Interview Sophie Chenél – CEO of Procédés Chénel, by Natalie Weinmann, Senior Consultant Lifestyle & Innovation for Carlin Creative Trend Bureau.
N.W: Can you present your company in a few lines?
S.C: Procédés Chénel International is above all a workshop at the service of designers but also an offer of customisable solutions in partitions, ceilings, lighting and paper furniture. We develop fire-resistant materials with French manufacturers and offer a whole range of papers that we can transform according to the projects of architects, decorators, scenographers and artists. We print, cut, glue, fold, crepe, shred…pack and display.
Laser Drop Ceiling, Interface Office, Paris – Procédés Chénel
Honeycomb ceiling and furniture, Cité de l’architecture – Procédés Chénel
Stripe drop ceiling, Qu4dran – Procédés Chénel
N.W: Carlin takes a CSR approach in its notebooks and brand accompaniments, what are your sustainable initiatives?
S.C: For many years we have been trying to minimize the means used in order to optimize their functional and aesthetic effect. This approach naturally led us to find a way to recycle our composite material, Drop Paper. We have set up Upcycling and virtuous chain initiatives by reselling our off-cuts for charity. Then we found a new material, Drop Cake.
Dropseat – Procédés Chénel
N.W: Can you tell us about this new product made from recycled material?
S.C: Drop Cake is a material that is the result of a recycling process for 100% of our production waste. We have found a factory that can shred our paper and add polyethylene waste that is also shredded by hot pressing this mixed waste to make a rigid sheet 2.50 m x 1 m wide and 8/9 mm thick.
Dropcake – Procédés Chénel
N.W: Do you plan a production / upgrading in Europe, see in France for this product and also for the other articles?
S.C: The factory that accompanies us is based in the Czech Republic. It is moreover because this country now belongs to Europe that this shredding process was made possible because before they would incinerate the waste to recover certain elements such as aluminum. So we have been producing these plates since January 2020.
N.W: What changes have you undertaken at the moment and which ones would you like to develop further?
S.C: First of all, we asked about twenty designers to test this material according to their project. We are also getting more equipment to enable us, among other things, to print it for recovery, but also to reduce the volume of waste before sending it to the factory. This equipment has also been made possible thanks to the help of BPI, which offers support to companies wishing to invest in this environmental direction.
Easy to assemble furniture in Dropcake – Procédés Chénel
Easy to assemble furniture in Dropcake – Procédés Chénel
Acoustic Drop Tiles – Design by Pierre Charrié / Inari Modular Stool – Design by Soizick Berthelot & Nicolas Profit
N.W: Are you planning to integrate a noise absorption function in some of your products?
S.C: Drop Cake offers this function. We are quite new to this. Successful players in this market may perhaps be interested in it and/or be inspired by our approaches to offer more sustainable solutions.
N.W: What changes do you see for the event industry?
S.C: We are currently witnessing a revolution in terms of work (home office, webinar, online meetings…). Events are already adopting these virtual presence techniques by creating meetings, conferences, exchange sessions when we can’t get together. This also leads to more interactivity and surely creates more emotion and surprise. Events will certainly be enriched by these constraints and technological discoveries.
N.W: You are particularly committed to schools, can you tell us about your initiatives?
S.C: Every year we organize a competition called School Paper by inviting a pair of students from each school to spend a day discovering our workshops. Then to come for a day to carry out their projects. A jury of professionals accompanies us to award them a prize at the end of this day. Each year we also solicit a sponsor, another company that joins us to complete the subject of the competition. In 2021 we will be associated with Jardins de Gally for the School Paper competition.
School Paper – Procédés Chénel
N.W: You have multiplied creative cooperation with designers. What were your most striking experiences?
S.C: Every day we receive designers who are our clients. Every day they delight us with their creativity. They seize our materials and use our workshop to combine their talent with our expertise. Some very beautiful innovations have resulted from this, such as our folded paper partition Pipe&Drop designed by Laurent Barnavon, gigantic light fixtures designed by Daniel Rubin, Stéphane Zalewski, Ralston&Bau, Patrick Nadau…
Luminaire – Design by Daniel Rubin
Boro – Design by Noé Duchauffour-Lawrance
Pipe & Drop partition – Design: Laurent Barnavon – Custom: Ralston Bau
S.C : and more recently the So Drop project where 20 designers used Drop Cake sheets! To discover in real or virtual easily at Procédés Chénel or on our website.
So Drop – Procédés Chénel
N.W: What are the upcoming projects at Procédés Chénel?
S.C: We hope that this unprecedented crisis will not last too long. The dramatically impacted events, as with every economic crisis, must find an implacable meaning, to strengthen themselves. It is through this circular economy, among other things, that we will be able to enhance the value of our creations and perpetuate our structures. We plan to take part in all the inspiring events to come, and to create some on our own scale, exhibitions, breakfast/workshops, contests… What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!
N.W: Thank you very much Sophie for this inspiring interview!
S.C: Thank you, Natalie !