MiNiMONO: upcycled furniture for playful families
For Berlin-based parents Julieta and Dirk, the pandemic provided an opportunity to take-stock of their family's waste, and how they each interact with the items in their home. The result of their musings is MiNiMONO: upcycled furniture for playful families that inspires creativity.
Tell us about MiNiMONO?
MiNiMONO furniture and objects are playful multipurpose pieces for families. They’re long-lasting, easy to clean and can be loved by both children and adults. We use circular design principles meaning everything is made from recycled materials. We up-cycle industrial HDPE plastic sheets into new objects for a new purpose and generation.
Who is behind the brand?
We are Dirk and Julieta, a multicultural couple living in Berlin with a teenager, a first grader and a little dog. Even though we (adults) are the ones in the studio and behind manufacturing we are ALL actually behind the MiNiMONO brand and concept.
When did MiNiMONO begin?
It started in 2020 during the first Covid19 lockdown. We were spending a lot of time at home and began observing how each family member used the different furniture pieces we had in our apartment. In October 2021, we launched our Kickstarter Campaign to finance the project.
What’s it like building a brand with family?
I guess it is not very different to doing other things with family... there is laughter, tears, a lot of talking, and also negotiating and sometimes fighting. There are moments when you are extremely proud and there are difficult bits too. But mostly, we feel confident and hopeful that we’re headed in the right direction.
Why did you start MiNiMONO?
We probably wouldn't have started it unless the pandemic happened. For us, that time was a period of reflection and re-orientation. Because we were all at home more than usual, we started noticing how much waste we produced as a family and learning what actually happens with it all. We carried this interest with sustainability into the brand.
Tell us about the sustainability values in MiNiMONO.
When we started MiNiMONO, we knew we wanted to use the principles of circular design. Our family firmly believes that the circular economy is the only way to provide long-term development and wellness that is sustainable.
For us, sustainability is a guide and an objective, so we are constantly working to come up with conscious solutions that unify design, manufacturing, logistics and use in the most sustainable way possible.
We are particularly proud of our end-of-life guarantee and hope that it can inspire other brands and designers to think about what happens to their products when they are not wanted or needed anymore.
What do you love about your brand?
We think that our brand is for everybody. It doesn't matter who you are, we believe that you can find a MiNiMONO that is useful for you. We love that our pieces are meant to last, and hope they get used in different ways, by different people, throughout their lifetime.
What do you find most challenging?
Being such a small team, we often get to the limits of our own knowledge and experience. Yet, we still need to find solutions. This can be challenging but it is always possible to learn new skills.
What has surprised you about doing this work?
We were most surprised by how complicated the topic of plastic recycling is.
What do people say about the things you make?
We like to hear nice things about our products, but we much prefer to see how people interact with them. A room filled with kids and a couple of MiNiMONOs is fun to watch for hours. :)
What’s your vision? What would you love to achieve with the brand?
We believe in the power of simple everyday objects, and we hope our brand will encourage positive consumer habits that inspires even the youngest users.