Over the years, we’ve heard time and again from architects and designers wanting doors that elegantly break the mold, are oversized, and completely customizable. After a fortuitous meeting with the team at Smith & Fong, makers of the Plyboo line of bamboo interior finishes, we knew we’d found the perfect partner. Together we designed the PlybooDoor, a door panel created specifically to pair with Krownlab’s sliding door hardware systems for total entrance solutions.
The collaboration was a chance to work with a company we admire and respect—and our efforts paid off. Recently, the product combination was named a finalist for an Architizer A+ Award. Here’s excerpts from a conversation between Stefan Andrén, founder of Krownlab, and Dan Smith, founder of Smith & Fong, about the design process behind the PlybooDoor.
Dan Smith: The idea as well as the interest in producing a door had been brewing for years and when we got a call from Krownlab about a collaboration, we felt that the time was right.
Stefan Andrén: For us it came down to being able to offer a door that could really hold up to the standard of Krownlab’s sliding door hardware. We knew we could bring a lot to the table in terms of design and engineering, but needed a strong partner, which I very much found in Dan and his team.
Smith: We had been playing with CNC designs for wall and ceiling applications, to growing interest, knew we needed to offer a door solution to match the wall designs. The sliding door system seemed to be the right application to design around. After the first meeting with Stefan at Krownlab, and seeing the great sliding door hardware they were producing, I just knew that it would work.
Andrén: Seeing a PlybooDoor installed with Krownlab sliding door hardware, it’s inherently clear that they belong together. It’s one of those rare instances where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. They fit aesthetically just as well as they do functionally.
Smith: We’re excited to offer the PlybooDoor made to order. Each door is customizable down to the fraction of the inch and comes with landing pads and pilot holes integrated into the panel design.
Andrén: With the right partner, any time you are having those difficult discussions and pushing each other, results are improved. This was very much the case here. It has meant, ultimately, that the consumer gets a better product. I believe in an iterative design process, and we learned that Dan and his team do too. Having that back and forth really allowed us to create something that’s not only beautiful and modern, but that also brings meaningful, innovative performance features to the space, like sound mitigation.
Smith: It is always challenging working to weave together two companies that have different approaches to design and product development, as well as work in different materials. In the end, we realized that each of us had our strengths and we had to learn when to let the other lead, and in turn, take charge when it was appropriate. It was both humbling and freeing at the same time. In the end, we have a great package that should result in many beautiful installations over the years to come.