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Positive things can also arise following a tragic natural disaster. After the passage of storm Vaia in northeastern Italy in autumn 2018, some 8 million cubic metres of wood from the Dolomites’ forests ended up on the ground. An exceptional resource that needed to be recovered as much as possible.

When two design studios, Studio Delle Alpi and Quattro, shared their thoughts on this issue, it resulted in the culmination of a wonderful project: Treepicker.

“We met on the occasion of an economic mission led by the Chamber of Commerce in Turin, a few weeks after the storm,” explains Nathalie Matiz, Creative Partner at Quattro. “We had been thinking about how we could do something together to contribute to climate protection and to reforestation, by designing eco-responsible products”.

A project with a potential

Aware of the impact of the deforestation caused by this storm on the lives of countless animal species, the focus quickly shifted to the manufacture of wooden bird nest boxes. “Minimalist houses in pure colours that remind one of nature and avoid frightening its inhabitants”, explains the project description.

“We know that there is potential in this project, beyond the very symbolic aspect,” confirms Anne Kieffer, co-founder of Studio Delle Alpi. “We have put several ideas on the table. If these small bird shelters are working well, we already know what the next steps could be.

“I didn’t know anything about nesting boxes but I researched it. I had no idea there were so many technical standards and constraints! A bird does not enter through any opening, it must be neither too big nor too small,” says Anne Kieffer. “I still hope that we have succeeded in making our creativity speak for itself. After all, it was not a question of bringing a bird into a ‘Le Corbusier’ architecture either. These nest boxes are objects for birds, not for designers.”

Once the prototypes were completed, production could begin using “local” ash, directly from the ravaged forests. The work has been entrusted to a carpenter from Vicenza and the packaging will be made by Agendo, a charity that works with children with Down syndrome.

“For each product purchased, depending on the selling price, we commit to replanting between 1 and 5 trees,” explains Anne Kieffer.

Kickstarter

While Studio Delle Alpi took care of all the design and conception of the nesting boxes, Quattro contributed its know-how for communication around this project, the creation of a website and the launch of participatory financing on the Kickstarter site, until December 1. “We are aiming for 10,000 euros, but even if we don’t reach that amount, we will go through this first phase,” says Nathalie Matiz.

This is not the first time that two companies involved in the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster have joined forces in a joint project. This was the case for the French start-up Jamset. And there too, the first contacts were made during the same economic mission in Italy.

“Our cluster had supported this mission by involving creative companies more closely in programme planning and visits,” explains Marc Lis, manager of the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster, who is delighted to see that “creative minds can find (ecological) solutions in all areas”.

Back to Italy

This project could only be a first step. “We hope to be able to repeat the experience in other regions,” says Ms. Matiz. “The symbol of this region of Italy is strong, but if an investor wants to start here with wicker houses or other types of products, we are open to any idea! We also think that companies may be interested in participating in this initiative by purchasing nest boxes in bulk.”

All gestures of good will are welcome! To better appreciate the quality and beauty of these Treepicker nest boxes, visit Mudam on December 14 and 15, during the unmissable Creators Market where they will also be offered for sale.

The previous week, a new economic mission will be organised by the Chamber of Commerce in Italy. “These examples of collaboration may serve as an additional motivation for our creative companies to register and participate in this mission,” Marc Lis hopes.

Nicolas Beraghi (Quattro Creative), Anne Kieffer (Studio Delle Alpi), Nathalie Matiz (Quattro Creative), Arnaud Mouriamé (Studio Delle Alpi)

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