For more than a decade, Thomas Steele has been creating site furnishings that stand out for their stylish designs, broad palette of colors, and exceptional handcrafted quality. The distinctive designs Thomas Steele delivers are all shaped, welded, assembled, and finished not along an assembly line, but one at a time, by their skilled, experienced team. We’re thrilled to share their latest collection, one which exemplifies creative craftsmanship, the Vilas Collection.
Here’s a Q&A with Thomas Steele:
Tell us a bit about the Vilas products. What was the thinking that went into creating them?
The Vilas family of products are modern designs with an element of retro styling. Over the last 7 years our Monona family of products has been tremendously successful for Thomas Steele, so we wanted to create a new family of products with similar components but with a different feel. Whereas the Monona series conveys a rustic, industrial presence with a simple, stripped-down design; the Vilas series brings those same simple, stripped-down elements, but with a modern, simple elegance. This collection is perfectly suited for the patios, roof top terraces and boulevards of a new mixed-use development or modern pedestrian shopping plaza.
What are the key features of the Vilas products?
The most notable features of the Vilas series are the simple geometric designs and the use of a variety of materials to allow for a wide array of configurations.
Are there any hidden product benefits? If so, what?
I wouldn’t say that they are hidden, but we have some discreet product features that make the Vilas series great. We integrate purse/bag hooks on the underside of the Vilas tables. These are tucked underneath and face inward to avoid snagging on anything. On the Vilas litter receptacle, we have a tip-out door for easy emptying. The receptacle also has an angled hood lid to shield the opening from rain and snow, but the hood is also angled to discourage anyone from setting anything on top of it.
Talk more about the materials used in the Vilas line. What materials were selected and why?
The Vilas series primarily utilized steel flat bar stock and various profiles of wood or composite boards. Regarding the steel material used for the Vilas line, the steel flat bar used for the framing has numerous advantages. From the design side it lets us achieve a look that is modern, light, and clean while also providing a lot of strength and durability. The flat bar is also advantageous from the manufacturing perspective. It’s available in various widths and thicknesses, easy for us to cut, bend and weld. It generally doesn’t pose any supply chain issues.
In addition to the steel flat bar stock the Vilas series utilizes Ipe wood or our Recycled Plastic and Premium Embossed Recycled Plastic options. This lets the customer select from options at multiple budget points and options that range in annual maintenance requirements.
What are the style and function goals with the Vilas line?
The Vilas series is intended to be a versatile series with a more modern feel. We wanted the Vilas series to have pieces that will fit into a wide array of projects. Accessibility was also important. We wanted the line to hit a wide spectrum of budget points. While there are premium level materials available for the product line, we don’t want to limit it to projects with a large site furnishings budget.
Anything else you want to tell us about the Vilas line that we haven’t touched on yet?
We are excited to see where this product family can go. We were pleasantly surprised with how successful our Monona line was and we expect that the Vilas series will equal or surpass that series.