Chicago — An unremarkable industrial product has become big business for Belgian office furnishings maker BuzziSpace, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year at the NeoCon 2017 trade show in Chicago.
The firm sells a range of decorative acoustic products made from a sound-damping PET felt originally used in vehicle headliners.
Company founder Steve Symons saw the potential of the material to fill a need for sound absorption in increasingly popular open, collaborative office spaces, said BuzziSpace Marketing Director Els Kerckhof. Symons worked with the supplier to develop a thicker version of the material, which BuzziSpace now offers in 12 colors and a variety of products, from furniture and room partitions to lighting fixtures.
BuzziFelt, as the company calls it, has a high mechanical strength and is made from 100 percent recycled PET bottles. The company recently introduced BuzziSkin, an adhesive-backed wall covering that can be printed with a variety of patterns. BuzziSpace has since expanded into other product areas but, as company marketing materials insist, "acoustics is still our driving force."
BuzziSpace established manufacturing operations in the United States in 2014, in High Point, N.C. Today, about half of the company's sales come from the U.S., 45 percent from Europe and the balance from outside those regions.
The felt comes from Germany, where Altex Gronauer Filz GmbH & Co. KG produces a variety of nonwoven textile products for automotive, construction and other industrial uses.