2018 | SilenGraphicDigitalStrategicDigital ProductUser InterfaceWebsiteBrandingService DesignUser Research
or how we helped to reach cosmic heights.
Silen’s silent spaces have a well-known mother – Wallenium, one of the biggest producers of partition walls in both the Baltics and Finland. The tale of Silen Spaces is a heart-warming success story on how collaboration with designers helped the business reach new heights, how it taught to think differently and helped to raise sales at a dizzying pace.
The story of Silen began when Mikk, Velvet’s design lead, joined Estonian Design Centre’s Design Bulldozer program in 2017, to advise Wallenium. At the beginning Wallenium wanted to redesign their work processes, in order to digitise and automate them. When they and Mikk analysed the situation and ran it through various spectrums, it became evident that they need to pick a focal point. They decided to focus on developing Chatbox’s silent rooms (spoiler: Chatbox turned into Silen). Amongst other things we learned that Wallenium’s team profile pitches them as engineer-dreamers, a fact that fittingly gave birth to a secondary project: First Chatbox on the Moon. Collaboration with Velvet continued (of course they were courted by others, but Velvet remained the bride at this wedding).
We started with user research to better understand the clients and product users and to work out the strategy and values of the new brand. This research provided many valuable insights and served as the basis for many strategic decisions. For instance, we learned that the quality of the service is as important as the quality of the product. That the installation isn’t viewed only as the product’s installation, but it is something that clients take into account when evaluating the product’s quality. We also understood the bigger picture. Stationary conference spaces are a drain on the client’s resources, therefore modularity and movability are of paramount importance. Finally – it’s hard for users to find suitable furniture for these silent spaces, therefore it’d make sense to offer furniture as an extra feature.
User research input became the foundation for a powerful product and service as well as the brand, it became their core and source of the unique value they offer. Silen, a new brand with a simple and user friendly language was born. We invested a lot of time and brainpower on the design of such innovative digital solutions like product configurator (configurator.silenspace.com) and augmented reality application Silen AR + and on their development. The energy and enthusiasm were out of this world, both for Silen and Velvet.
Silen Spaces have been on the market since the summer of 2018 and they’ve been a huge success since the very beginning. The first year brought a rise in sales figures – by about a million euros (+100%). Feedback from trade shows was overwhelmingly positive. Network of resellers grew quickly and globally. Vigorous growth continued in 2019. Rise in sales was about 600%, a new factory was built and new technology implemented, to meet this growing demand. The product received constant praise; on global markets Silen competed with old leaders of the silent room market for the attention of prestigious clients.
“Collaboration with Velvet has changed the entire work culture of Wallenium – our team is better motivated and our actions became more deliberate. The relationships both within the team and between clients and partners have improved. This collaboration helped us implement design- and user-friendly thinking into our everyday activities. We changed from a production-centric company into a user-centric company, which bases its actions on knowledge, not on assumptions. We couldn’t have succeeded in making such a big jump if we’d stuck to tinkering on our own.”The CEO of Wallenium and Silen, Endrus Arge, describes the success story in words we’d like to copy on posters and hang on our office walls
On the other hand, on the Moon, where Silen’s silent spaces plans take them, weight reportedly does not matter. Perhaps that’s not even important. We’re still as pleased as Punch.