les Sismo & Carre Noir
HOW MANY Bench
Tetra Pak France
HOW MANY Bench
Answering the initial question of Tetra Pak firm: “Help us to improve the recycling rate of our packs,” the agency has created together a public bench from the polyethylene and aluminium mix of recycled Tetra Pak packaging.
Frédéric Lecourt and Antoine Fenoglio, industrial creators and co-founders
Christophe Fillatre and Beatrice Mariotti
How Many bench demonstrates the conversion of a major environmental hazard into a durable item of considerable utility, and one that in turn could be recycled. The use of Tetra-packs is proliferating and these packages are difficult to recycle. A public facility of this kind could be an important demonstration not only of recycling technology but of the message of interdisciplinary/profession teamwork toward safer, more sustainable environments.
HOW MANY Bench
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
Tetra Pak is well known for its revolutionary packaging system, and produces every year in France 4 billiards of cartons. The cardboard, which stands for 75% of the carton, is pulped and recycled by paper industries: then there’s still 25% of polyethylene and aluminium that can be recycled, but quite hard to promote.
Therefore, we faced two challenges: make tangible Tetra Pak culture and action for protection in general (food and environment), and go further by finding innovative and meaningful outcomes for the packs waste.
The real challenge was that the recovered mix of plastic and aluminium had never been considered as a possible material to create final products, good enough for life environment. Once they were convinced by the technical qualities of the material, the agencies have to identify and organize a network of complementary firms that were able to collect and create semi products, and assemble a final product from that material.
We were thrilled by the wide-opened project, which was challenging in terms of creation, environmental issues, brand valorization, and the whole system to set up in order to produce the bench.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
The challenge posed by Tetra Pak was “help us to increase the recycling rate of our packaging”. At the beginning, the agencies did not think of a bench: starting from the material, it could be everything.
However, the agencies quickly agreed to use this new« raw material » to manufacture useful and long lasting items rather than little pieces that can be easily forgettable. The product has to be a symbol of waste recycling.
Moreover, we brought a holistic view to the project: we decided to gather around the project all the actors of the waste recycling process: from end user to the firm that produces the packs, and local authorities that manage recycling in the city.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
We considered the interests of all the stakeholders:
- Local authorities which finance the recycling system and can prove the citizens that their everyday waste sorting is concrete, tangible, because it leads to a useful product for all: a bench.
- Tetra Pak, as a responsible firm in environment issues
- And last but not least, the consumers, who are an essential part of the production process of that bench.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
One side of the project was the creation itself, as one of the main objectives was to create a product that stands for Tetra Pak values.
All the project long, a work on branding has been carried out, strongly linked to product design, with a research on the brand DNA, the core values and the promises of Tetra Pak brand.
The agency has created a label “How Many” that makes visible the number of cartons used to produce the bench, and a proper graphical system coming both from the brand codes and the recycling codes.
Moreover, simple but meaningful, the shape of the bench suggests the idea of nature conservation, making tangible the link between nature and recycling, and the promise of Tetra Pak “Protect that is good”
On the other hand, the agencies made researches among the semi product manufacturers, as the raw mix of plastic and metal had never been transformed into potentially useful material. The agency has put together different firms to make something useable of the mix.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
This bench is aimed at promote the waste recycling, and help citizen education about recycling, being a proof of the everyday efforts of consumers.
Furthermore, the city bench has been reinvented! It used to be a passive, a neutral element of the cityscape, associated to elder people, feeding birds, homeless people… With the bench How Many, local authorities can imagine new, contemporary scenarii of urban furniture, in line with new habits like home waste sorting.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?