STOCKHOLM – Tyler Adams, the author of Sound Materials, caught up with the Form Us With Love team members – and co-founders BAUX – to discuss their vision to seize on an opportunity to reinvent the aesthetics of Träulit. This Swedish-made, porous building material made from wood wool has excellent sound absorbing properties and the studio found its potential for usage compelling.
TA: How did your development of BAUX come about?
FUWL: One day, we were having lunch at an art museum not far from our new studio. On the wall of the restaurant, the interior architect had placed sound absorbing panels. But not just any panel, a specific type of grey square that we knew from our childhood that covered the ceilings in schools, gyms, etc. Most people who grew up in Sweden know this panel. It might not be something that people necessarily pay attention to, but the fact that it is used by all governmental institutions and most office contractors, makes the chance of a Swede ever seeing one, very high. The material was rough and smooth at the same time, something we thought would be suitable for the general feel we had created in our studio. We sent for samples and received two types of grey. Immediately we began experimenting – ‘this is something we can add a little colour to,’ we thought.
Our passion for the material grew and we decided to visit the only factory in Sweden which produced the panels – the family-owned company called Träullit. Upon our arrival, we met the owner Bengt Rääf who showed us around and spoke passionately about the wood wool material they produced, a mix between cement, water and wood. A year later, we launched the brand we call BAUX.
Wood wool products have been around for many decades. What are some of the advantages and challenges of this material?
Wood wool is sound absorbing, fire resistant, moisture regulating, heat distributing, and made using natural materials. One of the benefits is that it is a well-known material, so we know from the start that the features and characteristics were really good. One challenge was to make architects understand that we were creating a framework for them and not as it had been before, something that a builder installed at the last minute to reduce sound pollution. So instead of having a standard sheet in two shades of grey, we created a wide range of geometric tiles in a number of sizes, and as a start we offered 25 vibrant colours, and all of a sudden the possibilities are endless.
How did you arrive at the core dimensions and shapes for your tiles?
It was important to get an intuitive feel when you see the range of tiles, that you understand it's a system. The tile sizes range from 30 cm to panels that are 120 cm. The idea is that large scale is more suitable for bigger spaces and vice versa. Following the panels and tiles, the BAUX PIXEL line was launched (see also video at end of item).
What were the motivations for this product line?
For this, our third collection, we spent time investigating the thickness of the panels being produced. Previously we had only been looking at one standard thickness and, studying the production, we realised that altering the thickness was an easy move to apply. In addition, we found that building a sound absorbing wall with alternating heights and thicknesses, created a better sound quality and a greater sense of dimension for the overall interior experience.
What is next on the horizon for BAUX?
Form Us With Love is in the business of doing things better, so we always have our minds set on developing things. We have been intrigued by making office spaces better and smarter since we started our business. When it comes to sound absorbing solutions, we have been busy with solutions such as Hood for Ateljé Lyktan and Plaid for Abstracta.