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Steve Symons and Tom Van Dessel dinner speech. Photography: courtesy of BuzziSpace
BuzziSpace Marks 10 Years with a Celebration in Antwerp by Mallory Jindra This year, BuzziSpace celebrates 10 years. To mark the achievement, the contract acoustics and furnishings company flew around 200 “BuzziFans” from around the world to its home in Antwerp, Belgium, celebrating with dinners, parties and tours of Antwerp and the world of BuzziSpace. Making it to 10 years is a milestone for every young company. But at BuzziSpace, that number seems quite tiny when peering through the lens of the sheer quantity and quality of the company’s achievements in those 10 years. And while the number 10 – that double digit, first milestone number – will always psychologically be a pinnacle achievement, the founders of BuzziSpace have always planned on a meteoric rise. In Antwerp, we had the chance to get to know everyone at BuzziSpace – the founders, designers, craftsmen, finance guys and gals, and everyone in between.
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BuzziPleat at Plein Publik, a greenhouse-like space where BuzziSpace guests enjoyed lunch before a walking tour of Antwerp.
BuzziCQ, or “cityquarters”, in downtown Antwerp
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companies “We feel that we’re not just a onehit wonder, and that’s very important to understanding us,” said BuzziSpace co-founder and co-CEO Tom Van Dessel, in a discussion with officeinsight. “We went global very early on, and to become a global brand, not just a great brand in one place but throughout an entire industry, in a very short timeframe was always the plan.” BuzziSpace’s physical assets now lie in six offices, four showrooms, and two manufacturing plants – in the Netherlands and the U.S., all supported by a global sales network. And across 10 years, 80 product families and many
notable awards, the BuzziSpace team feels it has stayed true to the identity it began with – a passion for something they believe in. “We haven’t just built a brand; we have a robust organization supporting the BuzziSpace brand,” said Mr. Van Dessel,” who three years ago spearheaded the opening of a new BuzziSpace factory in the U.S., in High Point, NC. “We have a lot of the right people in the right places, and it’s beginning to run itself in a way because of that. Steve [Steve Symons, cofounder & co-CEO] and I have always wanted to build BuzziSpace as something that has longevity, something
with a sustainable infrastructure that will carry beyond us founders. After 10 years, we feel that we’ve established something that can last.” “Before BuzziSpace, I was always very disciplined in decision making and working things methodically through to a successful result. But if you have a passion for what you’re doing or creating, and really believe in it, you don’t have to work at it so much…it comes much easier. It’s a cliché about following your passion, but it’s absolutely true for me with BuzziSpace. Our passion and energy drive the business. We believe in the products we’re creating.”
BuzziBalance at Park Spoor Noord
BuzziHub at Antwerpen Centraal Station
An installation of BuzziMilk stools and BuzziSkin Prints at St. Vincents, a concept store and coworking space.
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BuzziHQ, in Kontich, Belgium, is a gorgeous converted property of buildings that hold onto their farmhouse character. Its interiors, and BuzziCQ’s, are a studied blend of BuzziSpace sensibilities and founder Steve Symons’ passion for vintage pieces.
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Inside BuzziSpace’s manufacturing facility in High Point, NC, opened in 2014.
Nailing down what it is BuzziSpace is passionate about is quite easy. It began with Mr. Symon’s “silence is not a luxury” concept – something he began to focus on in 2007, working
Cocktail party at Felix Pakhuis
Lunch at Plein Publiek
at his former company, TecnoSpace, which offered glass partition systems. As offices transformed from closed to open, designers and users were facing new acoustic challenges.
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companies Mr. Symons saw a gap in the affordability, effectiveness and beauty of acoustics solutions available at that time. The company grew from three initial acoustic solution products in 2007 – BuzziZone, BuzziBoard and BuzziScreen using its own newly developed BuzziFelt, all designed by Sas Adriaenssens – to what is now a product portfolio spanning five major categories: Acoustic Solutions (57%), Acoustic Furniture (23%), Furniture (10%) Outdoor (2%) and Lighting (8%). During the celebration in Antwerp, guests got a sense of what BuzziSpace refers to as a trophy office – a happy and healthy workplace where people can experience a boundary-less way of working and living. On display throughout the city of Antwerp, at shops, restaurants and public gathering spaces, were BuzziSpace products in action; a BuzziBalance here, a BuzziPleat there.
Steve Symons and Tom Van Dessel, co-CEOs of BuzziSpace
BuzziSpace founders, team members and designers: Steve Symons, Axel Enthoven, Els Kerckhof, Tom Van Dessel, Gerd Couckhuyt, Sas Adriaenssens and Alain Gilles
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BuzziSpark, designed by Alain Gilles and to be officially unveiled at NeoCon 2018, creates a lounge-y, semi-private space for people to find acoustic shelter in receptions or lounge areas and breakout spaces in the open office.
“As a smaller company, decision making is fast, with fewer people involved, and you shoot from the hip more because it feels good,” said
Mr. Van Dessel. “We want to keep the speed and quickness in decision making to get to a final product. But now, we are more methodical. How
Designer Alain Gilles walks us through the design process of BuzziSpark
we go about developing a product has changed drastically. Over the last three to four years, we’ve been extremely disciplined and critical in making sure that each product is commercially viable and ready to be introduced.” Guests in Antwerp received an exclusive “sneak” preview of two new Buzzispace products. BuzziSpark, designed by Alain Gilles and to be officially unveiled at NeoCon 2018, creates a lounge-y, semi-private space for people to find acoustic shelter in receptions or lounge areas and breakout spaces in the open office. “The magic of BuzziSpark lies in the allure of the unknown –the surprise of not knowing whom you’ll meet around the corner,” reads the BuzziSpark notes. “From the outside, nobody can see who you are talking with or overhear your conversation. While sitting in the lounge, users will enjoy the benefits of acoustic privacy walls.”
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BuzziManfacture, in Bladel, Netherlands.
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companies The second product, BuzziMe Low, was designed by Axel Enthoven as a new addition to the existing BuzziMe family. BuzziMe Low, introduced this October, follows the design language of the original BuzziMe, but with a lower profile for a more open, welcoming and versatile seating option. BuzziMeLow is built with “high-performance, sound absorbing materials to provide sound control,” but has a lower back and less articulated wings that encourage more interaction than the original BuzziMe. At 10 years, everyone at BuzziSpace is focused on the future. And from what we can gather, that means jumping into new verticals. “We see what a large range of relevance we have in the office market, and we’re looking at how that design language can merge with hospitality, education and other potential markets,” said Mr. Van Dessel. “We haven’t even touched the possibility of each of those yet. Just with our existing portfolio alone, we see a lot of opportunity to move into those areas. It’s been easy for us to begin to do because we’ve always believed that
products should have more than one purpose. We’re now focusing more on those new verticals.” The BuzziSpace team is training particular focus on lighting, and its intersection with acoustics.
“If you think about all of the senses, you have the opportunity to create a more holist experience,” says Mr. Van Dessel. “If you build both better lighting and better acoustics into one product, you’ve provided a heightened
BuzziMe Low, designed by Axel Enthoven, is a new addition to the existing BuzziMe seating family.
BuzziHQ is home to a family chickens and bees that produce honey for BuzziSpace.
BuzziMinis, clad in a BuzziFelt-looking material.
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companies experience. We look at the environment first, and then design solutions to help create those happy and healthy experiences.” The two-day celebration in Antwerp concluded with cocktails and dinner followed by a party at HAVN, an old church that BuzziSpace co-founder
Steve Symons acquired and transformed into an event venue. “We were so incredibly pleased with how many people came to celebrate this with us,” said Mr. Van Dessel. “It’s a long way to travel from the U.S. and everywhere else, and it means a lot to us.”
Kudos to the entire BuzziSpace team, and to marketing director Els Kerckhof and her team in particular, for a whirlwind of acoustical fun in Antwerp. Just like its past, the future at BuzziSpace is bright with possibility, passion and a sense of equality in acoustic luxury. n
A HISTORY OF BUZZISPACE 2007. Symons launched BuzziSpace at Design Brussels on Nov. 7. It all started with one innovative material (BuzziFelt), three initial products deigned by Sas Adriaenssens, and a belief in solutions for “A World of Silence.” New Releases: BuzziBoard, BuzziScreen, BuzziZone. 2008. The Belgian design brand made its international debut as a first-time exhibitor at Salone de Mobile in Milan and Maison & Objet in Paris, where the brand launched its first dualpurpose acoustic lighting solution. New Releases: BuzziBack, BuzziLight. 2009. BuzziSpace continued to experiment with upcycling and reaffirmed a cradle-to-cradle philosophy with the introduction of a new sustainable upholstery material, called BuzziFabric. New Releases: BuzziCube, BuzziSpot, BuzziSkin. 2010. Alain Gilles and Anthony Duffeleer started designing for BuzziSpace, and the company showed for the first time at Orgatec. New Releases: BuzziBooth, BuzziBox, BuzziDesk, Buzzi-Hood, BuzziTile 3D, BuzziPlant, BuzziGrip. 2011. BuzziSpace made its US debut at Boutique Design in New York City and was awarded the Henry Can de Velde Award for company of the year. New Releases: BuzziBag, BuzziBlinds Classic, BuzziFree, BuzziHub, BuzziHub Table, BuzziLoose, BuzziSeat, BuzziTwist. 2012. BuzziSpace showed for the first time at NeoCon, Alain Gilles
was awarded “Designer of the Year” and the brand expanded to the UK with a new showroom in Clerkenwell, London. New Releases: BuzziCockpit, BuzziGrid, BuzziMe, BuzziTemp BuzziWings, BuzziMe. 2013. BuzziSpace expanded and relocated its HQ to BuzziCampus in Kontich-Antwerp and established a permanent showroom presence in the US in Atlanta, GA. New Releases: Buzzi-BassTrap, BuzziBrickBack, BuzziFrontDesk, BuzziHive, BuzziNordic ST100, BuzziResoFuser, BuzziRug, BuzziShade Pendant. 2014. BuzziSpace introduced new ways of working with the award-winning BuzziVille and BuzziPicNic, and opened a second manufacturing facility in High Point, NC. New Releases: BuzziBlox, BuzziCactus, BuzziDesk FlipFlop, BuzziDonut, BuzziFalls, BuzziMilk, BuzziMilk Table, BuzziPicNic, BuzziVille.
10th Anniversary celebration at HAVN
2015. The brand extends beyond the confines of the traditional office to introduce an outdoor furniture collection. New Releases: BuzziBreeze, BuzziScreen Mix, BuzziShed, BuzziVirgule, Buzzi-Breeze, BuzziFalls, BuzziHub Open. 2016. BuzziSpace combined work and play with its new vision for a happy and healthy workplace, and expanded into seating. New Releases: BuzziBalance, BuzziBell, BuzziBlinds, BuzziBounce, BuzziCane, BuzziClipse, BuzziFalls Standing, BuzziFloat, BuzziBounce, BuzziJungle, BuzziLight Alhambra & Royal, BuzziMoon, BuzziPicNic Round, BuzziNordic ST200 + ST400, BuzziPouf, BuzziPlank, BuzziTrihex, BuzziTotem. 2017. The company reflects back on “Acoustics: The Originals” and celebrates “10 Years of Happiness at Work.” New Releases: BuzziPleat, BuzziBaffle, BuzziMirage, BuzziSkin Printed, BuzziSuzzi, BuzziMe Low.