Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Dec 10, 2010 by dgv

At the core of Resolute is our proprietary hardware system: SOLUTIONS.

Most of our production is somehow specifically tailored to the project it has been specified for. In order to make that process quick, smooth and foolproof we have developed an extensive proprietary “kit of parts” that makes variations easy. Further, our assembly system is optimized to be equally effective with small, medium or large production runs. We never build “stock”. Every shipment is built to order. What we do stock are the versatile component parts of our system. This allow us to be able to respond quickly. Very often a custom part or finish may be required but as this is only one or two small aspects of a complex product those special requests are easy to execute – most of the product and the process remains undisturbed.

By way of illustration, it is easy to see our “kit of parts” in action on families like PURITY/ UTILITY and FORTUNA. We have revised the various canopy sizes of PURITY/ UTILITY slightly for 2010. We have added a few “double” models and we have added a few colored interior shades to UTILITY.

Utility Small Square Ceiling with various shades.

Purity, Otto G9

Fortuna CFL Wall, Rectangular CFL wall, Double CFL ceiling, CFL Rigid Drop

As always, please regard our catalog as a starting point never as a definitive list of available options. Options are more or less unlimited.

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Dec 2, 2010 by dgv

Around the time Resolute shifted emphasis from “paper” to “glass” in the late 90’s we also investigated pushing our “Paper Lights” approach past expectations. At that time we produced a series of paper like lights utilizing very thin chemically etched stainless steel sheet. From a design point of view, I think the Button series is among the best products we have produced to date.

Button Wall/ Ceiling

Alas, commercial success was not possible due to cost and scale limitations. This led us to investigate “plastic” alternatives. We found a suitable material in PETG. More or less simultaneously, Knoll Textiles launched a line of sheet goods with their fabrics embedded in PETG – Imago. This added richness and visual interest to a functional material. Bloom was our first product using Imago. Bloom is reborn this year with 14W/ 800 lumen LED illumination.

Bloom, shown here in Tiki, Meditation and Ginseng in various positions

Following Bloom, Box and David quickly became Resolute’s products of emphasis. Resolute entered the “Knoll Textiles” era. We had no difficulty scaling production as we had with glass. The vastly increased flexibility to produce allowed us to grow quickly and to handle very large projects. Further, the design of David in particular was optimized to allow easy project variation. Paralleling Resolute’s product evolution from Paper to Glass to Plastic (or resin in market-speak) was a corresponding evolution from retail, to design, to true contract distribution channels.

David 16 Pendant, Mercury Gold; Box 3 Pendant, Progeny Neon (colors discontinued)

Changes to BOX for 2010 include adding BOX CFL Wall to the regular catalog and new models BOX 24 Wall/ Ceiling and BOX 36 Wall. BOX CFL is ADA compliant. BOX 24 and BOX 36 are T5 tube fixtures, ADA compliant, multi-directional and suitable for pairing with a wide variety of state of the art, daylighting and dimming control systems.

Box CFL Wall in Orchid, Ginseng and Whisper Warm

Box 24 Wall/ Ceiling Ginseng, may be mounted horizontally or vertically

Changes to DAVID for 2010 include adding DAVID 28 to the regular catalog and shifting the entire product group to a “fluorescent first” attitude. Incandescent sales are the exception for us now. DAVID fixtures have been optimized to reflect that. Most models are available in dimming fluorescent.

DAVID 28 Pendant, Tiki, two lamp and four lamp versions available

DAVID 10 CFL Wall, Progeny Blonde; DAVID 23 CFL Pendant, Tiki; DAVID 16 CFL Pendant, Willow

We have also added the Imago pattern “Whisper” to our regular catalog. Whisper is offered with either neutral or warm diffusion behind it.

David 21 CFL Pendant, Whisper with neutral diffusion

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Nov 29, 2010 by dgv

Empires rise and fall, fashions come and go.

Resolute has risen and fallen like a drunk at Mardi Gras as it has moved through a succession of phases. We began with Paper Lights as outlined in my previous post, next came Glass Lights.

I had meant to cover each of Resolute’s “periods” rather quickly on the blog in order to update those of you who work with us regularly on the 2010 catalog product line. After covering the basics, the idea was (and remains) to then move on to more meaningful (or at least provocative) topics. However, the time to accomplish that has been elusive. We are presently working flat out on launching the first products of what we intend to be our next great period. More about that soon.

Following Paper Lights, we mixed glass into our offering. Our initial motivations to move into hand blown glass were both rational and wildly irrational. We wanted products that were more difficult to copy – that was rational. The rest was lustful seduction by the beauty of hand crafted glass. We built one of the best production studios in the world and were fortunate to be able to staff it with the some of the finest glass craftsmen.

We took our glass craft very seriously and we produced great products.

Anon. Incalmo Pendant (discontinued)

There were a couple critical issues with glass though. First, our shop had a fixed capability to produce. The capital investment in a glass shop, both in equipment and in development, is staggering. We built a medium size facility. A glass shop is not something one can adjust up and down. It is either all on or all off. Too little product when demand is high and too much product when demand is low. Lighting is a very cyclical business. Matching demand was difficult. Second, Resolute has always been intensely interested in sustainability and social responsibility. During the two years we were working on the design of our new home, our investigations of these topics became more intense and much more rigorous. I’ll revisit the specific issues in a future post but the short story is that glass craft, as we were practicing it, is recklessly irresponsible. Seductive, beautiful, intriguing and noxious. We were heart broken.

All processes have positives and negatives. Our responsibility is to strike the best balance. With glass, our research eventually brought us to the conclusion that scaling a craft above its appropriate level is irresponsible. Glass production is a prodigious energy consumer and additionally a modest producer of unpleasant byproducts. Both of these aspects are best controlled in larger much more highly capitalized industrial facilities.

So, we wound our glass shop down in 2009 and have transitioned our glass production to what we feel is a much more responsible source in Slovenia. Of course, the extreme high craft is gone but then the sorts of handmade dresses Marie Antoinette wore are no longer available either – nor should they be.

Our current glass catalog includes revised versions of familiar Resolute products.

Fortuna Wall, Otto G9 ADA Wall

Elizabeth Pendant, Cloud 1 ADA Wall

The next step will be to develop new glass models better utilizing our new glass resource and current lighting technologies.

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Oct 19, 2010 by dgv
My first blog on the new website. Oh boy. So much to cover, where do I start? I suppose starting at the beginning would be the right place…
2010 has been a re-set opportunity for Resolute. Rather than curse the economic collapse, we embraced it and took advantage of the relative calm to tend to the many things we had neglected during the boom years. This new (up to date) website represents the tiny tip of that iceberg of neglect.
In 2009 we gave up (for now) on our dream to build ourselves an intensely innovative, socially, environmentally and economically responsible new home after two years of passionate effort. We licked our wounds for a minute, got up off the floor, shut our glass shop and moved the showroom, development and production into a new leased space.
This year we reorganized our catalog products and our custom contract methodologies. We rationalized production and re-documented everything. What was Resolute four or five years ago has evolved significantly but we were too busy (and distracted) over that period to communicate much of how we have changed.
I will attempt to share a little insight into our evolution, our approach and our intentions through the new device of this blog. We will see how it goes.
Starting at the beginning with Paper Lights…
Resolute began with PAPER LIGHTS. Resolute emerged as the product brand of a consulting design firm. As a design firm we did all the usual range of product design and environmental design from consumer products to medical devices to retail shop concepts. Instead of watching our clients choose the least interesting of the three options we would typically present to them, we desperately wanted to make our own decisions. We were designers, we believed that the products were the most important thing and that everything just sort of lined up to support that. We were naive in the extreme! Naive but not witless. We quickly realized what we didn’t know about all the mysterious other parts of the business and solicited helpful advice from “experts” in the various fields. We learned quickly “how things are done” and gathered a mighty heap of conflicting and counterproductive truths. We were foolish. We got lost in the babel. Dazed and confused, we wandered off the usual paths to success, out of earshot, out on our own. The yammering advice faded away and we started to think more like designers again. We eventually figured out “our way”. After 20 years of Resolute in business we have worked out how to line everything else up to support the products and their good intentions – at least to the point it makes us happy – back to where we thought we were starting with Paper Lights in the beginning.
Markee in studio
In 1985 BRENT MARKEE was working for Smart Design in New York. He designed a paper object for an office gift exchange. This object provided the kernel of an idea that became a “design” product which he made himself and sold through an emerging new breed of design retailer. Sointu and Turpan Sanders were his first clients. Brent’s “factory” was a piece of plywood brought out in the evening from under his bed in a shared loft space. It wasn’t quite so simple as a spool of wire, a pair of pliers, sheets of paper and a knife. Components were sourced from sophisticated vendors but they came together on the sheet of plywood. In many ways this still represents the perfect vision for Resolute production. The concept and its execution were and are one.
The product was MARKEE. Resolute introduced a developed version of Markee in the initial Resolute product line and delivered it symbolically, our first product, to our first customer on the last day of 1989. We are offering MARKEE 20/25 as a special anniversary edition this year. We feel the revised 2010 product returns to the sublime perfection of the original.
Like the original model, the MARKEE 20/25 has a wire base although this is now silver brazed, heavy guage stainless steel. The shade remains as it has been through Markee’s Resolute production, made out of calendared aramid fiber. This shade material provided the cornerstone of our initial collection. When we were designing our new product group toward the end of the ’80’s, everything in the lighting world was “high tech”, black, low-volt halogen. Perhaps, not so different from the mania now for LED and re-purposed rubbish. We wanted something that was clearly different from what the market was awash in. We felt a cozy glow, much like that from Naguchi’s fabulous Akari lamps, would set us apart (and we personally enjoyed the feeling). However, we added a mission of providing more robust performance and the challenge of developing designs that we could produce without either a skilled craft tradition, as utilized by the Akari lamps, or an established industrial infrastructure.
Lola in studio
While still working in New York, Brent also made a wall variation of his Markee for Lola, a new, hip restaurant near Smart Design. LOLA was also part of the initial Resolute line. For 2010 we have integrated electronic fluorescent options, including dimming, and added a larger version, LOLA AMOR, as a regular catalog offering. We’ve done many sizes of Lola over the years. When we sold through retailers a small version called Lolita was one of our top selling products. Lola is a versatile product equally comfortable in residential, hospitality or corporate settings.
Harold in studio
Lola was complimented by HAROLD in the initial Resolute collection. Harold has also been produced in several sizes over the years and this year we are adding a large version to the regular catalog, HAROLD Sr.
The first few years were erratic for Resolute. The consulting design studio distracted us from properly marketing (or doing much marketing at all). We didn’t do a trade show until 1992. Our first show was ICFF in New York.
CHAPEAU was introduced at that show. Its enticing beauty helped us win Best New Product and the resulting press exposure helped get Resolute rolling. A couple years later we were finally out of consulting design and concentrated solely on Resolute. Too many trade shows and hundreds of re-selling customers followed.
Chapeau in studio
Like all the initial Resolute collection, Chapeau was conceived as an incandescent fixture. The design was built around a particular, very compact, ceramic, back to back double lamp holder. Two lamps being critical to balanced light output. This made Chapeau both difficult to export and problematic for conversion to fluorescent when the market moved there. As with Lola and Harold, we’ve done many sizes of Chapeau for projects over the years, sometimes as large as 4’ feet long but most frequently in versions just a little bigger to accommodate fluorescent. For 2010 we have tweaked the size of the catalog CHAPEAU, now CHAPEAU 29, to suit fluorescent as the first option. Again, electronic fluorescent dimming is available. Chapeau is an outstanding over table fixture.
The superior performance of our shade material made our fixtures suitable for heavy commercial use and we found more and more of our work going into the contract sector. Soon the balance of work tipped from regular catalog product to contract variations and custom designs. We started doing national roll-outs and major hotels. This was a horrible fit with the retail distribution system we had built up through the trade show circuit. Like Napoleon turned back at Moscow, we began the long hard retreat to focussed contract distribution.
Some of our very, very successful retail products like Brent’s Laurel and Brioche were lost in the transition. Others, like SHANG-TU were able to morph into new contract lives. Shang-Tu was initially developed as part of a collection of exotic diminutive decorative lights, vaguely inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, called CARAVAN (Shang-Tu being the eastern end of the Silk Road). From this gallery like start, Shang-Tu moved on to hotels, restaurants and eventually into to hundreds of Starbucks stores. For 2010 we have shifted the SHANG-TU product group to a fluorescent first stance.
Shang-Tu CFL wallShang-Tu large pendant
Twenty years later, PAPER LIGHTS are alive and well! While, by no means still the commercial heart of our business Paper Lights do remain our spiritual center. MARKEE 20/25 celebrates everything that was and continues to be right about the first idea. While we don’t expect to sell thousands into retail distribution as we once did, the product remains valid even if we only sell a few. Not every product (and not every company) exists solely for commerce.
In 2003 Resolute mounted a retrospective show of Brent Markee’s work to that point entitled “Paper Trails”. If you are interested, here are links to pdf show documentation.
– Douglas Varey
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