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Eneris Collective unveil Nontalo Kids: a modular stool made of 7,500 olive pits
Nontalo Kids by Eneris Collective x NaifactoryLAB
Image: Courtesy of Eneris Collective

Eneris Collective unveil Nontalo Kids: a modular stool made of 7,500 olive pits

Spanish design duo—Irene Segarra and Irene Martínez collaborate with NaifactoryLAB to create a sustainable stool out of an olive industry by-product. 

by Anushka Sharma
Published on : Dec 09, 2022

Building & Construction toys enjoy a favourable spot in most homes, equally loved by adults and children, alike. Building sets defy time and even age due to the freedom to use tiny blocks to realise your imagination, build without the inhibitions of sanity, and explore the endless possibilities of novelty—a constant in the swarm of product designs that kids outgrow in the blink of an eye. Spanish designers Irene Segarra and Irene Martnez, known as Eneris Collective, infuse the spontaneity and playfulness of beloved construction sets into their new stool. Dubbed Nontalo Kids, the stool design transcends conventional kids’ furniture that often sets itself apart only in terms of size and colour. Eneris Collective teams up with Barcelona-based biomaterials company NaifactoryLAB to create an evolving stool design built with a compostable material made of olive pits, tying play, spontaneity, and sustainability together. “We are living in increasingly smaller houses, with a lot of furniture and objects. For this reason, we want to make functional furniture that adapts to people's needs and accompanies them for as long as possible,” says Martinez. “In addition, Nontalo Kids is part of a collection of seats that share the same idea and shapes, and that is what we are working on now,” she adds.

With a background in industrial design and a focus on sustainable materials, the duo collaborates to explore new methods of design with a contemporary, sustainable, and inclusive approach. Segarra from Barcelona and Martínez from Cádiz met in September 2021 in Barcelona when they began their collaboration with NaifactoryLAB. After a journey of multiple projects, they sculpted the idea of their next project: Nontalo Kids. The product design aims to highlight the value of social and sustainable design using NaifactoryLAB’s Reolivar, a 100% compostable material made from olive pits. Following several months of working at a distance—owing to the raging pandemic—through phone calls, video calls, and endless texts, Nontalo Kids was unveiled to the world during the Dutch Design Week 2022. “We knew that this type of volumetric project with this material was done by intercepting planes. So we wanted to go further by experimenting with proposals that did not use these routes,” says the product designer.

Nontalo Kids is an amalgamation of pieces that, when linked together, evolve into whatever one needs. The modular design of this stool allows for its structure to be expanded and combined to transform into a three-legged stool, a chair design, a bench, or other figures and positions, bringing the user's imagination and needs into play. Six interlocking modules—three P-shaped pieces that can vary in positions and three straight rods that hold them together—come together to create the ingenious seat. “During the four months we worked with this new material, we got to know the possibilities it had, the pros and cons, and what its limits were,” shares Martinez. “The idea was to generate a structure that didn't have the obvious shape of a stool with a seat and legs, but that maintained the same function,” she adds.

Starting with a series of words and concepts that defined the intention of the project, the designer duo began to interweave ideas of a design that is moulded in accordance with the requirements of material, production, usability and, most importantly, ergonomics. At the embryonic stages, the design employed right angles conventionally associated with furniture, a decision that the designers soon changed. “We realised that, by turning the legs by five degrees, the weight was better distributed and harmony and stability was achieved in the seat,” the Spanish designer explains. “This allowed us to give new uses to the pieces, generating new planes and backrests; we always take the user's reality into account,” she adds.

Nontalo Kids represents the visual journey of olive industry by-products from waste to raw material. Reolivar is a resistant and durable biomaterial, a calculated blend of olive pits and natural ingredients that is also 100% compostable. This waste is repurposed, breathing life into a natural wood that is easily mouldable without the need to chop down trees to obtain it. Nontallo Kids is made entirely of Reolivar and has rough, organic, almost Mediterranean textures, with no joining elements or screws. “This facilitates its production, assembly and, above all, its recycling and the end of life of the product,” says Martinez. Being a natural material, the ageing of the structure depends on the environmental conditions—lasting longer in dry environments, away from humidity and rain.

NaifactoryLAB and Eneris Collective join the ongoing crusade of stepping away from hackneyed materials towards sustainable alternatives from sources such as mycelium, pineapple, potato peels, and now olive stones. Spain alone produces a staggering 430,000 tons of olive stones every year as a by-product of the olive industry. The initiative by NaifactoryLAB to retrieve this waste from landfills and concoct a potential raw material sheds light on the conspicuous shift towards upcycled design and circular economy in the creative community. In a swarm of greenwashed narratives that deceive more than they achieve, Nontalo Kids upholding the tenets of sustainability and its design is a sight for sore eyes. With its thoughtful modular structure, Nontalo Kids epitomises an alliance of consciousness and creativity, an alliance that demarcates the present—and the future—of design.

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