Nouvelle Vague

Tribune de Genève, Mardi 17 janvier 2023

Elle redéfinit la notion de déchet grâce au design.

x Samuel Golly / Large Network — (English version below)

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English version.

She redefines the notion of waste through design

Nina D’Elia, 33, is developing her startup Trashmanship. By creating and producing furniture and decorative accessories from Swiss waste, she wants to become the “Ikea of trash”.

According to the Federal Office for the Environment (Office federal de l’environnment OFEV ), a little over 3.6 million tons of waste were incinerated in 2019. To reduce this figure and develop a circular economy, the OFEV recommends designing objects whose production requires little material and energy, with the longest possible life span and which “can be repaired, reused or recycled easily”. That’s exactly what Nina D’Elia aims to do with Trashmanship.

“I want to offer individuals design pieces produced from local construction or demolition waste.”

Still incubating her project at Pulse Incubateur, she wants to sell her collection to the general public by September 2023.

The young Italian entrepreneur was born and raised in Mexico – where a first part of her career took place. After a bachelor’s degree in Monterrey, she founded  MELT studio in 2015, before becoming chief Architect for Novak Innovation. After an epiphany during a project with MELT, she decided to go back to school. In 2019, she will join the Master of Interior Architecture program at HEAD.

“A cheese shop had asked me to design its interior, but later the store went bankrupt. I then realized that the furniture and decoration – created specifically for this place – was unusable elsewhere and had to be destroyed. This launched my desire to develop circular and responsible design.”

Trashmanship was initially Nina’s master’s work, then, in March 2022, she joins Pulse Incubator, program which culminates next September.

For now, Trashmanship is largely self-funded, and its creator must continue to work 40% on the side. “By the end of my incubation time, I need to raise enough capital to start commercializing my pieces.” In November 2022, she finished second in the Nespresso StartCup Challenge, a success whichs guarantees her a large amount of materials from the brand’s communication campaigns and a potential lasting partnership. 

This month, she joins the Circular Economy Incubator in Geneva, an initiative which represents an investment of 15’000 francs in her startup. “I also organize creative workshops to raise awareness and change the way people look at waste.” She still has work ahead of her, Nina guarantees that “for Christmas 2023, we’ll be able to offer designer gifts signed by Trashmanship”!

On the web: 

Where to meet her:

Statue de l’Eveil: “Next to the Palais Eynard, there is a small park overlooking the Parc des Bastions. I often go there to recharge my batteries and contemplate the magnificent magnolia tree that is there. It is my favorite place in Geneva.”

Les Armures: “My favorite restaurant to eat a fondue. With no Wifi, and no network, I find myself alone, quietly facing my caquelon.”

Le Marche de Carouge: “Going shopping in old Carouge is always a real pleasure. Open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I go there as often as possible.”