Extremis – almost twenty years of tools for togetherness
It was purely and simply out of love that at the end of the eighties Dirk Wynants, an interior designer and son of a furniture maker, moved from his native region north of Antwerp to the other side of the country. After having settled down in Gijverinkhove, in the most rural part of West Flanders, his passion for design pushed him to create Extremis, a furniture range offering so much more than just furniture. Extremis is a brand with a vision. A brand with a mission. A brand that breathes innovation. Since 1994...
Innovate or die
“Create nothing unless it is both necessary and functional. And if this is the case, do not hesitate to make it beautiful.” This proposition, which Dirk Wynants once read at the Stockholm Design Center in Sweden, perfectly describes Extremis’ philosophy. Extremis does not aspire to simply put beautiful outdoor furniture on the market. Extremis makes “tools” that make life better. More pleasant. These tools must always be functional. And above all always better than the products already available. In Extremis’ designs every single aspect is the fruit of careful consideration. And each design is always a feast for the eye.
Tu’g vo thope te zi’n
Extremis has a mission: combining intelligent design based on Flemish common sense with our famous Burgundian lifestyle. How? By creating a whole range of extraordinary outdoor furniture uniting exceptional functionality and timeless design. The result? Much more than just a furniture range: a lifestyle that brings people together. That lets them enjoy life together. The slogan Tools for togetherness (or Tu’g vo thope te zi’n in the local dialect) has not been chosen randomly.
Focus on sustainability
Long before concepts such as sustainable businesses and corporate responsibility became widespread, Extremis was already paying a lot of attention to the three P’s. It does not matter whether you are dealing with personnel, neighbours, customers, or dealers, they are all people who ensure that Extremis can keep on doing what it is good at. Reducing transport volumes, using sustainably managed raw materials, making optimum use of raw materials, or observing quality standards guaranteeing that products last a lifetime: For Extremis it is essential that our planet remains liveable for centuries to come. And profit? Of course. Only a profitable company can achieve these goals.
Let the cobbler…
A bit stubborn: that is probably typical of the people from the Westhoek region. Or the Kempen region. Extremis too has always done things its own way. The leitmotiv? Stick to what you are good at. In Extremis’ case: creating, looking for new ideas, designing, developing new products, and making prototypes. Extremis has deliberately decided not to invest in a production department: Machinery should never determine what the next design will look like. It should only depend on the innovative idea. This approach gives Extremis the freedom to choose the best materials and the most efficient suppliers for each design.
For Extremis, assembly, quality control, and distribution are also of major importance. Only by paying the necessary attention to these stages, the products reach the end customer in optimum conditions. Using a well-organised network of dealers who do not just sell products, but completely agree with and support the brand’s philosophy. And that cobbler? In Extremis’ case, he sticks to his last: designing outdoor furniture. Right from the start, with all the technical challenges this choice implies. And with all the knowhow built up over the years.
Facts & figures
Extremis was founded in 1994. Dirk Wynants’ first brainchild was the multifunctional garden table Gargantua, which has in the meantime become a true design classic.
In less than five years time Extremis managed to secure a solid position on the international design market. Major contributor to this success was the Extempore range, introducing the combination of wood and aluminium, which is still very popular today.
Although Extremis mainly focuses on the outdoor furniture market, several of its products (such as Picnik and Kosmos) have turned out to be perfectly at home indoors as well.
Right from the start, Extremis has resolutely chosen to focus on export. Today exports account for 78% of the total turnover. Extremis is especially popular in its neighbouring countries, as well as in the United States and the Middle East.
Several designs are patented proving that Extremis is not only about design but also and primarily about technological innovation. “Design follows function” is much more than just a slogan for Extremis.
Extremis takes pride in delivering each order to the end customer no more than two weeks from the order date. Stock management represents a considerable cost for Extremis, but as outdoor furniture is a seasonal product (at least in Western Europe), it is also the company’s real strength.