It has been 57 years since the foundation of List Carpentry, today known and branded as F/LIST. Looking back, some 37 years have passed since we completed the fitting out of our first hotel, and 27 since our first cruise ship. We entered the aviation sector some 13 years ago. In those 13 years, the Austrian family company F/LIST has thrived, becoming a market leader in high-end interiors for business and private jets, mega yachts and luxury residences.
A lot has changed since the early days. We have grown from a small workshop amid the hills of southeast Lower Austria with just seven carpenters, to a multinational enterprise with 700 employees. Cutting, drilling, potting, pressing and painting have come a long way since the post-war era. Buck-saw and whittle have been replaced by five-axis CNC milling machines and our products no longer adorn local kitchens and pantries but multi-million-dollar yachts, aircraft and luxury residences.
A lot has remained the same nonetheless. We still delight in the smell of freshly cut wood. We still go for that immaculate surface finish, and we still treat every single piece of work with the utmost care and precision. We still sand delicate edges manually and let nothing leave the premises without our quality assurance experts’ keen-eyed approval. Between the poles of pure, unadulterated craftsmanship and high-tech, low-cost, fast-paced automatized production technologies we have built for ourselves a reputation of combining the best of both worlds. Where others strive to rationalize, slim down, streamline and dock, we hold to a perfectionist’s pragmatism: we choose the ideal means to achieve the ideal product, without compromises.
The philosophy by which we live and work on all levels boils down to three words: beyond the surface.
With our extensive competence in lacquer and varnish technology we are able to offer a vast variety of exceptional surface materials, such as amber, egg shell, ray or frog leather, and our real stone veneer and 3D wood veneer. What makes these veneers superior to anything else in the industry is that we have a proprietary technology that enables us to bend veneers smoothly around edges, instead of having to use some kind of covering strip to mask the join. This enables us to stand out in a business where the surface and its properties are the prime selling points in the finishing of luxury jets.
We use state-of-the art laser technology which enables us to engrave any imaginable ornament or image on almost any surface. This opens up unending design possibilities and adds a whole additional dimension to the F/LIST approach.
But we look to go beyond blending craftsmanship and technology. Relationships are at the heart of our business and this shapes the way we look at things. Ours is a business where there is a tremendous emphasis on surface appearances, for how a thing looks. Our approach, however, ensures that beneath the surface layer in much of what we do, there is a great deal of technology and knowhow. Where other products would have nothing beneath the surface but inert material, we add technical ingenuity, for example, we could point to the integrated heating layer under the surface of our stone floor. This is also a metaphor for our philosophy, the way we approach our business. We strive for reliability and to show true appreciation for our employees, partners, suppliers and customers, to have a passion for what we do that is about more than “just business”. At the same time, we seek constantly to bring about truly groundbreaking innovations that will move the industry forward instead of perpetuating the status quo – and we are willing to take all the risks this entails.
For us it is not enough to stick veneers around a pre-built cabinet and roll it out. We plan, produce and veneer every single part individually, with a minute precision that is unmatched in the industry. We create revolutionary lightweight composite materials with our joint venture HILITECH and we work beyond the surface geometry, always alert to the potential for introducing bold new ideas. A key example here is the way F/LIST created the first fully certifiable real stone flooring for aircraft cabins with integrated heating.
All in all, 2017 promises to be one of the more exciting years ever for F/LIST, taking us forward on our quest for growth and expansion, and bringing us ever closer to our customers. In today’s information society, you can transfer knowledge, images and data with a mere mouse click. However, cabinets or flooring tiles for aircraft still have to get from A to B, from the manufacturer to the completion or service center, ideally undamaged and within a reasonable timeframe, which can be a challenge.
To help us expedite delivery, we opened an on-site support unit in Melbourne, Florida, and a new production plant in Montreal, Canada, to service North America, one of our most important markets. The gains in efficiency and flexibility this has created are huge. If a cabinet doesn’t have to be shipped half-way around the world for a touch-up or for some slight changes, both we and our customers profit.
In Berlin, we have just taken another large step forward with the acquisition of OHS Aviation Services and the resulting foundation of F. LIST GERMANY GMBH with EASA Part 21J DOA and Part 145 certifications. The former allows us to approve the plans for the interior components we build without feedback loops to the airframe manufacturers; with the latter we can refurbish entire aircraft interiors on board and dismantle and install interior components ourselves. These advantages bring a whole new meaning to the words “completion and service center”: customers in Germany will profit from a one-stop shop model, where F/LIST covers the complete value chain of their aircraft interiors, from planning through to installation and aftermarket services – a capability which will benefit all F/LIST locations worldwide.
Speaking of aftermarket services: the upcoming F/LIST locations in Montreal and in Dubai will bring a new level of convenience for local aircraft owners and operators. Without the hassle of sending samples back and forth, clients can examine surface materials for refurbishments or even complete retrofits of used aircraft. Alternatives can be compared and a selection made on-site. Smaller repairs and touch-ups can be done at any time; full and customized refurbishments can even be conducted during the standard aircraft checks without lengthening the scheduled downtime.
Naturally, promises, plans and prospects are one thing. F/LIST’s imminent EN 9100 certification guarantees that everything said thus far is not merely empty rhetoric. A stringent quality management program conveys security and trust to all our stakeholders and ensures that we not only maintain our standards but constantly improve them.
At this year’s EBACE in Geneva, owners, designers and all other interested parties have the chance to get to know the F/LIST philosophy, our team and our top-quality products at firsthand. So if you would like to meet the people behind the brand, please join us at our booth T110 and hear about what we can offer.
Do as we do, go beyond the surface.