looking at the feedback channel in our design process and defining features in our furniture products.

The notion of a continuous line and overlapping sections became very apparent, we tried to visualize this in a series of two-dimensional layered drawings that could translate into a repeatable pattern.

 

grey printed acoustic panel behind chair and table and woman looking at a panel chip sample

 

COLOR

Tom: The open channel of communication between both studios allowed us to work quickly and creatively, combining each of our studios’ appreciation of color. Multiple textile samples and paint swatches were used to help visualize color opportunities before experimenting with small-scale strike offs to see how the true tones would appear once printed on the acoustic felt base.

Carol: When collaborating on coloration we wanted to include some of our classic neutrals as well as capturing the essence of Tom’s color palettes. We spent a lot of time hand mixing the inks for a new rust tone and soft ochre to achieve the right hue and saturation and also introduce warmth to our ecoustic® print palettes.

 

 

COLLABORATIVE PROCESS

Carol: Working with Tom and his studio was very easy. His first concepts were so well researched and on track with our design intent that our team was unanimous in identifying a clear winner in Loop from the beginning.

Tom: This was very honest and fluid. Instyle gave us room to develop and explore the sector in our own time and process. As the project progressed they increased involvement in every step, helping guide the project to a commercially viable solution. Their in-depth understanding of pattern repeats, material and process always excited us, we learnt a lot on this project and loved the feedback process created.

 

 

DESIGN PROCESS + APPROACH

Tom: We approached this project the same way we develop all our products, creating a detailed brief and set of goals. These parameters help guide the project and keep it on schedule. The early-stages are dedicated to research and ideation: exploring a vast range of possibilities and overall outcomes through sketches and mock ups.

From here we transferred the concepts to a digital format for further manipulation and finished artwork creation. We went through this overall feedback channel a couple of times to arrive at the pattern for Loop. We then handed over the package to Instyle to develop into a seamless repeating pattern and experiment with scale, with a final round of iteration and refinement before sign off from both studios.

CHALLENGES

Carol: Once the scale and repeat of Tom’s concept were approved, we tested the artwork at full scale. The printed panels are often installed side by side, so it is paramount to have a seamless repeat that works on a large scale. All our ecoustic print repeats are designed at the full panel size of 47.25″ x 106.3″ so it is amazing how many small flaws you see when printed to scale on paper that can easily be missed digitally.

Tom: We normally work on three dimensional projects, so adapting our workflow and prototyping process to come up with concepts for a two-dimensional print was very challenging. However, the team at the studio loved this new approach and we have since started investing in new forms of model making and software for future projects.

 

 

LOCAL DESIGN + MANUFACTURE

Tom: Our studio is built on local manufacturing, working closely with companies in Australia to realize our projects. We love connecting with the people that create the products we design, this valuable source of knowledge and collaborations are the backbone of our company. The opportunity to work with another Australian company, share the same goals and grow together is very rewarding.

Carol: It was a fantastic opportunity to combine our expertise with such a talented local designer and also have the product made in Australia. We are really happy with the result and look forward to many more collaborations with Tom and his team.

rectangular button for printed panel loop

Photography: Adam McGrath. Styling: Rachel Byron

rectangular button to view video on printed panel loop