Tear down the fences in your head and think far beyond the boundaries of your own territory. This is the attitude that has guided the Raaba-based fence manufacturer H+S Zauntechnik for years. Two successful entries for design competitions by this fence construction specialist in the recent past – each in cooperation with Creative Industries Styria – are evidence of that. The result is sensational fence designs by local creative people, some of which have also found their way into the H+S product range – most notably the “WunderBAR” fence by the Viennese architect and designer Martin Mostböck. This fence design, which is reminiscent of product and goods barcodes, is now a fixture in the portfolio of the regional fence manufacturer.
H+S Designer of the Year
Martin Mostböck is also at the center of the company’s current design endeavors. The fruitful cooperation between the designer and his Raaba client has resulted in a new form of collaboration that made Mostböck “H+S Designer of the Year” without further ado. The designer immersed himself in the world of H+S Zauntechnik for a year in order to increase their design potential and create fresh product ideas. A company with a long tradition became the playground for creative escalations. He found that, rather than fences, furniture made of steel trellis, wires and sheet metal should be developed and promoted. “The company already has experience with steel trellis furniture and can building on a certain tradition”, explain Martin Ritter and Günther Baumhackl, managing directors of H+S Zauntechnik. “In recent years, a number of successful furniture designs could be created, partly in collaboration with top designers such as Thomas Feichtner.” With HoTi, a hybrid of a stool and a table, and the GiBi wall decoration, two pieces of steel trellis furniture are currently available in the H+S web shop.
Another promising product will soon be added to the portfolio: “Bunch of Holes” is the name of an outdoor furniture ensemble consisting of a table and three stools – the first result of the “H+S Designer of the Year” cooperation. The furniture ensemble is characterized by its striking perforated look and cheerful color composition. Stackability is also a central design element, providing functional added value. The ingenious arrangement of the holes allows the stool legs to seamlessly fit into table, thus merging the ensemble in a compact and space-saving manner. The holes are cut from stainless steel using a laser cutter. “Thanks to the perforated structure, the furniture is well ventilated and also dries quickly after it rains,” explains Mostböck.
Cooperation at eye level
The recipe for a successful cooperation? Many years of manufacturing expertise in metal processing and first-class design know-how. The prototype has already been finalized and will be presented as part of the Design Month Graz. Preparations for the production of a small series are currently in full swing. “The successful design, the sophisticated workmanship and the material used make this outdoor furniture ensemble a high-quality product suitable for marketing in the upscale segment,” explains Martin Ritter, who – in addition to his own web shop – is aiming for sales in interior and furniture stores. Baumhackl: “I can also see great market opportunities for the product in the design-savvy gastronomy and hotel industry.”
Work is already under way on further developing the design. “We are currently in the process of implementing an armchair with a backrest as an additional element of ‘Bunch of Holes’”, Martin Mostböck said. Further ideas are to be continued in the course of the year. This cooperation on equal terms is met with enthusiasm on both sides: the pragmatic, cost-consc0ious view of the entrepreneurs is synergistically combined with the designer’s willingness to experiment. Mostböck: “It is literally a creative exchange that takes place here, as we gradually find out what the other can do or what they don’t yet know that they can do. This is how the best ideas are generated.”
Text: Wolfgang Schober