Artius is a technology-driven wood-engineering company based in Gurgaon, manufacturing high-end solid wood doors, windows, and door/window frames. It has been successfully catering to the discerning HNI client base across India over the past 10 years of its establishment. Moreover, it focuses on the sustainability of woods in living.
Leveraging upon emerging trends in sync with its core competency in engineering wood, Artius began its pioneering efforts in building with wood in India over the last couple of years.
Buildingandinteriors.com speaks to Ms.Bhawna Sharma, Managing Director, Artius Interior Products Pvt. Ltd.
B&I: Tell us about your company, when and how did you start and what made you enter this industry with a focus on sustainability in living?
BS: Artius has a very interesting history leading to its formation. Necessity being the mother of all inventions, Artius was born out of a personal desire of mine and my husbands’ to have modern door and window systems made using natural material (solid wood) for our home that was engineered well enough to shut out Water, Dust, Noise and Insects etc.
After hunting high and low, we realized these were simply not available in the market and the opportunity was untapped.
The only available option to consumers was the freelance carpenters who not only lacked the technical skills and expertise, but also the infrastructure and modern types of machinery and tools required to make a good product, leave aside a world-class product, which we are looking for.
Thus, we recognized the opportunity and decided to set up a manufacturing unit for the same. The journey since then has been immensely satisfying for us at Artius, as we have been catering to a like-minded client base from amongst HNIs who appreciated natural materials in modern applications.
We thus started making well-engineered door and window systems with a factory on the outskirts of Gurgaon in 2011.
As responsible corporate citizens, we soon recognized the need to ensure that the wood we used should not only be legally harvested but be sourced from sustainably managed forests that were certified by internationally recognized agencies.
While looking for such a reliable source, we met FII-India (Canadian wood) team at a trade fair, who introduced us to yellow cedar from B.C. Canada, one of the most durable wood species in the world that was naturally resistant to insects, decay, and natural elements.
After due trials we found yellow cedar to be the ideal species for our solid wood door and window systems as it offered additional advantages of being available in lumber form (ready sawn timber) that came duly graded, sized, and seasoned.
This helped us focus our energies on manufacturing a well-engineered product and not worry about material reliability.
B&I: What is your business model, product categories you cover, and what segment of the market you target and cater to?
BS: Our business model is offering world-class products through experiential marketing to our HNI clients.
We have a showroom cum experience center in Gurgaon and a recent one in Hyderabad. Artius’ current product line consists of 14 variants of highly sophisticated Glulam door and window systems and Glulam beams and columns used in structural applications.
Our clients range from industrialists, eminent professionals, and celebrities, etc. amongst others. We have furnished their premium residencies, country homes, farm, and beach houses.
In the door and window segment, Artius has also successfully executed many institutional and commercial projects.
B&I: What are the various wood species that you use in your product line? Which wood species do you use the most and why keeping in view its sustainability in living?
BS: We use several species of wood, best suited to the application and budget of our clients. Of these Douglas-fir and yellow cedar from B.C. Canada remains extensively used for a range of applications.
Also, we use Alaskan Cedar and American White Oak a lot. The reasons remain primarily aesthetics, resistance against termites, and their suitability to Indian weather conditions.
As mentioned earlier yellow cedar is one of the world’s most durable species. It contains exceptional longevity given its natural decay resistance and suitability for carvings.
We make its use extensively for doors and windows systems – our core business line. On the other hand Douglas-fir remains exceptionally well suited for making Glulam posts and beams.
B&I: How important is consistently sized, graded, and duly seasoned lumber to you?
BS: It is very important as this is the primary factor in terms of quality control and optimizing production time, thus being able to pass on the benefits to our customers.
B&I: What quality levels do your customers expect from you and how critical is the wood species and lumber quality that you use for meeting your customer expectations.
BS: As HNIs, our clients expect nothing but high-class, global quality levels from us. The wood species (raw material) chosen by us are thus critical in meeting their expectations coupled with our state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and facility thus delivering world-class products.
B&I: How well has your initiative been received on building with wood with support from FII (Canadian Wood) for sustainability in living via display of a Club House at AceTech & IndiaWood 2018, what has been the journey since then?
BS: Our display club house made using multiple Canadian Wood species best suited for their applications remained a showstopper at three premium trade fairs over a period of 6-8 months. The response, large footfalls, and inquiries delighted us.
To capitalize on this response, Artius followed up by organizing a 7-day educational trip. It consisted of 16 leading Indian architects from India to Canada with support from FII. They received an introduction to “building with wood” in Canada with support from FII.
This study tour showcased the opportunities and possibilities of engineered wood and mass timber (CLT & GLULAM) to the delegation by showing them iconic wooden structures such as the 18 storey “Brock Commons” students’ hostel building in the UBC Campus, and “Richmond Olympic Oval”, a model for cutting-edge sustainable design, breaking new ground for sports and wellness facilities.
It remains approx. 100 x 200 meters. The roof remains the largest surface ever covered using mass timber. Thus, it showcases the extensive use of the wood that will encourage such applications elsewhere.
Barring certain concerns being shared with regard to the ready availability of local expertise and costs, the response was overwhelmingly in favour of eco-friendliness and sustainability construction in living using wood Vs the construction with bricks and mortar.
Moreover, the architect’s delegation received the opportunity to interact with celebrated Canadian architects on various topics such as sustainability and innovation.
This included a presentation from Mr. Michael Green (MGA) and a tour with Mr. Don Gurney who personally took time off to take the delegates through “High Point” – a celebrated residence of a millionaire in Whistler (BC) designed by him. Interaction on structural engineering remained another highlight of the tour with Robert Malczyk, celebrated Co-founder of Equilibrium.
FII also arranged to show the architect’s delegation around many other notable installations using mass timber. Major installations remain the convention center and many other resorts, clubs, and restaurants besides other premium residences. The delegates also got a tour of FP Innovations, a research organization on the UBC campus.
Here the scientists shared highlights of their research on fire, earthquakes, acoustics, etc. in respect of timber buildings.
B&I: Can you elaborate on the species used by you in building the Club House with sustainability. We understand the extensive use of Canadian Wood species in your pioneering effort in timber houses.
BS: Douglas-fir remains used for making structural glulam components. It remains highly suitable for this application because of its excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Wall framings used SPF (spruce-pine-fir) given its high dimensional stability. This remains a major reason for its global preference for making wooden houses, interior fit-outs, etc. along with the sustainability.
In addition, species such as western red cedar (decking and cladding), western hemlock (paneling and ceiling), yellow cedar (doors, windows & door/window frames) also remain in use. Canadian Wood provided the necessary material support and technical assistance from initiation to the final execution of the project.
B&I: Can you highlight any following success or outcome as a result of the Clubhouse made with Canadian Wood displayed in the exhibitions.
BS: Every pioneering effort has a long incubation period requiring patience and tenacity. However, we receive tremendous responses from the target audience coupled with support from Canadian Wood. It encourages us to continue investing time, effort, and resources in this cause.
The rising interest in structural applications of wood by the architects/designers and the target audience. also emboldens us to continue with our efforts.
We can see visible results as well. e continue to receive multiple inquiries from HNIs and Hospitality sectors which bode well for the future.
B&I: Architects and Design Consultants are a vital link in any building/interior project. As a solution provider to this audience, what is your pitch to them?
BS: We engage with and work closely with architects on an ongoing basis. Environment, sustainability in living, and the sheer elegance of wood are our most powerful pitches.
We see ourselves as project partners of architects rather than as a vendor, manufacturer, or supplier.
B&I: How do you see the market evolve about its choice of solid wood as a raw material. Also, how much a customer is concerned about legally harvested, certified wood from forests that offer sustainability?
BS: The trend encourages the applications involving solid wood in various segments primarily residential, and hospitality sectors. Such as paneling, cladding, furniture (indoor and outdoor), joinery (doors and windows) and pergolas or gazebos, decking, etc. among others.
Customers receive awareness about global warming and carbon footprint. Thus, they have become more conscious about their role in conserving the environment and are consciously asking for products made with legally harvested and certified wood.
Therefore, they move towards sustainability in living with great enthusiasm.
Moreover, leading brands, architects and designers play a major role in educating the end-users.
Additionally, organizations like FII remain committed to the cause of sustainability and consistently do their bit with them. They remain increasingly conscious and particular about LEED points in their projects.
B&I: What is your typical project/enquiry flow chart? What are the lead times?
BS: We follow a consultative approach and offer the right solution to our clients basis their lifestyle and requirements. A project typically takes about 60-90 days to mature from the initial enquiry stage to sales closure.
We have our in-house sales team to reach out to HNIs and the Principals Architects working on premium residences. They invite them to visit our experience center.
Moreover, they also engage in value-building sessions to suggest the right solution and then submit the commercials for closure.
B&I: How about customer support in your businesses, what kind of warranties and after-sales service do you provide to your customers?
BS: We have a very robust after-sales service. We give a lifetime guarantee on jamming and ten years guarantee on seals, hardware, termites, etc.
Our customer support is within 24 hours and it is extremely critical for us to keep our clients extremely happy. Our service levels are very high and unmatched.
That is how Artius keeps building its brand credibility and carve out a niche amongst the target audience.
Ms.Bhawna Sharma can be reached via email at [email protected]