The design inspiration behind the industry unique Baldur sliding door hardware system was sparked when Krownlab’s founder, Stefan Andrén, visited the workshop of a friend, and early Krownlab collaborator, Rob Roy. There on a table in Rob’s workshop was an enormous 8-inch bearing. Andrén put his hand through the inner race and rolled it back and forth over the table.
“You could still put your whole hand through the bearing and I was like, hang on a second, there’s something here,” Andrén said. “I realized you didn’t necessarily have to bolt through the center of the bearing like it’s originally intended to be used, but you could just clamp a portion of the inner race and get this awesome hubless look.”
Andrén set out on the journey of honing the raw inspiration for Baldur into a product that would hold up to Krownlab’s exacting aesthetic and performance standards.
“We now had to define how we could achieve this,” Andrén said. “We first looked at just a welded, bent bracket with an injection-molded piece of plastic in the gap between the bracket and the inner-race.”
While the early prototype proved the concept valid, Andrén needed to refine Baldur’s design and manufacturing process for it to become commercially viable. He recruited Jeff Miller from Development Works, a local manufacturing partner, to help develop the trolley bracket and how it clamps onto the inner race. They brainstormed many different methods before eventually landing on investment casting the bracket.
“That was when it kind of clicked,” Andrén said. “Investment casting in stainless steel allowed us to create this geometry that could grab a portion of the inner race in a way that both mechanically locked it and clamped it together, while still letting the outer race spin freely.”
With the concept and method defined, Andrén moved on toward the specifics of Baldur’s iconic, hubless bearing. He had to decide on a bearing with a size and proportion that would convey the clean, modern look of Krownlab, without being cartoonish. He also had to design the mechanism and the bracket itself to look balanced with an oversized bearing and still aesthetically fit with the rest of the product line.
“That took countless iterations of napkin sketches, CAD models, and 3D prints before everything felt like it proportionally and aesthetically matched everything else we had done, and looked good on its own.” Andrén said. “I think we achieved that. Baldur is a high-end, interior iteration of the classic sliding barn door, but to me it’s far more than that. It’s the most iconic sliding door hardware system on the market.”