Ellidesignfurniture is a start-up using plastic and additive manufacturing. Can you tell us the story of this brand and what you do?
Elli Srl is a start-up developing a new stylistic language in furniture design focusing on product innovation and sustainability.
My company stems from my professional and cultural training; we live/live "design as a happening". In this journey, I have learnt that results are achieved through sharing, enthusiasm, multidisciplinarity and multiculturalism, honesty, listening and recognising the importance of each actor in the process.
Hence the desire to preserve and advance our manufacturing, the past as a lever to continue to innovate and look enthusiastically to the near future, with a curious look towards that future theorised by enlightened minds: cities (smart city and the city in 15 minutes), sustainable products and production (micro/smart factory), where man is and remains the central pivot.
What is the Ellifurniture brand’s sustainability mission?
Through beauty and design, we want to make our contribution to combating climate change, improving the quality of our lives, supporting social changes and implementing that change in the way we do business and understand a product in response to what the market is demanding in terms of social and environmental responsibility.
We are reinventing the way of conceiving and producing an object of design furniture, keeping in mind the entire "life" cycle of the product: from the raw material to its recovery/reuse at the end of its life, leveraging the opportunities and potential of innovation and additive manufacturing, guaranteeing the same quality that distinguishes Made in Italy design as we know it, and last but not least reinventing the distribution model with a view to proximity globalisation.
We communicate our mission through engaging language, trying to make the consumer aware of his choice by helping him understand the change in the perception of the value of a consumer object; in this way, the consumer becomes an actor and protagonist of the change.
Made & Remade' is one of your slogans; can you explain?
Made & Remade is more than just a slogan; we believe it is the keystone and distinction of our approach to sustainability and circular economy. It is a virtuous, low impact, fair product/process with a high social and territorial value.
This concept is the answer to one of the biggest problems of our time: waste and its management. Waste is currently the most incredible resource of "raw material" available. We subject it to a technical and value upcycling process to re-emit it in the production chain, trace it and recover it at the end of its life. This is the soul of Made & Remade.
Wouldn't it be nice to know that that product will not generate waste when we purchase a product? Made & Remade is an end-of-life product return option that we give our customers. This product we already know will not become waste. Still, thanks to a recovery process, upcycling will become a valuable object again, thus creating a virtuous circular process to not impact the planet either in terms of using new resources or generating waste.
What is your design; how would you describe it?
In the first part of my history as a designer, there was a desire to make iconic objects, Achille being one example, trying to follow the creative path established by the great Italian designers of the 1950s and 1960s.
With the new requirements expressed by the market (where the object goes beyond its function), by society and guided by the objectives of the UN 2030 agenda, research has moved towards products that must be malleable, adaptable, rational, customisable to be an expression of the "self", representing ideals and values as a source of inspiration and stimulus. The research aims to enhance the peculiarities of additive manufacturing, on the one hand, the materials and the other, the possibility of creating complex geometries that translate the dynamism, movement and fluidity of society and the passage of time and nature into an object.
A company like ours offers new concept 'handicraft' products in the wake of Made in Italy, expressing the same values of quality, innovation, beauty and style.
What does the Ellifurniture poster say?
It tells of the will of a group of people, professionals and companies who want to contribute to bringing about change, driven by a strong will, perseverance, commitment, curiosity and creativity.
It tells of how Made in Italy as we know it is the driving force behind our inspiration. Made in Italy is more than just "making", Made in Italy is innovation, taste, vision, style, the ability to anticipate the times and dictate new trends and new territories to explore, aspects that were very evident in the work of the great masters and companies in the 1950s and 1960s, this spirit of freedom, risk, vision and openness is what we need to rediscover today and what we as a company are expressing.
Our manifesto tells us that sustainability encompasses much more than environmental and climate protection and includes social factors and excellent and transparent corporate governance.
It tells how the value of a product is no longer only represented by the quality of the materials but also by the lower environmental impact it had to obtain.
What are the working tools and technologies you use?
As a brand, we could reach the market by sharing our objectives, skills, and means with other innovative companies in the area; if we need an answer and a change, we cannot go it alone but must be open to sharing.
Thanks to our close collaboration with Caracol srl, we have access to an integrated system of proprietary Large Scale Additive Manufacturing robotics technology that allows us to produce significant components with direct printing from pellets of different materials - even from recycled sources - to create circular economy loops.
The process starts with the creative concept and then moves on, using modelling software, to engineering and optimisation for 3D printing to find solutions to reduce, if not eliminate, production waste, reduce the intermediate processing stages (pre and post) and reduce the elements of a product to facilitate its recovery at the end of its life, all while guaranteeing the same quality that distinguishes Made in Italy design.
What can architects and designers do about plastics today? Yesterday, in the 50s and 60s, plastic seemed to have revolutionised the world because it was a light and indestructible material; it changed our habits and brought a breath of modernity.
Now things have changed a lot - what 'age of plastic' do you think we are in and, as they say, what to do about it?
Plastic is a valuable material that has contributed to global economic growth since 1950. It has contributed to transforming a wide range of sectors such as healthcare, transport, packaging, design and electronics. It is a durable, multifunctional, lightweight material that, compared to other materials such as glass, iron, aluminium, has allowed the reduction of transport costs and harmful transport-related emissions. Due to economic growth, population growth, poverty reduction, and consumption patterns, plastic or plastic waste represents one of our most significant environmental problems.
We look at the world of plastics with a different focus and spirit, driven by a deep awareness in terms of environmental responsibility and sustainability. We rethink the life cycle of plastics, starting from concepts such as recycling - reuse - easy replacement - waste reduction.
We look at plastic, or somewhat plastic waste, as a resource, as the raw material of our time, recovering it by upcycling it technically and in use so that it is no longer the problem but the solution.
Am I mistaken, or have I seen a combination of plastic and wood among your products? To reassure people at this time of uncertainty?
The combination of recycled wood ("discarded" by some well-known brands because it is not "perfect") is very evident in the new collection; this choice of sustainability is a perfect expression of our identity. The warmth and materiality of wood give a human touch at a time when the immateriality and intangibility of the virtual seem to have the upper hand. The desire is to bring nature into dialogue with its perfect imperfection, with the craftsmanship and technological innovation.
What are the keywords behind your project and the content?
The keywords behind our company and mission are many, and we have already described them in the previous questions. We are very attached to "Purpose", which is nowadays indispensable for any company that wants to be on the market, "Sustainable Fu(rni)ture", a play on words that best represents our approach to design and sustainability, and finally "Innovative technology with a human touch", which is perhaps the most important for us because, coming from a land of craftsmen, even with the innovation we are bringing, we are craftsmen in our turn, craftsmen 4.0 but we remain craftsmen; the vision, the stroke of genius, the taste, the ability and intelligence in finding solutions is, in my opinion, the same as that of the craftsman as we know him, we speak the same voice; we use advanced software and machinery, but the heart, the mind of the whole is man, we are craftsmen who carry our manufacturing tradition into the future (evolve).