Sustainable avant-garde

100% circular economy meets research design in the work of Komut, a French studio/company selected by Maison & Objet for the ‘Future On Stage’ section in the upcoming show in September

Komut – Photo @ Fabio Drago
Komut – Photo @ Fabio Drago

Clear ideas, a determined project, lots of technology, a desire to innovate and ‘make a difference’, attention to the ecosystem: Komut, a company from Pantin, France, is all this. And precisely for its ability to translate these principles into reality, it will be one of the three companies chosen for the ‘Future On Stage’ section of the next edition of Maison & Objet.

“In France, according to the latest reports from Symevad (SYndicat Mixte d’Elimination et de VAlorisation des Déchets ménagers), more than 1.3 million tonnes of furniture are thrown away every year,” reports the Komut website. “So why continue to generate tomorrow’s waste by manufacturing new objects from virgin raw materials? We at Komut focus our efforts every day on developing sustainable products and production processes: 80 per cent of the materials used, such as PETG or polypropylene, come from recycling, the rest are of organic origin, such as fermented maize,” they continue. “The PET flakes resulting from production are then sent to a laboratory in Crépy Levallois, which recompacts them for new use.”

Founded in 2020 by Philippe Tissot and YuTyng Chiu, the eco-responsible design studio makes ‘beautiful and good’ furniture (tables, coffee tables, vases and seats) in recycled plastic. But how did this adventure begin? An entrepreneur in the field of architecture and street furniture, Philippe Tissot founded Taporo, a company specialising in concrete façade mesh, fifteen years ago. “Back then, we used silicone moulds two or three times to pour the cement and then we threw them away. I had to find a way to avoid this waste,” he says.

With his partner YuTyng, a former fashion designer, he thought of using 3D printing. Architect Florian Chéraud then helped the firm design an algorithm to turn the design into a production path and today Komut is a 100 per cent circular company, certified by the ESUS (Solidarity and Social Utility Company) label

For 3D printing, Komut uses robotic arms taken from old machines used in the automotive industry (they call them ‘gourmands’ because they remind one of the sac-à-poche used to make pastries), which do not consume water because they work in a closed circuit. “Our way of designing emphasises both the craftsman and his/her tool,” they explain.

Using an industrial production technique called extrusion – which transforms a solid material into a more flexible component – the layers of materials, by addition, line up one on top of the other: when plastic is used in this way, it becomes durable. Komut furniture can be used for a hundred years; moreover, each one bears a polyester label with a QR code indicating the origin, details of the work and instructions on how to care for the furniture.

“Each collection is produced locally in France, in the most environmentally positive way: zero waste, carbon neutral, production on demand and at the end of their life, 100% of our products are transformed into new furniture,” they add. “The diversity of the batches of raw material to be recycled and the technology involved in its transformation generates slight colour and 3D printing variations that make each piece unique. To facilitate the recycling process and maintain responsible production, then, we avoid any other treatment: painting, sandblasting or any additional finishing. At once timeless and robust, ergonomic and desirable, our creations, designed with generous material thicknesses 5 times greater than normal, offer endless strength and durability. In fact, our innovative technology consumes only as much material as is needed to manufacture our products, no more moulds, shapes and complex, polluting tools. And when it sometimes happens that one of our prototypes does not fit, we grind it up and immediately reuse it to mould a new piece of furniture”.

There are currently four collections in the catalogue: ‘A4’, ‘Aller-Retour’ (Round trip), ‘Kilometers’ and ‘Paradise’.

Product photos © Fabio Drago; production photos © Adel Fecih