3form, one of DesignBuildBluff’s most familial, philosophical and economic partners, began in Salt Lake City in 1991 “with a vision to create design-driven materials with an unyielding commitment to environmental responsibility.” It has been known around these parts mostly for its production of sustainable translucent panels integrally sandwiching just about anything, organic or no, depending upon its gauge, and yet you get the feeling, talking to any handful of young designers cruising around the Salt Lake City headquarters that they might just give it a whirl, you get the feeling that they might just give anything a whirl. Whatever. Challenge them. For a thin enough wood veneer to appease the infamously detail oriented Liz Diller, of the New York based firm Scofidio, Diller + Renfro, to enliven the interior of the remodel for the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Ruben Suare combed the globe to find the suitable machinery. As always in the creative realm stories vary about the idea’s germ (there was a great article in the New Yorker about the project) — we humans are political animals, alas — but the result shouts out brilliance. That the unveiling and buzz of this high profile commission (for Ms. Diller, no project’s profile lingers much below the whole blue sky, really) dovetailed with the company’s acquisition by global giant Hunter Douglas, 3form sprinted away from the blocks in 2007, and today it blows past everyone else running that loop like they were walking off the old three martini lunch.
If you haven’t already, go directly to the film Art & Copy (yes, it was shown a couple of years ago at the Sundance Film Festival, source for the documentary Nile). The tagline for the movie when it was being marketed at Sundance: Fail Harder. The spectrum at these creative institutions (perhaps oxymoronic) is no color line, but more a circle, or a sphere, or all of the electron paths of the craziest, heaviest atom, or a child’s imagination of string theory, where ‘hitting it out of the park’ might even be rubbing legs with ‘totally sucking wind’. 3form is one of those intersections where there is little discernible difference between work and play. It’s a place where a derivative is on one of the roller coaster paths described above, or even more irrelevant, as defined by Webster’s: Unoriginal.
Place is colorful, flexible, spacious. Don’t get too used to it, though. Tomorrow there might be a pingpong tournament in the conference room. Commercial contract furniture interior designers have always baffled me, especially considering the great innovations conjured, molded, refined and then packaged in the semi-organized chaos at offices like, say, Apple. I’ve always wondered about developers and/or architects or even ineffectual urban planners (they once worked for the developers, or will) who suspend reason to try to let them create a Mediterranean hill town by snapping fingers, sweeping their hammed fists, with an air- and water-tight tome of CC&Rs that will, at their luckiest, define this unfortunate Seaside gone tangibly viral, having been interesting once, like the town I live in, Park City, Utah, in its uniform disparity or disparate uniformity, which is my definition of the glass slipper.
Talley Goodsen’s founding 3form vision, quoted above, imbues the people, the place and the product. Fortunately for us, DesignBuildBLUFF and Talley bumped into one another at a Thai restaurant in an awful strip mall somewhere near Salt Lake Community College. Kick-ass 3form panels were the architecture student candy of the era, like alucobond reigned when I was sleeping over at the Graduate School of Architecture (which, you have to admit, sounds so much more ivy-covered than CA+P). But, I’ll admit, being dumbfounded by the hedge fund and Too Big To Fail guy’s senses of the word, moreover concept of a derivative, few design collaborations are made in places less funky and a little less scary and terrifying (in all respects) than great Asian food in seas of asphalt. They way it developed, however, is that we mostly took; there was the bone pile, of course, and the pallets anchored by aluminum sheets spent from the compression of the ecoresin panels (co-polyester recycled content product), outside of copper the gold of the still somewhat seedy recycling world. The aluminum panels have become one of the signature of a DesignBuild BLUFF home – check it out. Oh, sorry, I forget that we’re preaching to the choir in this e-publication, so have everyone in your Facebook, Twitter or Linked In like us or be a fan or comment or…just check it out – although I know of two, certainly, there are very few people we offend. Maybe we should try to offend more in that no publicity is bad publicity, I don’t know.
I do know, however, that Talley and his wildly talented and wholly committed 3form gang only bring the public joy while at the same time caring deeply about the survival of our species.
Horizons at 3form have expanded in every direction. DesignBuildBLUFF has been offered the opportunity to take this collaboration to the human growth hormone level. No longer just a give and take relationship, we’re going to take this thing to design. We’ve been invited to work together to design and use the 3form company’s products in search of their ultimate capacity, utility and delight. Our answer, of course: bring it on. Like us now; like us and them even better next spring.