Entrepreneur Design: at Maximum, industrial waste is a resource

Design: at Maximum, industrial waste is a resource

“Romée and I met on the benches of the National School of Decorative Arts. He was studying object design, I was studying graphic design. Our friendship was born in the work and our complicity became global: we ended up opting for a joint diploma. Our diploma focused on improvisation, the establishment of a D system in the face of a lack of means or materials, as in Cuba, for example, where the shortage gave rise to ingenious and lasting solutions.

In retrospect, this first adventure was entrepreneurial: imagining a logic to go from idea to production, then finding viable solutions.

The genesis of Maximum is there: thinking system D in the face of waste! It started in the bins of the ENS, where we found hundreds of glass test tubes in their packaging and, in addition, dozens of empty gouache markers. We developed a small refillable pen by combining the two: two pieces of waste for a new object in quantity! This notion of scale is at the heart of the Maximum project. We realized that there was a lot of waste that we could fit into a new production cycle.

Architects are our prescribers

Romée and I contacted manufacturers, looked at advertisements and spoke to Armand, a friend who graduated from EM Lyon in entrepreneurship. Our objective ? Make cheap furniture, with an irreproachable design, in France, and by following an alternative production model.

PORTRAIT – Clarisse Merlet (FabBrick) builds her success brick by brick

Three of us started in 2014, with the business model that industrial waste is a resource and that this resource costs us nothing. We draw a product from objects that already have a shape and we value the shape produced by the manufacturer! For Maximum, the benefit is threefold: design, economic and ecological. Our model makes it possible to remove material from skips on a large scale, without having to source or consume new material. They are then given a new life, at low cost to the consumer.

Initially, our apartments served as our office, before the town of Ivry-sur-Seine put an old workshop at our disposal. Already, we were reusing a space of 500 m2 ! We quickly learned the weight of logistics and handling and took off thanks to the Hopscotch group. In view of COP 21 (2015), the group placed an order with us for furniture, which quickly gave us credibility with manufacturers. We have produced 24 Gravêne armchairs (our best-seller) and a hundred Rotoman stools.

Basile De Gaulle, co-founder with Romée de la Bigne and Armand Bernoud of Maximum.

While Maximum reuses on a large scale, we are faced with an interesting paradox: aware, manufacturers produce less waste, which prevents us from producing more! Our model makes us highly dependent on the health and production of our suppliers. Today, we work with Airbus, Servachem for plastics or the barrel manufacturer O’bobois.

We are expanding our collections and these days we are going to deliver 250 pieces to Galeries Layette. Collaborate with architects – our first prescribers – hotels, head offices, real estate developers, to provide them with appropriate solutions. Open, also an antenna to make architecture: we will start with the old curved glasses of Beaubourg, particularly unique waste! Waste still has a bright future. »

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