Rustic Wool Robotuft
The idea for our project came to us from the desire to transform rustic wool, from meat or milk sheep, which is not considered of interest as textile material, into an industrially viable and commercially desirable product by adding value through high-impact design, creativity and high-quality processes.
“What do you think you can get out of this low-quality wool” everyone asked? “You’re crazy, this rustic wool is so coarse and not fine enough for making textiles for garments, it is worthless!”, they said.
In fact, the material did not enjoy a very good reputation, so why not imagine a product you can literally step on… a carpet!
The birth of the project
Shortly after this idea came to us, Margaux Minodier, came to us! She is an expert in tapestry weaving and a brilliant young designer with a very imaginative mind.
She fell in love with the material and started doing some preparatory studies.
In the meantime, we had exchanged some sample materials with the Belgian company Casalis, who regard working with sustainable materials as one of their main traits.
There is a market need for products in the realm of interior design made of new sustainable materials. 94% of companies affirm they have integrated sustainability into strategic planning (McKinsey) more than 50% of consumers plan to switch brands in the future if another brand acts more environmentally and socially friendly and more that 30% already did it (Pulse of the Fashion Industry).
The commercialization of this raw material to production companies internationally, is part of a wider strategy, starting with wool and sheep from Italy with the objective to extend this process to other regions in Europe and the world that have the same problems. A previously unused raw material is being developed on an industrial scale, it’s perfect for innovative circular products, which convey in its realization all the principles of the short production chain approach.
In this project a new raw material made from locally sourced waste is being developed on an industrial scale. This in fact ensures the production process is innovated, traceable and transparent, starting from the raw material, which is currently a useless byproduct without the industrialization of these processes, up to the supply and distribution chain.
The main difficulty is in fact the organization of a new supply chain of the raw material which is very fragmented and made f many tiny suppliers, who need to be coordinated and connected. This operation needs to be streamlined in order to keep the cost of the wool on a low/medium avarege.
The creative process
The technical aspects of the project were the drivers of the creative process.
Margaux, our designer was inspired by the wool and its provenance but also by the high-tech machinery which produces the robotic tuft. Her approach towards designing the product was solution driven, she tested many different surface effects before selecting the best option in terms of softness, looks and technical possibility, creating a highly original design which is innovative but also very likeable and contemporary.
We faced difficulties in production, as the main tufting machine broke down and required a long time to be repaired. We discovered that the machine’s supplier, closed and there is only one company left worldwide which produces these innovative machines.
We also had some difficulties in retrieving more material: once the first lot of material was finished we had to wait for the sheering of the sheep in order to receive more wool from the farmers.
The collaboration between the partners has not only benefitted the project, but actually made it possible. Each partner has brought his own point of view and high level of expertise into the project and is fully committed to the final outcome.
Working in a group is highly beneficial, because every part brings their own experiences and knowledge to the table. This creates a dynamicity, which is not possible to achieve in a one-person operation.
The partners can support each other and exchange, working more or less intensely in different moments of the project with different paces. This makes for a refreshing rhythm and assures, that no partner gets overworked or overwhelmed.
In the not too far future, our product will be available on the market!
People will be able to buy a home furnishing product that is 100% transparent and they will have the certainty that their product is 100% made in Europe, from the fiber of the raw material to the fresh contemporary design!
People will be able to buy it in stores or order it online.
We will have a strongly developed customer care so that clients will have the opportunity to get in touch with us/the company and have the product personalized in colour or size and adapted or scaled to their interior design needs.
Collaborations, cross-overs, and the sharing of knowledge are essential in creating innovative ideas and a concrete path towards a sustainable future.