Deco meeting #16: Quark, an adventure of Makers in France

Rencontre Déco #16 : Quark, une aventure de Makers en France - Quark

Pierre-Axel (aka PAx) and Roman are the two co-founders of Quark . In this cross-interview, they open the doors to us of their company which is having its first year in May 2021. Between creative processes, inspirations and revelations, set foot in a Made in France company.

Roman Wisznia - Quark Workshop
Roman Wisznia: President of Quark

Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

Roman - My name is Roman, I am 32 years old, I am an engineer by training and I like to create, draw and dream.

PAx - Pierre-Axel, I am an entrepreneur. What I like is seeing projects born and successfully bringing them to fruition. Quark is a project that is close to my heart. It is in line with my values: local production, product design, mastery of production tools and e-commerce.

Roman - It's PAx who puts a little concrete into all this!

Pierre-Axel: co-founder of Quark
Pierre-Axel Izérable: co-founder of Quark

How did you meet and how did the idea for Quark come about?

Roman - We met during the Paris Fair in 2019.

Our paths then crossed a second time at 104 Factory . It is an incubator of the city of Paris within the Centquatre . We were incubated there at the same time, but for our previous companies. Then, we found ourselves in the Métropole 19 industrial hotel. This place aims to re-industrialize the city through crafts and new industries.

So we each had a company with very different projects. I worked on Nitsn and Pierre-Axel on his concrete enclosures. We had our stands face-to-face at the Paris fair, our offices face-to-face in the incubator and our workshops almost face-to-face in Métropole 19. At one point you say to yourself that destiny is trying to tell you something!

PAx - Then the first confinement arrived. It was at this moment that we wanted to join forces to create a common project.

For those who don't know what an incubator is, can you tell us more?

PAx - An incubator is a place that supports people who want to create a business. It is a place that brings together human resources in order to transform an idea and support it towards the launch of a business.

Where does the name Quark come from? Does it have a special meaning?

Novel - The quark is an elementary particle that constitutes matter . Molecules are made of atoms, which are themselves made of protons, neutrons and electrons. These particles are made up of even smaller particles: quarks. What are quarks made of? This is what we are going to see in this interview!

More seriously, we don't know exactly what quarks are made of. There is a theory that says they are composed of vibrating strings (string theory). Other theories say they are made up of packets of energy. In any case, we have energy! What you need to know is that the quark is the main building block that constitutes matter. It is from this idea that the name of our company comes. We like the idea of ​​building and deploying a world from a fundamental building block.

What are the Quark values?

PAx - Our fundamentals are found in the human adventure that we go through every day. Roman and I are both driven by the idea of ​​creating a local industry but this requires developing a profitable business despite the constraints of the city. A place like Métropole 19 gives us several inspiring examples of teams who succeed every day in bringing their ideas to life. I'm thinking in particular of K-Ryol and Fab-BRICK

Roman - It is important for us that this production tool is in our hands! We like to work with materials. We observe and understand how things happen. We have to tell the truth: we love tinkering! We therefore like having the toy in our hands . When the toy is in someone else's hands, we have less fun.

PAx - We want to create a unique relationship between our customers and our products. We master all stages of the value chain even if there is still a lot of work to simplify each stage and change scale. Then we work on product design, then on manufacturing processes and tools. We are developing our distribution channels and favoring direct relationships with our customers.

Then, we try to make our products accessible to as many people as possible. This has a strong impact in our eyes. If we manufacture inaccessible objects, the reality of local manufacturing loses its meaning.

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What fascinates you about manufacturing?

PAx - Roman arrived in my workshop telling me “we are going to create the Lego brick of the design”. I immediately thought it was a brilliant idea! Like many children, the world of Lego has been with me for a long time.

Imagine for a few moments: A standard object (like a Lego brick) allowing you to design the household objects needed on a daily basis. If this comes to fruition, you will radically change the way you appropriate your space.

The Lego brick allows access to all dreamlike universes because Legos offer a space for projecting your imagination. Our quest at Quark is to create a standard object capable of being the basis of all everyday furniture. Everyone would then be able to revisit their relationship with interior design.

Novel - We want to create the Minecraft of furniture . There is this ambitious but not unrealistic idea of ​​changing the world a little. Today, design and decoration are essentially about consuming. You will create when you choose what you consume. Once your pieces are there, you either decide to throw them away every 6 months and start again, or the inspiration and creation processes are over.

With this standard object of furniture , people could constantly create and adapt to the changing world. This idea of ​​offering something that inspires our customers to create something else is a virtuous loop . We create something that makes us happy. Then, customers will also be able to create and have fun.

When we reach the stage where we are no longer just selling a functional product, but a product used to create, then we start selling a tool.

What is your creative process at Quark? How do you two work?

Roman - We are carried by our inspirations, we allow ourselves a lot of freedom. For my part, I'm going to see something that will inspire me and when I arrive at the workshop I'm going to take 30 minutes to test a prototype. This could be dinosaurs, flower pots or recycling materials. We don't put barriers on ourselves when it comes to experimentation. There is obviously a guideline before a product arrives in the catalog.

PAx - I'm much less into the process of creating objects. I rely completely on Roman to develop this side of Quark. We are barely a year old (at the time of the interview), and our product catalog is already very large. I push Roman to find compromises to create products that are economically accessible to as many people as possible. We aim to provide the best possible quality in our range . This ambition requires a lot of rigor from us. Which requires a lot of energy and concentration with the whole team to stay on course and maintain this level of demands.

Quark Accessories - Wooden Letter - Red Heart

Last point on our creative process: the relationship with our clients. We collect all customer feedback and discuss it with Roman. Our basis is to offer products that meet customer needs. If an object does not find its use around any customer, then it has no meaning. Roman is also very sensitive about this subject. Which is pretty good 😄.

Roman - It's true that I tend to explore certain products that I like on a theoretical level. But sometimes they are of no use. Pierre-Axel quickly points this out to me. And he's right. There is what we like and there is the reality of an object: it must be functional.

PAx - Then there is an economic reality. A company must create value to cover its costs and finance its development. If we want to realize Quark's dream in design, then we have to accept that rigor we were talking about earlier. And maybe we will be lucky enough to see this elementary object born.

Comments collected by Clara Didier

Formatted by Coralie Mottu

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