PineSkins Soft Wall Tiles is a collection of sustainable wall tiles made of PineSkins, the bark of pine trees and spanish pine wood. This product creates alternative scenarios for those parts of the tree, that usually are left behind in the forest after the tree is gone, one of them being the bark of the tree. Furthermore, it helps to reveal a new value for local trees apart of wood usage and it embraces local landscape.
The wall-tile system will be sold to B2B partners for interiors such as home, retail shops, restaurants and hotels.
Worth Project approached me after the Dutch Design Week show when they saw my PineSkins project and though that could be a great project to develop further during the Worth Partnership Project. As a small design studio, the idea of commercially developing a new product in a larger scale seemed very appealing for me too therefore I partnered up with a wood production company in Spain also very much interested into producing a product that advocates for the use of local and natural materials. The idea to make a product for the interior seemed very natural for both parties and thus the concept of “Soft Wall Tiles” made of Pineskins and local Spanish pine timber was born already during our first Skype meeting.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
The current state of our environment is in an urgent need for a change in consumer behaviour. The industry is currently draining too many resources from our Planet, which puts the future of our nature in danger. Furthermore, the current trend of natural, sustainable and biomaterials introduces a change in the conventional material available on the market. Thus, PineSkins has already an advantage as it specifically addresses the overconsumption of forests, the pine tree in particular. Pine tree bark is considered a by-product of the timber industry, but, when properly harvested and treated, it becomes a versatile material for various application possibilities with strong identity.
However, one of the main challenges of this beautiful material is the high price due to the manual work. Therefore, during the partnership the specifics of PineSkins was at the centre of our concept and we built the idea of our product around it in order to offer a price competitive product.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
As mentioned in the previous section, some of the challenges of PineSkins include its limited availability and high price given by the amount of manual work. Therefore, we looked for ways on how to optimise the product while also respecting the concept – sustainability, the use of natural materials and binders. Seistag, the producing part of this partnership project, had recently launched a wood printing technique which we also successfully implemented in our project that balances the exclusive PineSkins material with beautifully tinted pine tree timber.
One of the main benefits of this partnership was definitely the exchange of knowledge, a joined vision for a common goal and finding compromises.
I envision PineSkins as a wall cover among other applications successfully implemented in the interior in the future. For that to happen I will keep looking for growth possibilities, investment and scale-up potential. I will also keep collaborating with other designers and architects to test the application potential of PineSkins.
A collaboration like Worth Partnership Project is a great learning and experience. I have learned so much about building an idea from scratch to business plan, building a common language with the producer and the importance of clear communication. Worth Partnership project has been a great supporting platform for me, and even though collaborations might not always work out, this kind of support helped me enormously to mature as a professional.
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STUDIO SARMITE run by the Latvian born designer Sarmite Polakova in Amsterdam. Sarmite earned an MA degree from Design Academy Eindhoven in Product Design, started working with overlooked materials and forgotten crafts and specialised in pine sub-products like resin and bark.
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SEISTAG started in 2013, base in Galicia (Spain), a place traditionally linked to the timber industry. They support other small and medium size companies, mainly specialising in ligno-cellulosic materials, with techniques applied in large organisations in the fields of internationalisation, ultimate technologies, industrial machinery, product development, new wood applications, adhesives, Bio composites and biofuels.