FRÄSCH: Silent Treatment
Geometry, “functional and beautiful,” as co-founder Slavka Younger puts it, is at the heart of Fräsch’s designs, whether it’s Hive’s hexagonal honeycomb layout, the raised, textural Wedge block, the echo-alleviating Brik wall, or the tapered, human eye-shaped Teardrop. Had the Arlington, Texas-based acoustics and furniture company headed to ICFF this year as planned pre-pandemic, a slew of showcased products would have reflected that sensibility.
Consider the wall and lighting system Gear, featuring a geological pattern reminiscent of volcanic basalt formations that is inspired by the teeth of industrial gears meshing together. There is also the Cubism acoustical wall series, flaunting tiles with three-dimensional depth that call to mind the sharp creases of origami, as well as Wafl Bafl acoustical lighting, starring 45-degree slanted fins resembling waffle fries that playfully break up a right-angle ceiling grid.
Fräsch was established in 2015 solely as an ergonomic desk and accessories reseller by the art-passionate Younger, whose background is in marketing and branding, and Gary Nightingale, who worked in engineering and product design prior. It has since morphed into an edgy furniture manufacturer grounded in timeless design.
“As of a couple years ago, we decided to make a significant pivot into the aesthetic acoustics category as a true creative outlet to serve the expanding open office and commercial environments,” says Younger. Recognizing that a proliferation of open-plan office spaces marked by hard surfaces and exposed ceilings “made designing for the ears as important as designing for the eyes,” she continues, from its inception Fräsch has nurtured “healthy, active, and inspirational” backdrops conducive to working.
By reaching for non-traditional materials like bamboo and sound-absorbent PET felt, Fräsch has prioritized wellness as much as productivity. Today, PET-based design and manufacturing is even its core business. “We were drawn to PET as a primary raw material not only because of its excellent acoustical qualities, but because of its recycled content and earth-friendly aspects. It has become a great canvas to explore shapes,” explains Younger. For example, Fella felt acoustical tiles comprise the spherical Chips collection and grace the ovular, hut-like Egg in myriad colored panels.
Custom designs, then, brought to life by working closely with the A&D community, are naturally another important layer to Fräsch, such as a bright entrance wall installed at the Como Community Center in nearby Fort Worth.
“Our design philosophy has always been the utilization of clean, modern, and minimalistic elements,” adds Younger, noting that they can be conveniently replicated and easy to install.
This simplicity is appreciated all the more these days. Although the COVID-19 crisis has now upended the very notion of the office, Fräsch has long championed a flexible, distraction-free atmosphere that balances personal focus with team interaction. It is undoubtedly independent working space that is currently hogging the spotlight—maybe in a socially distanced traditional office setting, maybe carved out in an otherwise hectic residence—and some of Fräsch’s enclosed pods, desk dividers, and hung-from-the-ceiling or freestanding wall dividers, like the partially peek-a-boo Fens partition, promise style and efficiency in a new, bewildering era of dominant privacy.
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