Kibelis: a 3 Steps Guide to Make Sustainable Design
Posted on 11 October 2018
Once upon a time (not so long ago, actually), two old friends were working as volunteers at the two opposite sides of the world, respectively in Thailand and Guatemala.
Despite the time zones, they were talking about the future during a long phone call. What should have they been able to do in Italy, when back?
The answer was bright clear: what Italians are good at.
“Let’s make design.” said one.
“Let’s make it green.” replied the other.
That’s when Kibelis came up.
Design for sustainability can’t be just green
The first thing we from Kibelis had to face with, was the consciousness that using green materials and resources is not enough to become fully sustainable.
So many elements have to be considered: each material’s pros and cons, its origins, the production process, the local supply chain, the way your customers will use and dispose your products.
To design for sustainability is far from being easy. It’s a process. A philosophy. A mission.
Leave it to others if you’re not willing to pay the price.
(In my childhood I always wished to become an astronaut, or an olympic champion, but… well, you know… my sofa was so comfortable……)
So we decided to face the challenge after one year of studies, projects, discarded ideas.
And here comes our first suggestion: before doing something, be sure to know what you’re doing, why, and how you’re doing it differently from others.
We strongly believe in a future that won’t be made of cement, asphalt and petrol. For this purpose we started to study a ton of new materials and innovative solutions able to help the environment in the long run. But at the same time, we had to keep in mind that those solutions must be efficient and quality.
Moreover, we knew the real mission was to educate the users. What’s the point about making easily recyclable pieces of design, if people using them are not even aware they can be recycled?
That’s why we made our products… able to talk.
Then our recipe for a sustainable design was ready. We just needed 3 ingredients.
1) Research for innovative, sustainable materials
The first step is obviously based on the material research. If you want to build a green house, you will need green bricks, or green paint.
Kibelis looks for materials able to fit perfectly within the single product identity: they must be sustainable, but that’s not enough.
What we really aim at, is the overcoming of the ethical and esthetical obsolescence of the old polluting materials.
We want to design greener and better.
But how should an eco-friendly material be?
- It might be bio-based, which means something natural, coming directly from the ecosystem. With it, we ideally bring life from the woods to our living.
- Its origins have to be controlled, certified: wood is a marvelous, sustainable, material only if certain precise environmental rules are followed. If you design for sustainability, well, you might not want to contribute to the global deforestation.
- It might be recyclable. Whatever will be the material you choose, it’s always better if you allow someone else to use it again, someday.
The longer its life, the better.
- Same thing: if it’s recycled, the better. This way you can also dignify old, polluting, materials like plastics or petrol based. By using them again, you’re directly putting them out from a rubbish dump, or worse, the ocean.
If you can’t fight them, join them.
2) Green, ok, but… Quality, quality, quality!
Would you ever buy a 100% sustainable wall clock that breaks after few months? Or would you be happy to keep in your house a table that looks like a leftover of an antique store?
Maybe yes. We’re not here to judge your preferences, but probably 99% of the people wouldn’t agree. So wisely pay attention to quality.
If you want to be green, you must always aim at perfection.
Sustainability will never become the standard if we don’t set higher standards.
That’s why Kibelis works hard to be a showcase of the sensory excellence of the modern, natural, alternatives. Our design is imbued by the expertise of Made in Italy tradition, and we tap into the Japanese cure for details in order to reach a flawless quality level.
And that’s why our 100% sustainable wall clock is pretty hard to break!
Repeat with us: quality, quality, and again, quality!
3) Talk green: educate your customer!
Okay, now you have your finely designed product, made by beautiful, eco-friendly materials. You’re into sustainability, and maybe ready to go to market.
Well done! Cheers!
Anyway – there’s always an “anyway”! – are you sure is it enough to really make a difference?
Again: why the effort to create recyclable products, if their users are not aware they can be recycled?
The fact is, this isn’t just about communication. This is a matter of education.
If you want to change the world, change the people first. Educate them. Make it simple and straightforward.
For this purpose, Kibelis creates sustainable design products and makes them talk. What could be better than the products educating people by themselves?
That’s why we look over the IoT and we provided them with an easy technology called NFC. Due to the NFC tag, every piece of design, every furnishing or accessory is able to communicate through our App, on your smartphone.
Our products can now tell their stories, give you any info about their lifecycle, or instructions for their disposal; besides they can provide education about environmental issues. But the ways to use the NFC are uncountable. It can be used for instance to reduce printed papers, optimize the energy consumption, or warn the user about possible dangers...
We live in the age of connection, after all. Then, let’s be connected to the nature. To the culture. And finally, to the future.