In October 2020, on the remote island of Lesvos in Greece, in the most mountainous village of the island, an idea was born for a new ecological material, called “koukoutsi”.

Christos Ververis -product designer and Irene Moutsogiannis -marketing consultant created a new material using the basic raw material of the island. They took what was left after the final squeezing of the olive kernel, known to all of us as a pip, and turned it into a material that can be used for furniture, tiles, benches, large surfaces, and useful objects. Thus, they managed to give value to what could be called “bio-waste” of the oil production process, extending the life cycle of the pip, and incorporating the “moto” of sustainability which is nothing more than “zero waste”.

This new material from the olive kernel was associated with the revival of a traditional bench (seating bench) and thus created a piece of furniture with a traditional design and innovative ecological material. Hence, Lesvos Bench is a revival of a traditional bench encountered in remote picturesque churches and old traditional coffee shops. A small piece of furniture, a part of everyday life in the island, so simple yet so essential. This new revived bench is designed with elements inspired from the past, enhanced with new features, and also using the new material from the olive pip thus carrying the trend of the new era in design. The material comes in two different shades, olive’s blonde pip and olive’s dark core, giving two colour options. Koukos de lab has experimented in creating sample tiles from the new material in order to elaborate its aesthetics, its use, and its durability. In the recent future, the traditional bench will also be partially made with this new material.

Our material has a story to tell, it reflects our thoughts, our origin, our roots, and our aspiration for a better future. Christos Ververis and Irene Moutsoyiannis, two individuals from different academic backgrounds sharing the same origin yet with so different work paths succeeded in sharing a vision, through design and the need to take it to the next step. They took a lip of faith, they orientated in the current situation, they flied away with their vision of an evolving design world and finally they eco nestled with the “koukoutsi eco-material” that combines the story of their land and the need of the global community for a holistic design approach. In the era when everything is under doubt and re-evaluation a message of certainty is transmitted from a remote dot of the Greek map to the entire world, extremely remote yet so powerful.

Images © Mike Aikaterinis

Location: Kaptajnens Hus, Plomari