Over the past decade, Arconas has built a rock-solid presence in airport and waiting-area furniture markets. Airports around the world now sport comfortable and technically advanced furniture from the Toronto-based company.
But what about other ancillary products found in airports? In recent years, Arconas started working with companies around the world to add products to its arsenal. That continues with two new partnerships — Green Furniture Concept and USM Airportsystems. Arconas will have exclusive distribution to airports throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.
“These two new partnerships are a great addition to our business,” said Pablo Reich, Arconas executive vice president. “We started distributing Auweko waste and recycling bins from Germany last year. Now with Green Furniture Concept from Sweden and USM from Switzerland, we are bringing the best selection of European products to our airport clients in the Americas.”
Green Furniture Concept designs sustainable furniture and lighting products. It is a socially responsible company with manufacturing facilities in Europe and North America.
The Nova C Series it makes is a modular bench system for indoor public spaces designed by Johan Berhin. The benches consist of narrow, curved, laminated wood slats positioned side-by-side. When multiple bench modules are connected to one another, they transition from straight configurations to winding ones, depending on the architectural lines of each space. The concept allows designers to create a continuous seating pattern, maximizing the use of space at a reduced cost per seat.
The company’s Leaf Lamp, designed by Peter Schumacher in 2010, is an ambient lighting product made entirely of natural materials. The “foliage” consists of thin, unbleached wool felt leaves with flameproof and sound-absorbing qualities. The wool leaves are attached to birch branches, which are turned a little differently in each lamp for a unique and organic foliage configuration that mimics the design found in nature.
USM Airportsystems, formed in 2011, develops furnishings for all passenger handling processes in airports on the basis of the Swiss made USM Haller modular furniture system. The system was patented in 1963 and since then has been produced at the USM Haller plant near Berne.
USM Airportsystems offers airports the combination of products. Each unit is planned individually for its specific need. However, if the space, situation or desired use changes, the modules can be disassembled and reconstructed. The limitless possibilities to extend or rebuild the elements or to change color schemes, combined with the damage-resistant and zero fire-load surfaces, make USM Haller cost effective.
Arconas has seen its business increase with the fortunes of the airline industry, which has reported strong profits in recent years. The company is deploying 25,000 seats to various American Airlines gates in airports across North America. It is also working on two new Canadian airports: a new international terminal Calgary and another in Montreal.
“There is only so much new seating markets can take,” Reich said. “We are always looking at new business internationally and thought, ‘OK, what are the other elements our clients need?’ We had two options: develop more products in house, which we always do, or partner with the top brands in Europe who might not have full distribution in North America.”
Arconas began by adding products from Auweko, a well-known and respected brand in Germany that makes beautifully designed waste and recycling bins. It has customers all over Germany, but few outside Europe. For Arconas and its partner companies, it is truly a win-win situation. Arconas can round out its offering beyond seating tables, and the European companies gain distribution in North America, where they may not be known to airport designers.
Green Furniture Concept has great products, according to Reich, that warm up atriums and corridors in airports where the products are used. Arconas has expertise in metal, but does little with wood. Wood is Green Furniture Concept’s speciality. It also has manufacturing in Montreal.
USM is an iconic brand that got into the airport furniture business about five years ago. Though the brand is new to the airport market, it has had good success in Germany and Switzerland. Arconas hopes to take the brand to new markets in North America.
Arconas has partnered with European companies because it noticed a lot of its clients are inspired by European designs, but can’t find the products in North America. Arconas is creating a bridge between the two continents.
Because of the success Arconas is having with its current partners from Europe, the company is considering adding other European lines if they fit well with the airport and transportation sectors. Reich said there are myriad products the company could get into to round out its airport offering — everything from wayfinding to luggage carts and wheelchairs. Arconas is keeping its eye on products that are much closer to its expertise of seating, power and recharging.
“It is a great way to incorporate fresh new products into our business,” Reich said. “I think designers are keen on European products — the craftsmanship and attention to detail.” BoF