Project Study: The Floating Cloud
In December 2014 a small company from Eindhoven called Crealev reached out to us asking if we were open to a collaboration. They explained they had developed a magnetic levitation technology and were looking to create a range of showcase products to really show some of the possibilities of the technology. They had seen our Cloud products and thought that it would be a match made in heaven to combine them. We very much thought so too!
Early in 2015 we began working together with Crealev on some initial concepts and exploring how to best solve for our two main challenges. Challenge number 1 was how to hide / disguise the magnetic platform which houses Crealev’s technology. Challenge number 2 was how to power the cloud so that it would be cordless.
One idea for the magnetic platform was to give it a more natural form as if the Cloud were levitating over a pond or lake. The team at Crealev came up with a clear way to achieve this using a piece of mirrored glass and a wooden frame shaped into an organic blob shape. The effect of this was stunning and the mirrored glass made it feel as if the Cloud was levitating twice the height.
The next challenge was powering the Cloud itself, so that it would be wireless while it floated. A key point of what-ever we put into the Cloud was that it had to be as lightweight as possible in order not to reduce the levitation height. We settled on a LiPo battery that had a decent storage capacity without being too heavy. We used a much smaller speaker than what is inside our Speaker Cloud product.
Together with Crealev we shot a promotional video of the prototype to celebrate the collaboration and share with the world. We named the collaboration Making Weather suggesting that it is a work in progress, but also nods to people's ability to set the mood (atmosphere) in their own spaces. It wasn’t long before design blogs and international media picked up the piece and inquiries about a commercial version flooded in.
We set to work to improve on the design of the prototype to make it more commercially viable as a product. Some of the decisions were difficult to make - we decided to remove the reflective glass on the base as we found that it interfered with the effectiveness of the levitation technology, we also made the decision to have the platform be as small and minimal as possible to keep production costs within acceptable range. We reduced the size of the Cloud and removed the speaker so that it would float noticeably higher - increased to 2.75 inches (70mm)! We found a specialised USB cord with a magnetic connector so that it would be possible to charge the Cloud without having to take it off the levitation platform. As with any product development we balanced the three key elements: aesthetics, functionality, and production cost to find a version that would optimise all three as much as possible.
Because of the sculptural nature of the collaboration as well as the final design itself we decided to produce a limited run of 100 units, each to be signed and serialised for authenticity. At launch we had pre sold 50% of the available units and took less than 12 months to sell out of the remaining units.
We were lucky enough to attract the attention of R&B artist Drake who purchased several units and liked the product so much that he tagged us in a video of the Cloud floating in his home in Toronto.
Watch the video0:59
The entire journey of the Floating Cloud from design process through to production & distribution has been an absolute joy. We particularly love designs that bring about a sense of wonder and magic and this was definitely one of them. Also a huge thanks to the team at Crealev for being so great to work with!
While we continue to get inquiries and requests from customers to do another production run so we continue to explore options for where the Floating Cloud might go in the future. For now we are focusing on continuing our inhouse furniture and lighting design as well as expanding our design consulting services. If you have any questions about this product or about our design process please feel free to contact us, we would love to work with you to develop your idea and bring it to life.