Restoration or rethinking

A really popular swedish brand presented few months ago a new set of curtains produced with a fabric that absorbs co2 thanks to a process comparable to photosynthesis. We have no idea about the exact amount of co2 that this material is capable to absorb, but it seems a great idea. Anything that contributes to improve wellbeing in our homes must be considered a step forward. We also appreciate and admire innovation and novelty, and new materials are one of the most important areas of learning, because to be aware of a new one and to apply it properly can make better any project. Many of the advances that have been made in our history have been thanks to new materials, and you only have to look at the age of bronze, the iron one, or the so-called age of silicon to realize, so well done guys!

Going back to the current situation to hear about these new curtains makes us have a few existential doubts. It’s probably not a fault of this swedish company or their new product, it's more about how the information is presented, or even more about the impact that this information can have in the non specialized public. Our first doubt is about this amazing skill that the material have. Does it absorb a sufficient amount of CO2? Does this absorption balance the probably higher environmental impact that this high tech fabric has in comparison with an environmentally friendly one, like for example recycled cotton? Is this new material also better in terms of CO2 absorption than a more -let's say- rudimentary solution like for example a plant? 

The same happens to us with other great initiatives like this fungus discovered in pakistan capable of "eating" plastic, air purifying towers in China, the concrete that absorbs CO2 thanks to a layer of titanium oxide, or a buoy that filters microplastics designed by an amazing group of young students from Valencia. Actually many companies are studying how to balance their emissions planting trees, and this option at least uses what nature has been developing during millions of years. All of these ideas are in the right direction to help us solve some of the problems that we have already created, or at least to alleviate them. 

The issue here is that sometimes media presents them like the solution to climate change and other environmental problems created by us, and they can even be understood as a justification to continue living and growing at the same rate. No restorative solution such as recycling or increasing CO2 sequestration will place us on the right line by itself, although of course they can be helpful. Rethink and redesign our products, our production processes and our consumption model in a radically different model will. That will force a much greater effort than just choosing a curtain model or another, but of course the result will make it worthwhile. There really is no alternative.

The solution of packaging

What can design do to solve the problem we presented in our previous post? A lot. Like we always say, design alone can just take small steps, we need companies (our clients) scientists and engineers (our colleagues) and specially consumers to make a real impactful change. Nevertheless, design has a strategic role which can show the way to the other actors in the scene.

Despite some theorists say that the three traditional eco-design strategies are an obsolete idea, the fact is that they are still a good starting point.

The first one is to reduce, with good design we can create packaging with the same functionality but using less material, while being equally or more attractive. Overpackaging is something that should make everyone angry and can even be considered unethical. To present something better in store is never a good enough reason to spend more material and resources than the strictly necessary. Companies should be creative, offering more and using less, and designers should tell them how to do it. Their economic results will appreciate it, and so will the environment and the client’s perception.

The second one is to reuse. With design, some single-use packaging can be substituted by a reusable one, reducing a lot the environmental impact that packaging provokes. A typical example are plastic bags at the grocery store. Do we really need to produce tonnes of virgin plastic bags that are only going to be used for 5 minutes, from the store to home? Of course not. Sadly, this can be applied to many other products and packagings, that can be replaced by reusable options in a very easy way.  Why is it that the evolution of this industry has resulted in the substitution of things that were already working - like refillable glass bottles - by others that are objectively worse?

The third one is to recycle, which involves the consumer, who has the responsibility to separate waste at home and dispose of each item according to the information provided by their waste management organization. Nevertheless, it also involves companies and designers, because they must create packs that are easily recycled, with a minimal number of different materials and choosing those that allow a complete re-introduction in the chain.

These are the three main strategies that have always been at the center of sustainable design, and in some ways, these are overpowered by others that have a more systemic approach. A step forward is to design packaging with a circular design approach where it can be re-introduced in the chain again without losing any value.

There are dozens more ideas that can improve the environmental impact of packaging and have an influence at different stages of the life cycle. It’s the job of the sustainability expert to find the one that best fits the product, the brand and its target. In order to choose wisely, designer and client need to perfectly understand the life cycle and the characteristics of the product they are offering.

Sadly, no strategy is ever going to work if consumers do not change some of the factors that are nowadays key decision-making aspects when purchasing a product. Consumers tend to be lazy and want easy and cheap things, but we need to understand that to buy something is as act of responsibility, and that to choose well benefits us all. Let’s then be smart and make the right choice.

The problem of packaging

We are not the first to say that in a global reality where there are increasingly more competitors, the image of a company is a key factor that must be controlled to send the right message in the intended tone. Consumers want to be identified with the brands they buy, so companies better care about how they present their products.

But packaging is not only a question of image, it is what protects what you want to sell, what the consumer sees in the store, what helps you to use the product in the right way and which completes its -generally short- life cycle by being recycled in the best of cases, or what ends up in a landfill or the sea being eaten by a fish or creating islands of waste in the worst of them.


Using data from the Catalan Waste Agency last year we threw away almost 159.170 tonnes of light packaging in Catalonia (plastic and metal) plus more than 314.400 tonnes of paper and cardboard and 192.000 of glass. With Catalonia having 7.600.000 citizens, this means we are producing 87,59kg of packaging waste per person per year. The situation will only become more dramatic seeing how these numbers are going up after a few calmer years because of the economic crisis. We can find similar data in most of the developed countries.

In terms of volume, which is a very important aspect when speaking about waste management, the situation becomes even worse, because packaging tends to be something more or less lightweight but that occupies a lot of space. This fact results in very inefficient transport of waste with trucks that are not fully loaded in terms of weight although they are full, thus having to make more trips than necessary.

According to data from the OECD, in 2015 Spain recovered a 40% of the waste we produce, with a 30% recycling rate, but we are still far from the numbers of Belgium or Germany, that recover more than a 99% with a recycling percentage of 55% and 65% respectively. Maybe the European numbers look acceptable or in the right direction, but if we consider the huge amount of resources and energy needed to produce and later manage this packaging which almost instantly becomes waste, we can see that the solution is not only about whether they are recycled or not.

Once we are aware of the environmental problem we are creating, that is finally appearing in the news almost every day, someone might think that we are in the right path to solving it, and this cannot be less true. The United Nations’ Global Sustainable Development Goals establish that we need to reduce CO2 emissions by a 30% by 2030. This will prove complicated seeing how every year we produce more tonnes of waste than the previous year instead of reducing them.

Consumers are lazy by definition. The number of products packaged in individual portions is increasing, while buying in bulk has become something from the past despite some interesting projects that are appearing in our cities (or some others that never disappeared in smaller towns).

Take-away food and food delivery is a reality that is here to stay. Markets like the American have decades of advantage here, but it is now a fast-growing business in Europe.  Once again, the amount of waste we create every time we order food is completely insane. Online shopping is another reality that is a part of our everyday lives, and expectedly, the distribution to our homes results in added boxes or bags.

It is important to remember that when we are at a store, we want to buy detergent, wine or cereal, not packaging. Therefore, all the actors in the value chain should ensure their products are packed as efficiently as possible without losing image or functionality, and consumers need to be much more responsible when choosing between them.

Our new space in Raval

CAST. El viernes 14 de Junio abrimos nuestro estudio al público por primera vez como parte de la Barcelona Design Week en colaboración con Cervezas Alhambra. Tuvimos el placer de hablar con otros diseñadores, entusiastas de la sostenibilidad, estudiantes y vecinos curiosos. En el estudio presentamos nuestros proyectos más recientes, algunos de los cuales no se habían mostrado al público anteriormente. Por ejemplo, enseñamos Circ, una nueva colección de alfombras modulares hechas de residuos de preconsumo diseñada para Barcelona Rugs. También presentamos la familia Garçon por primera vez en Barcelona, una colección de lámparas de diseño atemporal diseñada para Carpyen, que pone un gran énfasis en la estética y la ergonomía. También presentamos algunos de nuestros proyectos de autoproducción, como la estantería modular Río y las piezas de la familia NOEM y algunos productos anteriores como los colgadores Treviso, diseñados para Made Design, que no generan en residuos en su producción.

Si no tuviste la oportunidad de asistir a nuestra fiesta de inauguración, no dudes en visitarnos. Si pasas por nuestro estudio durante la próxima semana, aún podrás ver los productos mencionados anteriormente. Queremos agradecer especialmente a Carpyen, Barcelona Rugs y Cerveza Alhambra por hacer posible una apertura de la cual estamos tan orgullosos.

ENG. Last June 14th we opened our studio to the public for the first time as part of the Barcelona Design Week in collaboration with Cervezas Alhambra. We had the pleasure of getting to talk to fellow designers, sustainability enthusiasts, students and curious neighbors. In the studio we featured our most recent projects, some of which had not been shown to the public prior to this. For example, we presented Circ, a new collection of modular carpets made from pre-consumer waste designed for Barcelona Rugs. We also showed Garçon for the first time in Barcelona, a lamp collection of atemporal design designed for Carpyen, that has a strong focus on both aesthetics and ergonomics. We also presented some of our self-production projects, such as Rio, a modular bookshelf, and the piece from our NOEM furniture range as well as older projects such as the Treviso hangers, designed for Made Design, which create no production waste.

If you didn’t have a chance to come by for our opening party, feel free to come by and visit us. If you walk past our studio during the upcoming week you will still be able to see the products mentioned above. We would like to give a special thanks to Carpyen, Barcelona Rugs and Cerveza Alhambra for making such a successful opening possible.

Barcelona Design Week is here!

CAST. Ya ha llegado la BCN Design Week! Este año nos hemos liado la manta a la cabeza y participamos en cinco actividades de la semana del diseño organizadas por nosotros mismos o por algunos compañeros y clientes. Aquí podréis ver los eventos donde nos encontrareis, ¡esperamos veros allí!

Nos hace mucha ilusión invitaros a la inauguración de nuestro local de Nutcreatives en el Carrer d’en Robador 35-37 el viernes 14 de 6:30-9:30PM. Presentaremos una colección de alfombras diseñada para Barcelona Rugs y nuestras lámparas Garçon diseñadas para Carpyen, y podréis ver el espacio donde trabajamos.

También nos encontrarás en la exposición de la nueva gama de mobiliario de Alutec. En esta presentación podréis encontrar los primeros modelos de la nueva colección de mobiliario de exterior que hemos diseñado para Alutec, junto con otras colecciones realizadas por otros colegas diseñadores. Esto tendrá lugar el mismo viernes 14 de 10:00AM-8:00PM en Palo Alto en Pellaires 30 -38.

Podrás encontrar también un objeto conceptual representativo de nuestra visión sobre la sostenibilidad en el evento “Objectar el Món“ en Arts Santa Mònica el Sábado 15 de 11:00AM-1:30PM.

Si estas interesado en el diseño circular también tienes que venir a nuestra presentación del Best Practice Publication en el que hemos estado trabajando durante meses para el proyecto europeo Circular Design Europe. Este será el Martes 18 de Junio de 6:00-7:30PM en Can Jaumandreu en Carrer Perú 52.

Si aún no te has cansado de nosotros, recomendamos que no te pierdas la jornada Des de Palo Alto: Disseny + Sostenibilitat… Transicions cap a una economia circular, en la que participamos en la mesa redonda “2009-2019, 10 anys del premi disseny per al reciclatge a Palo Alto“ a las 12:00-14:00PM, aunque la jornada se extenderá todo el día 18 de 9:00AM a 6:30PM en Palo Alto en Carrer Dels Pellaires, 30-38.

Esperamos que puedas venir a estos eventos que hemos preparado. ¡Nos vemos allí!

ENG. The BCN Design Week is here! This year we are participating in five activities of the design week both organized by ourselves or our colleagues. Below you can see the events where you will find us, we hope to see you there!

First of all we are excited to invite you to the opening of our studio space in Nutcreatives in Carrer d'en Robador 35-37 on Friday the 14th from 6: 30-9: 30PM. We will show a new rug collection designed for Barcelona Rugs and our Garçon Lamps designed for Carpyen and also to see the place where we work.

You will also find us at the exhibition of Alutec’s new furniture range. In this event you can have a look at the first models of the new collection of outdoor furniture that we have designed for Alutec, together with other collections designed by some colleagues. This will also take place on Friday the 14th from 10:00AM-8:00PM in Palo Alto en Carrer Dels Pellaires, 30-38.

You can also find a conceptual object representative of our vision of sustainability at the "Objectar el Món" event at Arts Santa Mònica on Saturday 15 from 11:00 AM-1:30PM.

If you are interested in circular design you must come to the presentation of the Best Practice Publication in which we have been working on for months for the European project called Circular Design Europe. This will be on Tuesday, June 18th from 6: 00-7: 30PM in Can Jaumandreu in Carrer Perú 52.

If you are not tired of us yet, we recomment to you the event Des de Palo Alto: Disseny + Sostenibilitat… Transicions cap a una economia circular, in which we participate in the round table called "2009-2019, 10 anys del premi disseny per al reciclatge a Palo Alto" that takes place at 12:00-14:00PM. This event will also be on June 18th from 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM at Palo Alto in Carrer Dels Pellaires, 30-38.

We hope you can come to these exciting plans. See you there!

Introducing the Noem range in the 2018 London Design Fair.

Carl, Rachel, Jane and Chico, the new members of the Noem family, have been presented in the London Design Fair last week! Showed in a space shared with other colleagues from our city under the motto Inspired in Barcelona: Design Editions organized by the Barcelona Design Center, this fair allowed us to reveal these news products for the first time!  Here is a summary of the most important things we have lived these days accompanied by a virtual tour of the exhibition. Enjoy!


 An unexpected sustainable approach.

If you follow us in social networks, maybe you already know that the names of the Noem pieces are borrowed from great personalities who fought for the environment and social causes that inspired us. To choose these names has involved some discussions about which figures we wanted to highlight and has let us to learn about very inspiring people. It allows us to explain the Noem Family Ethics and its commitment with sustainable design. Noem is a responsible creation that surprised in the LDF2018 and wasn’t probably expected there. Indeed, we were one of the rare exhibitors working under those criterias!


 An upholstery armchair inviting you to touch!

Another discovery and revelation, the upholstered armchair. The colors, the shape, the texture made it the piece with more success of the range. The quality of the fabric invited people to touch it, to try it and to sit on it. Carl, our Armchair, has created convivial moments and warm exchanges about the range. Our product is proud to share these values and create moments like these! Seeing the success we will push ourselves to develop more upholstered pieces as soon as possible!  


An accurate design from the global shape to the smallest joint.

Last but not least, the details of the design. The material finishes, the visible steel structure, the choice of colors and the geometric and playful shapes were particularly appreciated. A special mention for the joints of our stool, Chico, which was selected as one of the most beautiful joints of the exhibition by one of our visitors! 

A refreshing and enriching atmosphere.

To conclude, an experience full of emotion and discovery, a lively and welcoming London neighborhood, some great curry in sauce, some pizzas and beers, modern and talented exhibition's neighbors, curious and interested visitors ... In short, we ended this experience tired but at the same time full of energy, inspirations and interesting feedbacks for the future of the Noem range! Maybe thanks to you, one day, we will see the upholstery declined to other models or some joints will become more visible... Stay tuned! 

We hope you liked this summary; stay tuned because Carl, Rachel, Jane and Chico will be in our online store soon!

Circular Design Europe

As you probably know Nutcreatives is much more than just a product design studio. We are really interested in the future of our profession, and to set the bases of it nothing better than to do research. 
We are one of the partners of the Circular Design Europe project, that has been presented to the media just now. Our role in this network of universities, companies and design associations from four different european countries is to develop a case study publication in Circular Design, looking for some of the best examples in the EU, interviewing them and trying to explain their methodology to help the design community into the acquisition of this set of tools that is going to be every day more important. 
Here you have the press note that has been sent to media of the whole Europe, together with the first case of study, Sea2see, a Barcelona company that is producing a range of glasses produced with recycled plastic obtained from old fishing nets.


The Circular Design project releases the first case study of its Best Practice publication

Sea2See, a company within the eyewear industry, is one of the case studies showcased within the Circular Design project that demonstrates that every sector can be an agent of change for circular economy.

One of the main goals of the European project Circular Design - Learning for Innovative Design for Sustainability is to inspire designers, businesses and design students in the process of developing more sustainable products and services. 

In order to reach this objective, one of the key outcomes of the project is the Best Practice Publication in Circular Design, a fine selection of case studies, best practices and products that will help us to understand the critical role of design to minimise the environmental impact of consumption, reduce the use of resources and rethink the way our societies work.

The first case study of this publication, led by the design studio Nutcreatives in collaboration with the other partners that integrate the Circular Design project, is Sea2See, a change agent in the eyewear industry that is determined to face a very serious threat for our environment: the islands of waste created by the fishing nets thrown away in the ocean that trap hundreds of thousands of sea mammals and fish. Plastic is also ingested by aquatic animals, such as sea turtles, who mistake it for viable food. They have become a huge environmental problem in our oceans.

turtle trapped.jpg

Sea2see is a company based in Barcelona that produces sustainable eyewear made 100% with recycled fishing nets collected in collaboration with fishermen. One of their main goals is to create awareness about ocean contamination and prove that circular economy in the fashion industry is possible. 

Their biggest innovation is the creation of a complex network of very different actors and organizations that allows to recycle something that was not being recycled before and has a high environmental impact like fishing nets, getting as a result a product with a big added value as are the glasses. With no doubt, Sea2see is an example that demonstrates that every sector can be an agent of change for circular economy. Further information about the case study: Sea2See

Sea2See is the first of twelve best practices to be released over the next months. The Best Practice Publication in Circular Design will be completed with case studies within sectors like technology, furniture, clothing, lighting or packaging, to demonstrate that circular design strategies can be applied to improve the efficiency of almost every system.

Sustainable packaging
Picture CC Ben_Kerckx

Picture CC Ben_Kerckx

Last week we had an interview about sustainable packaging for BeOK, a program in la Ser, one of the most important radio stations in Spain. In it Àlex Jiménez talks about how design can improve the environmental impact of packaging, materials, the process to design a more sustainable packaging, consumer behaviour,  etc.  In this link you can listen to it, do it and tell us what you think!

La semana pasada nos hicieron una entrevista sobre packaging y sostenibilidad en BeOK, un programa sobre alimentación saludable en la Ser. En ella Àlex Jiménez habla sobre cómo el diseño puede mejorar el impacto ambiental del packaging, materiales, el proceso para diseñar un envase más sostenible, patrones de consumo, etc. En este link la podéis escuchar. ¡Hacedlo y decidnos qué pensáis!

Design 2049

If you follow us you probably know that since our beginning in 2009 we have always been very interested in design teaching and theory. One of our favourite sports is to grab a coffee/beer/wine and to spend a couple of hours solving the world, from the design point of view of course, but not only! We have years of experience giving lectures, workshops, classes and writing articles about design, sustainability and more in many different scenarios. We strongly believe that before acting you always have to think, but not too much, balance is the key!

A couple of months ago we had to write a critical article about our vision about the design sector and the design teaching in the following years for an university of Italy, and we want to share with you the parts that were not specifically written for them! Without going as far as the 2049, because things happen every day faster, we want to show you our vision about the close future of our profession. We hope you take it as an open opinion, that it stimulates yours and of course that you share with us what you think about it!    

The tradition of design talks mostly about four disciplines: graphic, product, interiors, and fashion, but this division is nowadays obsolete like the offer of grades and postgraduates of most of the design schools abroad demonstrates: food design, retail design, jewelry, art management, packaging design, sustainable design, coolhunting and trends, brand management, and the list can continue forever! Today design is something much more complex and has evolved to many more shapes than the traditional four categories, that of course are still alive. 

In our opinion this is what describes better the situation of design now, there are no boundaries, and every one can decide specifically where to point his/her career mixing disciplines.

There are designers who have learnt to program, and their work is something in between product design and robotics, or even art, others work in restaurants collaborating with chefs or with scientists or doctors in a laboratory... Graphic designers use every day more 3D, photography and also programming to develop things that are much more dynamic (apps, videos, animation, etc.) than the graphic design of 30 years ago. It happened the same with fashion, new textiles and technologies are making possible the development of wearables, smart clothes that have many more functionalities than the traditional ones, and fashion designers have a lot to say there. 

The integration of technology in almost every aspect of our lives is one of the main trends that any design learning program should include, but sustainability and social responsibility are probably even more important. They are actually having an enormous influence in consumer behaviour, and this situation will grow. This is said in the most renowned trend/design reports like Nelly Rodi or David Carsson report and you can see the influence even in sectors as automotive, fashion or packaging. It's a big change, and designers -in collaboration with environmentalists, engineers, etc.- are the ones who can apply these criteria in a more natural and integrated way. 

The third tool that we think every designer should have nowadays besides the traditional design skills is business. There are lots of designers/makers selling directly their creations in collaboration of artisans or little suppliers, something that has traditionally happened in fashion but maybe not as much in product or in graphic design. This makes more necessary to have a business vision that it's also helpful in case you are part of a bigger organisation. Design is now inside the management boards of the most innovative companies in the world -the typical example is Apple, but even companies that offer services are using design and designers as a decision tool-, and has become something strategic and never more something only just aesthetic or superficial, that in our opinion it never was! 

The consolidation of design thinking does nothing more than to demonstrate that design helps in strategic decision making.

In our opinion, all of these facts are the ultimate demonstration that to design has never been to master a series of tools like non-designers often think. Design is a problem solving methodology, and as it happened before the best designers will always be the ones that have the criteria and the vision to offer the best answers for what the users, the consumers and the clients need, despite the changes that the profession and the world has suffered and will suffer even more in the next years!

New web 2017

We started the process to plan our new web in the beginning of 2016. We have been dedicating a lot of time and effort to think which was the best way to present the studio, showing the principles that rule our approach to product design: rich, diverse, ambitious, but also realistic. You probably know that we strongly believe that design is the best tool to improve the environmental and social impact of products, but we also think that it makes them better in every single aspect, from functionality to differentiation or aesthetics.

We called the result "the Nutcreatives' manifesto" and you can read it in the first section of the web: "Studio". We hope it inspire you!

For us this web has to be the platform to become a company with international impact. Until now we have been doing small attends with international clients -in close european countries mostly- but our activity is still 99% based in Catalonia. This webpage and other tools that we are still developing must push us to make real a process that will finish at the end of 2018, with ideally a more consolidated international presence. 

Stay aware of our news!