Hiding in plain sight - Lifestyle NZ
Hiding in plain sight

Hiding in plain sight

The issue with a lot of ‘functional’ products—such as extractor fan grills—is that they often don’t look very aesthetically pleasing. Surprisingly though, it often just takes a little bit of thought to ensure that style and substance sit side-by-side.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

Form or function? Depending on which side of the industrial design fence you sit you may have a different opinion as to which of these is more important. There are, however, a cadre of New Zealand manufacturers who believe that neither needs to be sacrificed to the other.

“Just because something has to be functional, it doesn’t mean it also has to be ugly,” says Halliday + Baillie Director, Tiffiny Hodgson, referring to the company’s range of extractor fan grills.

“The world of industrial design is becoming more and more specialised and often, it is the products that you don’t see or that have been designed to not stand out, that are the more successful, aesthetically speaking.

The range in question is manufactured by New Zealand company, Unihatch, and is, says Tiffiny, one of the few product lines that Halliday + Baillie doesn’t oversee production of.

“The journey to creating the range began 10 years ago. At that time we saw a gap in the market for an attractive metal ventilation grill and so we set out to design and manufacture a range of vents for high-end residential and commercial applications.

“Unihatch’s experience lies in the manufacture of ceiling-mounted access panels, so with them coming on board as the manufacturer, it has been a fairly seamless transition for them incorporating this product into their existing business.”

“Just because something has to be functional, it doesn’t mean it also has to be ugly,” says Halliday + Baillie Director, Tiffiny Hodgson, referring to the company’s range of extractor fan grills.

Halliday + Baillie: products that stand the test of time

“Halliday + Baillie has worked hard over the past two-plus decades to build a reputation as a trusted brand supplying quality, New Zealand-made products and that extends to this range,” says Tiffiny.

“After more than a decade of offering this product, we’re still receiving positive feedback from architects and designers who really appreciate it for being a more considered and well made option; a more aesthetically desirable option. Homeowners, too, really like them for the clean aesthetic they achieve in both new builds and renovations; we actually sell even more of them in Australia.”

Unihatch Owner and Director, Sean Bullard adds: “They’re also really popular with contractors because, thanks to the square edge, they sit flush with the ceiling plane, which makes the whole installation process easier.

“They are available in a range of standard-size square, rectangular and circular models and with standard spigot sizes—150mm for residential and 200mm for commercial—that are designed to work with industry-standard duct work.”

Sean says the grills are suited for use in bathrooms and laundries and the design, with its negative detail, provides a nice, architectural touch.

“Being a metal product, it is more expensive than the generic plastic options, but then you get what you pay for. The frameless feature does allow for clients to colour match the central plate after purchase to create a truly seamless look, while the framed version is popular with people renovating older homes.”

The range also includes square and circular vents, as well as frameless and framed models, suitable for use in older, renovated properties.

Halliday + Baillie and Unihatch: promoting New Zealand made

Sean says he bought the vent business three years ago as a going concern to complement his existing business and in the process inherited the vent products.

“The range incorporates the Halliday + Baillie-designed grills and also includes exterior grills and ventilators, as well as roof-mounted fans—making it a complete product offering.

“Most importantly, it is a fully New Zealand-made product and accounts for about a third of our business.”

Tiffiny adds: “Looking at the provenance of products, the benefit of ‘New Zealand made’ means customers have the assurance that they have been manufactured to strict regulations and that all along the supply chain, workers have been paid a fair wage.

“From a supplier’s point of view, it also means that we can offer a fast turnaround time on delivery—and that we almost always have ample stock on hand for even large-scale projects.”

Learn more about the range of frameless or framed ventilation grills available for your next wet-area project.

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