When established in 2006, Submaterial relied heavily on custom product orders for both commercial and residential clients. However, over the past five years, our company has been almost exclusively selling a standard collection of Wallcovering designs. We are grateful for the growth our Wallcoverings have allowed for our company, but we now have an incredible team of creative minds who can take on special projects with more ingenuity than ever before.
With the introduction of our own Territory Managers to market our custom capabilities, we’re able to find those clients. Every custom project we complete gives our team new skills and often paves the way for new product development.
Our most recent custom project for Explora stemmed from an established relationship via material donation to their arts and crafts area. After putting over 30 bags of wool felt scraps to use in almost two years, their team saw a way for us to collaborate on a few custom pieces for their Studio Inventivo exhibit.
Their project management and exhibits team connected with Submaterial in need of a welcoming and sound dampening Study Kiosk. They also wanted a few decorative pieces to tie the rest of the room together.
Our teams collaborated through a series of meetings to establish colors, sizes, and design specifications. Since Explora is local, we didn’t have to create samples or do extensive prototyping, other than the kiosk cover being that it is such a unique custom piece (pictured below).
After agreeing on materials, colors, sizes, and the design, our team began the fabrication process.
Our studio is broken into a few departments specializing in different aspects of product design. This custom project went through our Woodshop, Panel Studio, and Sewing Studio. The kiosk was built from plywood in varying thicknesses by our Woodshop crew, then covered with a removable felt sleeve crafted in the Sewing Studio.
The team sewing the kiosk cover used a purple felt with green thread and made it removable with a zipper. Exhibits tend to be up at Explora for 2-5 years, and we want to be sure they can clean it or replace it if damaged during use.
The Wall Panels selected for this exhibit are a custom iteration of our Bulb design with color-blocking and a panel series in our deconstructed Wall Panel 068 design. This panel series was made with purple and yellow felt to tie the purple Study Kiosk to the gray and yellow color-blocked Bulb panel together.
Another benefit of being local is the ability for our team to handle installation. Although we do not technically offer installation services, there are specific cases where it makes sense to have our crew onsite. This project was a combination of a client purchase and a donation, where we covered a large portion of labor costs for the benefit of a long-term community project. A few team members delivered the custom pieces, and spent a few hours getting the panels hung and the kiosk in the correct location.
Explora & the Finished Exhibit
Explora is a museum focused on hands-on learning of science, engineering, math, and art. The Studio Inventivo exhibit is an upstairs corner dedicated to the art of making and sharing ideas.
“Studio Inventivo is a space at Explora for children and families to use tools and technology to transform familiar materials into projects that highlight the intersections of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). In this space, visitors can design a concept or project idea, create a prototype or test version of their design, and share stories about the process of creating their project through displaying their work or recording a digital story at the Story Kiosk station.”
We stopped in to photograph the exhibit and loved how the Submaterial Wall Panels looked in the space, especially with the natural light and bright yellow truss situated adjacent to Studio Inventivo!
If you are interested in working with the Submaterial team on a custom project, get in touch via email at [email protected].