THE VISISCREEN STORY
This is the VISISCREEN® story as told by its inventor, Jonathan Clarren.
I am a visual artist. All my life I have known what I wanted to do — make things. In making something, which to me is a real joy, my passion is learning about how to build it. I just love the challenge of mastering new processes — thinking about innovations that can result in alternatives to the norm and experimenting with different approaches. By first visualizing in my head what I want to build, I can begin to troubleshoot before I start to draw on paper. Once I draw out the plan, I think about it again, refine my process and then eventually source materials and put the vision together as a tangible product. I like to make things that people can use. I believe art should not only be enjoyed, but it should also be something that communicates my original thought, or intent. My idea of success is being able to communicate my ideas through the experience of my work. With that in mind, what follows is the genesis of the VISISCREEN Story.
The Visiscreen Story takes shape
So how did I get to producing VISISCREEN? My parents were remodeling their home in Seattle. Part of their remodel included installing a large, oversized, 12′ wide sliding glass door that came with a sliding screen door from the factory. Shortly after the initial installation, one of the contractors (who was 6’ tall), walked right into the screen because he did not see it, and made a hole in the screen with his nose, damaging his pride, his body and the screen itself. Before the screen was able to be replaced, my father put a sticky note on the screen where the contractor had broken through the mesh with his nose. A couple weeks later a 5’ tall friend of my mother’s walked into the screen. Not only did she not see the screen, she did not see the sticky note that my father had placed on the screen—only a foot above her head. So, the screen was replaced, to the tune of $100.00. While the screen was being replaced, my father asked the installer if there were any products available that would prevent screen door walk-throughs. He told him no, but if anyone did have one, they would have a million dollar solution product for his line of work. My father then told me to make something to stick on the screen to help people see it.
I didn’t think much about my father’s suggestion at that point. Frankly, I thought it was kind of silly. I had never walked into a screen door myself and have never been in the business of making cheap, throw-away chachkies. As a designer, that kind of a thing isn’t part of my sensibilities or aesthetic in my process. Sorry dad, not for me.
The Visiscreen Story shifts
Here’s where the story changes direction. A couple months later, our family went to a wedding in Santa Barbara, Some friends rented a large house and hosted a party for out-of-towners. This house had a wall of sliding patio doors with screen doors in them. Well, during a party the night before the wedding, a woman walked right into the screen door and broke through the material! I witnessed this violent accident, and besides breaking the door, the woman was slightly injured and shaken up; it wasn’t a good thing. I noticed it was light in the house and dark out side. She just didn’t see the screen. That was my aha moment — we don’t see screen because there isn’t a marker in our path of vision, and we can’t see the screen if there is more light on the other side of the screen coming towards us than there is behind us. The problem was how to make something that is intended to be invisible — visible. At that moment, I realized my father had identified a problem that could be solved, so I set out to do so.
I started brainstorming about who might be a good person in my design community to contact about collaborating on this project. At the time I knew very little about industrial textiles, but that changed rapidly. I contacted a friend and former classmate, Dena Molnar, from design school. Dena is a passionate artist who has a solid background in textile design. Putting our heads together, we combined my experience with architectural design and her portfolio of textile design, and preparing designs to be submitted to mills to be woven. We knew we wanted to make a product that would allow the maximum amount of light and visibility, while providing a visual marker to prevent walk-throughs by people of all heights, as well as pets.
The Visiscreen Story becomes reality
Dena went to work finding the right textile manufacturers for fiberglass mesh and my father and I went to work on developing a company name, business plan, and website. After much deliberation, we landed on the name for our company Aedes™, which is the type of mosquito that carries the malaria and Zika viruses. Realizing that screen mesh plays a vital role in protecting us from dangerous mosquitos and other insects, we thought this would be an ideal company name. Next came our product name. We had a lot of ideas, and we landed on VISISCREEN®, highlighting that fact that our mesh does not compromise light or visibility of views, yet alerts you to its presence when your safety is at risk. We applied for and received our patent, launched the business, and brought on our CFO for the first 2 years, Chris Legler, who is now CEO of Espresso Supply. We have formed a very diverse and creative team, driven by a passion to deliver new innovations to help improve people’s lives.
Today we are proud to offer VISISCREEN. We’re confident it’s the smartest, safest and lowest maintenance screen mesh product on the planet.