We all need peace and quiet from time to time, a space where we can be alone and focus on work, make a phone call or just take a break. Combiwall creates such spaces, and Trelleborg seals ensure they are soundproof.
The story of Danish company Combiwall began in 2010, when long-time colleagues Flemming Berg and Bo Glad took on the task of creating an indoor glass wall system for a food market in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The requirements of the new marketplace involved both aesthetics and functionality. Not only did the solution need to let each individual shop have its own unique expression but it also had to be flexible; to permit the alteration of a wall in one shop without disturbing the commerce on the other side.
“This challenge gave birth to the Combiwall profile, which allows us to create glass walls that can be double, single and framed – all contained in one unique profile,” says Glad, the company’s head of development.
Since then, the Combiwall company has developed its patented solution to include elegant doors, a sound-absorbing telephone box and wall panels on wheels that can move from one place in an office to another. The wall profile can have a range of configurations that combine different materials, such as wood, tiles and more.
“It is the same profile, whether you need a simple glass wall, a double wall where you can embed a whiteboard, sound-reducing materials or a screen, or if you need a framed wall,” says Glad.
Glad says the uniqueness of the profile, with its multiple possibilities, is the secret behind Combiwall’s success. Another reason could be the growing need for peace and quiet at work.
The Combiwall company has seen an increase in demand for walled-off areas of silence and privacy in offices and workplaces. Glad believes the open-office trend that emerged in the early 2010s has failed to some extent.
“The idea behind it might be solid,” he says, “but it didn’t take a lot of things into account. The need for privacy and silence to focus was much bigger than anticipated, and a lot of times you saw a decrease in work efficiency where there was a lack of private offices or areas to retreat to. These days the tendency in office design we see is quite different. Open spaces are being remade, and in new workplaces private areas are one of the main elements of the construction.”
This trend fits well with Combiwall’s business idea, which is to give clients a solution they can alter and change as the companies themselves develop.
“That’s the main benefit with our wall system,” Glad says. “You don’t have to start all over every time things change for your company. The patented way we assemble and lock the wall makes it easy to alter – almost like Lego. And by reusing an existing wall, or part of it, you save both time and money.”
It also makes Combiwall a sustainable alternative to most of its competitors. Its products are not only reusable, which prolongs their life span, but they are also manufactured locally, using mainly Danish components, and can be recycled at the end of their product life.
A key factor in creating private and soundproof areas with glass walls is the seals. For Combiwall, the seals are as vital a part of the products as the profile itself, which is why the company chose Trelleborg.
“We started our journey with a standard seal, but soon realized that a standard seal did not cut it if we wanted every aspect of our product to live up to our high standards,” says Glad. “With Trelleborg we have developed and then redeveloped the seal to make it perfect. This has made by far the biggest enhancement to our product.”
Glad says the quality of soundproofing today is so high that it makes a big impact when Combiwall sound-tests its products.
“We will keep adjusting the seals together with Trelleborg to ensure we always give our clients the best-of-the-best product on the market.”
“Creating spaces” has become Combiwall’s corporate mantra. These spaces should not interfere with their surroundings but rather complement them, which is why the walls are made of glass and designed to fit any need or situation.
Born out of the Danish minimalistic tradition, the design and look of Combiwall products are simple and elegant.
“We don’t want our products to stand out in a way that requires everything else to accommodate them in order for the space to feel complete,” Glad says.
One such product is the Combiwall telephone box, or simply ”the box”. With its sleek, soundproof glass walls, it integrates into any environment while ensuring that phone conversations stay private and do not disturb the rest of the workplace.
“We wanted to give our existing customers an alternative to the boxes already on the market, which we felt took a lot of attention from the office décor,” he says. “Design-wise, our box is very different from the competitors. Not only is it built with the exact same profile we use for the walls, but our use of glass instead of wood for the sides make it light and more integrated. This also makes the box fit offices that don’t have our walls, as it does not steal attention but instead seems to fit right in.”
That ability to fit right in is the essence of Combiwall’s concept, and with flexible products that fit any environment, the possibilities to create spaces are endless.
* Text Åsa Bexell Hoffmann photos Ola Torkelsson