A Talk with Anne PATEL on the story and philosophy of Kübbii
A great adventure that combines creativity and values.
L.B: You are comfortably sitting on your Kübbii!
(Laughs) Incredibly comfortable and solid.
L.B: You make me curious. Can you give me a bit more details?
My Kübbii possesses not only my ecological values, but it is super practical, simple, dynamic, colorful and fun. It can be used for many things such as storing, decorating, communicating and it can be easily adapted to all kinds of places, both at home and at work.
The idea is to have fun, change with something that normally is very serious: furniture.
It is a product different from anything that exists, which does not replace anything but completes many things by drawing attention.
It seems like something magical!?
Magical?! No. In fact, it is very down-to-earth, practical and functional.
It looks simple, but it took a year only to develop and test the concept. From my experience, solutions that seem simple are often the ones that necessitate the most rigor.
Were you inspired by someone or something?
Having kept my inner child, I was inspired by the Lego game. Elements that come together to create what we want them to become. Instead of building fort castles, we are creating useful objects for everyday life.
Would you explain quickly the operation of these modules?
The idea is not to have furniture as such. That is to say that your Kübbii can be used to sit but also become a storage space. So it’s not a piece of furniture as such, because it is not called a chair but a Kübbii that can be used to sit. This is not a bookcase but a different Kübbii assembled to make a bookcase or rack.
A fun way to consider your furniture. Everything changes so fast, I sought to create a product that changes at the same time as our ideas and desires change. A change after moving, a change of room, of use of texture of colors, to change a message as quickly as our needs. I think it makes our life easier.
Tell me about your approach.
Environmental values have taken a very important place in this adventure. Yes, it is a fun product but it is mostly a product with zero ecological footprint. Research has begun on the basis of the 3Rs that are Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. So, this is to use a raw material that already exists, without resorting to a new raw material like tree for furniture. My raw material is coming from recycling. It starts from paper pulp and ends up with cardboard.
When you know that every ton of recycled paper saves 2 tons of wood !!!
The life cycle of a Kübbii: it is born of an action that is recycling. There will be many uses during its lifetime and eventually will return to recycling without any footprint at any time. This is an eternal, endless life cycle!
The main idea is there. It is to use waste the consumer society has already made, make it a fun product and leave nothing behind. We stop filling landfills and help incineration plants do less work. It allows a consciously ecological product that leaves no trace.
What is the importance of your ecological principles?
It is our mission: Kübbii wants to bring products made of recycled materials in the daily life of the population. The company wishes to contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of businesses, organizations and families by providing a creative and practical alternative.
Ecological values are the raison d’être of Kübbii.
An underestimated raw material! Cardboard is present all around us; to the point that we don’t even notice it anymore. Yet cardboard increases its applications in everyday life. In addition to being strong, lightweight and recyclable, it has incredible potential!
Working with cardboard is done worldwide. But it is usually handcrafted or for single use during events.
I pushed the concept further. The use of cardboard is an atypical material, I wanted to create an atypical concept.
Is this what we call eco-design?
This is only part of eco-design.
Between the time Kübbii is created to the time it returns to recycling, there are many steps that can leave ecological footprints.
The goal is to dissect all stages of production and minimize the environmental impact at every stage.
How does the concept of eco-design manifest itself in Kübbii?
Manufacturing Kübbii requires very little power and virtually no water.
No toxic product is used: the base for the glue is dextrin (potato starch) which is ecological.
All post-production waste is recycled to contribute to waste prevention policy.
Manufacturing is entirely made in Quebec. I arranged for all of my suppliers to be within 30 kilometers of the warehouse to keep to a minimum greenhouse gases emitted during transport.
Made from recycled materials
Ici on recycle Bronze
What are the best qualities of your Kübbii?
Strength. The board is extremely strong but also cardboard slices alternate, allowing the same strength in all directions of use. You can jump on it, it is indestructible. I even laid them in the snow; they have dried and are always beautiful.
Lightness. Two nails, then it hangs on the wall. They are very easy to handle.
Possibility of changing the look with removable printed faces, a big asset that exists nowhere. Changing the look and message of your furniture or display in seconds, yes that is a little magical!
The use of different depths in the same installation. This also gives varied kinds of architectural structure. By combining different depths (10, 8 and even 6 inches), you can obtain incredibly interesting viewing angles!
Tell me about yourself.
I am of French origin, but reside in Quebec for a number of years, so dual nationality. I always bathed in entrepreneurship since my two parents were entrepreneurs. So this is like the family DNA, all my interests have turned into projects.
What is your personal experience in entrepreneurship?
I created my first company when I was 26, a beauty center which I kept for 11 years. A great success where I found great enjoyment working with and for others. And circumstances happened that I chose to change country to live a new adventure. My partner, a specialist in sustainable development and I chose Quebec for the Francophonie.
Immigration took place in 2001, I started a new profession: sculptor in stone and wood, often in large formats. It was during this period that my creativity blossomed. Then life forced me to change direction again and I sought to link my three forces: the entrepreneur, the artist and my heavily anchored environmental values.
When did you seriously discussed Kübbii for the first time?
It was in May 2011. Euphoric discussions gave rise to many key ideas that remained the base of the concept. I then created a crazy business plan with a number of hilarious parts. But I was convinced that this would become a single reference to the level of its characteristics and a leader for the use of recycled material in our daily lives.
Have you encountered obstacles?
You have no idea! Problems of all kinds … credibility with suppliers who did not believe in the project, that I finally succeeded convincing with my passion. We had to promote Kübbii without an advertising budget … and make cardboard acceptable as raw material … Yes, really a lot of obstacles. But it is a good thing, because that’s how we learn again and again!
It’s true, I often say that. It’s my baby. Indeed, it was quite a creative path because the first prototype was built with my moving boxes!!!. And then, I had to find companies to actually manufacture it. It’s been quite a journey until it was actually released at the SIDIM 2012.
It took a lot of time, a lot of education before a customer actually gave me his trust. I started working with many libraries and schools. For me, these two institutions are extraordinary partners for transmitting the educational message.
Now that Kübbii flies with its own wings, I seek above all to know how others desire to use it. Thus, Kübbii can develop depending on individual needs.
There is a different Kübbii for each of us!
Where will Kübbii be in 5 or 10 years?
My dream is that a Kübbii community emerges.
For me, the Kübbiimania is to think Kübbii as a design solution, to ask how Kübbii can help me now!
A movement with design competitions to create a space in each and everyone’s own image, make a difference to the community as our Bookbüddii approach does for children. There are so many possibilities. But this is a big family!
We are only at the beginning of the adventure that is Kübbii. I want to create a variety of shapes that complement each other, a variety of sizes and colors to meet a maximum of needs. User automatically becomes the creator.
Everyone will be able to dream up his own construction in full environmental awareness. The more Kübbii are used, the more it will have an important impact on the planet. Imagine the number of trees, not only that we will not have to replant, but that will not be necessary to cut.
We are looking forward to talk to you very soon. Thank you Ms. Patel and long live Kübbii!
Interview directed by Lucie Bettez, historian