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3. August 2022 | 4 minutes reading time

That special something – when design patterns are transformed into one-of-a-kind special surfaces

A spiral staircase with combed walls, a ceiling element covered with mother-of-pearl or a bookshelf featuring a maple leaf print: when it comes to the production of special surfaces, our name says it all. Here with us, designers’ ideas know no limits. We at List GC have been implementing these unique ideas for four years in our in-house special surfaces team. What this requires: innovative thinking, creativity and expertise on a wide variety of levels. This is how we make the extraordinary possible – on water and on land.

A team of 18 specialists, consisting of carpenters, varnishers, upholsterers and master painters, turns furniture such as shelves, tables or wall coverings into exceptional works of art – carrying out every single step meticulously by hand. However, before we actually begin to produce any special surface, we first focus on the development process. Starting with a small design sample that we receive from our top-class designers, we try to create surfaces that correspond exactly to the expectations of the customers and designers. “We often work with completely new materials, paints or processing methods, because one-of-a-kind pieces are in high demand, especially in the luxury sector. However, this also means that we have to do a lot of testing first, because the quality must be the same as for surfaces that have already been tried and tested”, says Reinhard Kirnbauer, Group Leader Production. 

So until a special surface is actually ready to be implemented on a large scale, we invest plenty of time in development and quality control. “Starting with a design sample, usually no larger than DIN A5, we can determine within the first few weeks how production might work”, says Kirnbauer. Which materials and techniques should be used? What if we tried something completely new? And does it also withstand the stresses of UV radiation and temperature differences? Through a constant exchange of knowledge within the special surfaces team – and also with long-standing partners and suppliers – our specialists continue to expand their field of competence from project to project. In this way, individual processes become more efficient and flexible over time, while we are simultaneously able to work intensively on ideas and ensure the best quality. “One particularly memorable project was when we designed the surfaces of a bookcase in a maple leaf pattern. For that, we actually collected leaves from a tree on the production site and created unique prints using liquid metal”, says Kirnbauer.

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Expertise concentrated across all departments

“One of our largest special surface projects was a staircase that spanned several decks of a yacht. This project required teamwork between the surface department and engineering, as both the development of the ‘combed technology’ to create the special surface and the production of a wavy surface over a total of 80 square meters using this technology were out of the ordinary. To bring these types of special surfaces to life, we have to think outside the box. Patience and, above all, cross-departmental knowledge are also needed to implement the often unusual surfaces, which is why our various craftsmen work closely together – from master painters to varnishers, from seasoned professionals to our apprentices. This is how we grow beyond our limits with every project”, says Wolfgang Pusterhofer, Head of Manufacturing. “Implementing this print on the entire shelf was no easy feat, but our team has mastered every challenge so far.”

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