Pacificblue Design Ltd (Huw Williams) Lecture

Huw Williams is predominantly a furniture designer. He works on with the Maker and Product Design groups. He has commercial experience, as well as a degree in 3D Design and an MA in Industrial Design.  He’s worked as a Product Designer, producing Bath lifts. Huw worked for an engineering company before he started his own company – Pacificblue Ltd.

Whilst Huw was on his degree, his major project was an aquarium. This was something he revisited 7 years later and started doing bespoke commissions of. He’s also worked with curved glass, silicone, lid. ‘House for the future’ featured one of his tanks.

Huw struggled with facilities / equipment, so contacted a glass specialist in Swansea to make the required glass parts.As he began to get orders, he needed to manufacture. He went to Windsor Glass to use their kilns, however they produced rubbish quality, after being made on a Glass Press.  The processes used were twisting, necking and texture.

He started receiving specific commissions, which could’ve ended up being very expensive, making a one off. Huw also spoke about how CAD skills were good for producing this sense of ‘real life’ prototypes for a website or to send to someone as a design sheet. Huw then worked with Gardner & Newton, to bend glass. He sent over CAD drawings. The glass was heated and put over a sheet mould or sand mould or press bending between male/female die which was expensive. +/-.s of a mm tolerance provided consistent quality.

For Bespoke Comissions, lots of costs were involved – 50% of payment was taken upfront to cover costs. Tank costed £1200 to customer. He spoke about factors to consider when doing that sort of work – weight of tank, size, etc.

Another thing Huw worked on which I thought was pretty cool, was, Water Filled Partioning. His Bespoke commissions became quite bizzare and ended up making water panels as light features for restaurants. It wasn’t made out of glass, but acrylic sheet with water in middle and air pumped through.

For other commissions, architectural firms get in touch, need someone to help make ideas happen. Aqaurium and water filled panels fitted into those commissions. He then moved onto contemporary glass furniture, making pieces that involved UV bonding, using Uv light to cataylse adhesive. He put adhesive beween glass sheets, made glass coffee tables as the UV bonds were strong. He bought UV bonding equipment to independently carry out his manufacturing.

CNCing, Temptering glass, Experiemented with;
-Started producing CNC panneled furniture
-Lots was Bespoke Commissions
– Packaging was an issue that was eventually solved
– Float / Low iron glass – no green edge.

Huw started to concentrate on furniture design;-Re-fitting shop company
-Glass shop interior; series of clothes rails/cabinets/tables
-Minimal point of sale display – high pressure job
-Greenapple – walnut & UV bonded glass units

Lighting;
– Lazer cutting/CNC
-Birch face ply – veneering a colour on one side
-Bottles lights

Huw also teached sheet metal – making tables, using lazer cutting, folding, powder coating.

I was really interested in some of Huw’s bespoke commissions and the furniture he started producing under his company. I am interested in working with glass next year, in term 2, so it was interesting to see what could be accomplished. I will definitely be approaching Huw for help later on in the year!
“New technologies can help to spark ideas.” – Huw Williams.

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Author: lawrenceaaronmaker

Studying a BA Hons in Artist, Designer; Maker at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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