A look-back at the development of Egli Studio‘s «Easy Aluminium»
«Easy Aluminium» is an outdoor furniture system built entirely out of aluminium. The particularity of «Easy» resides in its injected connection parts: thanks to this ingenious system, only the standard tubes used for the top and the feet vary in dimensions to decline in various bench, stool and table formats, thus offering a variety of solutions to the final customer. In the idea of versatility, the anodised finishing of the set also allows a wide colour range.
In developing «Easy», the design duo has managed to push the thinking on several levels: Thanks to the connector system, the set allows a variety of formats without increasing production costs. Its flat packing capacity makes logistics easier. In terms of sustainability, the set is manufactured entirely in Switzerland from recycled aluminium. The durability of the chosen material – solid anodised aluminium – makes it a resistant product that will last for years and is in line with a more rational and respectful consumption.
Early 2018, the first prototype of «Easy» is realised thanks to the financial support of the Ikea Foundation Switzerland. With this first prototype, they are selected to take part to Pro Helvetia’s SWISS ❤ DESIGN exhibition at the 2018 Milan Design Week. This first public presentation is fruitful for the designer duo: they gather a lot of positive feedback about the product, pique the curiosity of the press and, above all, make a first decisive encounter with Embru‘s CEO, Andreas Mantel.
Following this meeting, the dialogue between Embru and Egli continues. The project appeals to the Swiss manufacture and they offer to study the possibility of putting it on the market. This is a unique opportunity for the young studio: founded in 1904 as a manufacturer of metal beds, Embru has been developing since 1930 modern steel furniture with some of the most renowned architects in Switzerland and abroad, including legendary Marcel Breuer’s chaise longue, Werner Max Moser’s armchair and Alfred Roth’s bed.
In conjunction with the Milan presentation, Pro Helvetia supports «Easy» through its Spring 2018 Call for projects Design and organises targeted coaching sessions with an engineer, Fabrice Knecht, to accompany the studio in the development of the project with Embru. In autumn 2018, Embru presents the prototype under its own label for the first time at a promotional event and is planning to commercialize it in 2020.
Pro Helvetia is happy to have accompanied Egli Studio throughout this project development. It is a good illustration of the design support approach initiated in 2016 by the foundation, which aims to support projects not only in view of their artistic quality, but also with an eye on their innovative approach and market potential. To do so, Pro Helvetia developed new tools (grants, coachings, participation at international fairs, matchmakings) that are aligned to the various steps in the development of a new product – concept, prototype, production, marketing – together with the assistance of expert know-how and advice.