From a design to a finished product: the journey of Vapaa

  • From a design to a finished product: the journey of Vapaa

The success of our products is ascribed not only to the famous designers. It is the joint effort of our internal design team collaborating with experts in technology, constructors, product and portfolio managers, marketing and more. In this cycle, you will find out what their work looks like, and you’ll discover some interesting facts about how our products are introduced.

What do training rooms, formal meeting rooms and a canteen have in common? All of them are meant to facilitate communication. These spaces are used by all employees, regardless of their position. We need meetings and the opportunity to integrate with others, just as we sometimes need to chill out and depart from the tasks we’re immersed in. In these spaces, there’s no hierarchy. We’re all equal here because no chair is assigned to a specific person.

And this is what Vapaa is – a line designed for everybody. The name is derived from Finnish and refers to something free, not occupied or assigned to a specific person.

The Nowy Styl Design Team is a multidisciplinary group composed of specialists in various fields. This structure means we can easily make decisions on specific stages of product implementation: we analyse different opportunities and limitations, at the same time making sure the original concept is coherent and aesthetic. As an architect and an interior designer, I could apply my knowledge of ergonomics and my understanding of construction in the Vapaa implementation process. Had it been not for the collaboration with other specialists in the team, such as material technologists or constructors, we wouldn’t have been able to push the project to serial production.
Łukasz Sztuka
Workplace Planning Manager, projektant linii Vapaa
The Vapaa line was designed for coffee shops, which needed a fresh and versatile product. At the design stage, the line gradually evolved and gained more instances of practical use.
  • The Spider version, which is the most popular among users, was initially an offshoot of the main line. I believe it is so popular because I decided to use consistent elements instead of reaching for the ready-made plastic base – says Łukasz Sztuka. 

  • The upholstery design in the tall version of the backrest serves to differentiate colours around the table, while the base remains in a consistent colour. This idea stemmed from the designer’s experience: other products he had worked on so far simply didn’t offer this option.

  • The low backrest version was never included in the original brief for this chair. While the designer observed the production of prototypes, he had an idea to come up with another version of the seat. I realised that the Vapaa seat with its original division is so tall that you could easily create a lower version, without the upholstery split, which is still going to be comfortable enough to sit on. Such versions are trendy in the Scandinavian market - he adds.

The spider version and the low seat were quickly incorporated into the design and pushed to the production stage. After a week or two we received the prototypes. Such unexpected twists and turns are the most interesting moments of the process, but they call for mindfulness and openness to new ideas.
It takes more than just a good or original idea to design a good piece of furniture, although this is, of course, an important step. I was surprised at how much work and involvement you need throughout the journey: from the concept to implementation. It takes numerous team meetings, debates, discussions and a series of amendments. On the one hand, you need to be able to find a compromise, and on the other hand, you should stand for those ideas and solutions which are crucial for appearance and functionality. The best part of the entire process was team meetings. We browsed through the prototypes and debated a variety of options and what-ifs. Those meetings were incredibly creative but never easy. Good humour kept us going.
Łukasz Sztuka
Workplace Planning Manager, projektant linii Vapaa
There are many options to explore, thanks to the versatile shape of the line and the deliberately designed base. The Vapaa chair can even be expanded into a Lounge version!
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    Read the previous article in the cycle