Deco meeting #23: Ekhi Busquet, creativity at the service of the common good
Ekhi (pronounced “EKI”) comes from the Basque coast, and has a first name that highlights his origins in the South-West of France . Ekhi is a designer and artistic director, she designs objects and scenographies that combine art, architecture and societal issues. These traits are the roots of his personality. Its objective is to link creativity and service.
She went to the Boule school which helped her determine her career and also trained her in drawing (a practice that is being lost) which brings today a singularity to its creations.
The Boulle school is a reference in the field of art and design in Europe. In fact, it was created in 1886. This is a public establishment that has survived both world wars. It is both a school of applied arts and a high school for crafts, interior architecture and design. Today it is located in the 12th arrondissement of Paris.
Ekhi has a Mediterranean Basin identity with a wide open horizon, a lot of stakes around light and earthy atmospheres.
For Ekhi, the word passion rhymes with the word work. Indeed, the creativity that she develops on a daily basis fully blossoms her. The great value advocated by Ekhi is creativity at the service of the common good. Indeed, it highlights objects that serve the general interest. It highlights social issues. This is not only about design, but also about warning messages.
A Profession Of Creativity And Rhythmic Service
During our discussion, Ekhi shared with us the realities of his job. She pointed out that there were commonalities between the product design profession and retail design because the methodology remains the same. The only thing that changes is the brands slider towards their commitments. In fact, in recent years companies have been more and more invested in the construction of their image. We can see that customers place more importance than before on the values of a company (even if this sometimes does not reflect reality).
For example, Made In France, which Quark also advocates, Ekhi advises certain companies that she accompanies in order to 'be in tune with the values they carry. In recent years, we have seen a questioning of the population in relation to their consumption in the face of climate issues. Made In France is back in fashion, Quark likes it and the planet likes it too. Remember that the short circuit is essential in order to improve our carbon impacts. In addition, French manufacturing ensures respect for working conditions for the people who worked on the product. Finally, buying Made In France is participating in the economy of your country.
First of all, every project for Ekhi starts with a question: “where do clients want to go? ”. Then, she analyzes the resonance between what the brand releases and what it wishes to express through the brief. In the event of inconsistency between the statements made and the reality of the company, Ekhi may refuse collaboration. So we can say that Ekhi is faithful to his values.
The best projects are born when there is an echo between the two parties. His commitment goes from the design to the commercialization of the product.
His daily work is punctuated by several stages:
- Hand drawings with black tips
- 200g glossy white paper that enhances his features
- His computer for 3D steps and illustrations
Ekhi is then helped by other talented profiles who complement her own on technical production monitoring and computer graphics. Indeed, she has a qualified entourage that she cannot do without.
A designer dedicated to creativity and service
The new commitments of brands in the face of climate change are for Ekhi a creative renewal. Above all, it is a challenge and an exciting new playground. New laws can sometimes make life harder for our designers. We need to set up new codes and address a new generation. It therefore links creativity and service.
This new generation, Ekhi is one of them. She believes that everyone, on our scale, can make a difference about global warming. Every little gesture matters. Today we must repair the mistakes of past generations by changing our consumption habits. You are also not being asked to become Vegan overnight. But in 2022 you have to at least sort your waste and pick up the paper you just dropped.
Ekhi is currently looking for projects with an increasingly strong impact. We can find his collaboration with the brand GWILEN. This is the most committed she has been able to do so far. Indeed, it is furniture made from marine sediments.
Collaboration Ekhi Busquet and Gwilen
"This coming day"
Ekhi loves to highlight projects that do not yet have media power and that could become the actors of tomorrow. For her, this is a way of giving a helping hand thanks to the name she has already made for herself in the industry.
Brands and the Ekhi "creativity and service" Mindset
The brands for which Ekhi works are known on different scales. These companies contact her in order to create a global identity of a strong brand. We must respond to environmental issues without ever setting aside the “beautiful”. This is what characterizes his profession. Ekhi manages to find the balance between the environmental impact of her work and the aesthetics she wants to give it. She must “find the balance” between creativity and service.
She responds to her client's request thanks to a creative methodology that remains close to mathematics. Indeed, let's crush prejudices, being a designer does not only require creativity. This is a job where you also have to know how to use your calculator.
Brands contact her directly. But sometimes, she takes the lead and comes into contact with brands that make her dream by linking creativity and service. Ekhi shared his interest in Maximum, an emblematic brand of the circular economy. They offer furniture made in France, quality, recycled and of course with affordable prices. Industrial waste represents 65,000 tonnes of material per day. She was attracted by the creativity of the company and its ability to develop furniture from surplus industrial waste. This is an ideal resource for our recycling geniuses. As the brand itself says: they create solutions from problems.
In addition, there are certain brands that are “historic” for her and that have accompanied her since the creation of her studio and with which she takes great pleasure in working.
The Hyphen Generation
What sets her apart from other designers is undoubtedly her environmental commitment made very early on during her studies. Indeed, anxiety about its future emerged during the Subprime crisis. This is justified, because living an economic crisis, while being a student, calls into question the prospects for the future. But unfortunately, our generation has experienced others (including an unprecedented health crisis) and will experience future ones. For Ekhi crises are not crises. We are in a circle where several problems accumulate to which we must provide solutions.
Ekhi makes sure to sign collaborations that are in line with its values of creativity and service. His first major collaboration was signed with Emmaüs. For Ekhi, there is a generation she dubs “the hyphen generation”. It must face up to environmental issues and must find solutions for cleaner production. This is a concern that only this generation takes seriously. Inevitably, this one wants to live as long as possible, and their descendants too.
The crucial point that will drive us for the next 10 years will be greenwashing.
Let's start with a definition of green materials: material of natural origin, available in large quantities, recyclable, modified with respect for humans, harmless , energy efficient and durable.
The “green-materials”, these materials announced as durable and without impact, necessarily require resources. Ekhi does not believe in the marketing speeches of these new products. For what ? According to her, this does not revolutionize the production model. We cannot content ourselves with taking a so-called “virtuous” material and then continue in parallel to conceptualize our objects as at the beginning of the century. We need to find a deeper paradigm shift.
For Ekhi “it is not healthy to produce paper objects in large quantities if in your use you think they are disposable”. This is really counterproductive and we need to address usage.
On the other hand, it is not because we produce plastic (even though we have entered an area where it is banned (according to her, wrongly) that we are not concerned about the 'environment.
A life cycle
You have to study a product throughout its life cycle. A 360° analysis will provide a better understanding of the production of the necessary resources, the recycling phases and then the treatment of waste. Because some “green materials” have no recycling solution in France. They are new and we do not yet know how to treat them. These materials will end up being buried underground, with all the negative impacts associated with soil pollution. We remind you that soil pollution will inevitably have an impact on humans. This disrupts plant metabolism and reduces crop yield. This makes crops unsafe for consumption.
For example: seaweed, when heated, turns into a kind of plastic. It will then take more than 80 years to decompose. We are therefore far from the organic behavior that is the strength of this material. This is for the moment, quite simply, a marketing argument.
We must raise awareness of the general public on this subject, by all getting involved in order to find solutions. Each effort multiplied by the number of Men would work miracles.
It is a reinvention of ways of thinking, consuming and desiring. So let's be inventive!
More Collective in Design
His biggest fear in his job is being serious. Indeed, the identity of the designer is sometimes more highlighted than the content.
Ekhi dreams of a more collective world of design, where actors would put their talent at the service of issues of general interest.
Indeed, their creativity can shed light on certain problems in society. In addition, the name of certain creators could be a significant lever. Or even their audience on social networks, as Ekhi uses it.
Ekhi is an invested subscriber on the profile of Usbek and Rica. It is a French quarterly magazine founded in 2010. They write about social issues, they explore the future. They talk about international issues that few media highlight. It is therefore a good way to keep up to date with the latest news.
She shared with us the account of her latest collaboration GWILEN. This name comes from the longest river in Brittany. But it is above all about Yann. Yann is an architect and engineer who has embarked on the development of a transformation process to produce his sediments. The objective is very clear: limit energy consumption during the transformation process. The first tests were carried out in 2016. 4 years later, Yann succeeded in creating his company. This year, it is launching a research and development program to develop new architectural applications.
In short: it is a natural process of formation of sedimentary rocks to solidify this natural waste. This project required high temperature firing. This saves energy compared to traditional processes.