As designers find innovative ways to create safe, physically distant workspaces, visual communication tools are quickly becoming a multifaceted staple—enabling users to express ideas while forming barriers that limit the spread of germs. It's clear the new normal demands new approaches to collaboration, especially when it comes to high-touch surfaces. While traditional glassboards and whiteboards often fade into the background, one manufacturer has managed to create easy-to-disinfect, eye-catching products that elevate the safety and aesthetic of a given interior.
Ghent, part of GMI Companies and a leading manufacturer of custom whiteboards, glassboards, and bulletin boards, recently collaborated with color, material, and finish consultant Kerry Rowe, of her namesake design firm, to create an extended palette featuring soothing neutrals alongside vibrant hues made to match Maharam's textiles. In doing so, Ghent opened the door for designers to purpose visual communication products as functional artwork, while also developing a companion line of personal protective equipment. Made from durable materials, each wall-mounted and mobile whiteboard and glassboard carries a warranty fit for any office environment, with custom sizes, surface materials, and frames.
The brand's color library now includes 19 shades, also available in frosted hues, which serve as the road map for a coordinating palette of fabrics and finishes, including 21 carefully curated fabrics from Maharam and Guilford of Maine textiles, internally sourced wood finishes, custom powder-coat paint colors, and Formica laminates. As a partner of Maharam, Ghent is privy to their entire library, giving Rowe agency to narrow a vast pool. Ultimately, Maharam’s Flock, Merit and Mode weaves, noted for their tackability and acoustic attributes, were chosen in seven colors each to coordinate with the Glass Color Library.
Speaking to the evolution of Ghent's color library as a long-time consultant, Rowe notes: "Initially our back-painted glass color development involved a handful of bold and bright standards for Aria and Harmony glass boards. As time went on the standard color offering has been augmented with softer more subtle tones which not only speak to current trends, but also are very specifiable in a variety of settings."
Importantly, each color has been tested and proven to work well with markers, ensuring the boards function as effortlessly as they look. To achieve the optimal blend of color and performance, the Ghent design team employs a unique painting process that enables colors to be matched outside of the company's extended palette, and at no additional cost. Designers can customize products using the universal glass painting process for Aria low profile and Harmony standoffs glassboards, Hex, and Waddell’s Define collaboration tools.
"Collaborating with GMI Companies through the years has been exciting as I’ve witnessed their ability to build on existing strengths by harnessing their innate sense of curiosity and drive to provide their customers with high quality products and excellent customer service," adds Rowe. Ghent's extended color library certainly is a nod to that approach. Always attune to market demands, the brand's fresh palette speaks to its ability to deliver what designers want—an aspirational yet usable selection of signature hues.