‘Devastated pine to eco-design’: Canadian co. Killwood

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If you’ve ever been to British Columbia, Canada, it’s easy to see how the place can be inspiring. For the duo behind Killwood, this inspiration came from a desire to tackle a local waste problem while making practical, well-designed products for their fellow urbanites.

“If you provide something that benefits an individual AND has sustainable qualities, they will become more green,” Killwood co-founder Gleb Vaguine sums up the benefit behind the brand’s ‘deadwood’ lifestyle goods.

“I thought, ‘what could be created out of this immensely sustainable and beautiful material to provide daily benefits to the individual, and as a result inspire them to be more sustainable?'”

Gleb and his Killwood business partner Pierre Lai take ‘deadwood’ from trees that have been infected by the mountain pine beetle, making use of a resource that otherwise releases stored CO2 into the atmosphere.

British Columbia’s forests are under attack by the mountain pine beetle,
turning trees into ‘deadwood’.
(Photo taken by yours truly during a hike just outside Vancouver)

“Each tree is essentially an idling car – there are 18 million hectares devastated that release CO2 equal to 3.7 million cars on the road per year,” Gleb says.

“We are trying to change the notion of the wood and show how it can be utilised in all industries. We are trying to inspire and motivate people to help reduce the amount of standing dead trees.”

Their products are inspired by Vancouver city-dwellers, as each solves a problem that reflects the city’s evolving lifestyle.

“Vancouver is drastically trending towards smaller living spaces and more sustainable means of transportation,” Gleb says.

Killwood’s BIKA bike rack, designed for Vancouver’s smaller living spaces.
Image via Killwood

“Vancouver actually surpassed Portland as the most biked city in North America, so the BIKA is designed with the increase in cycling culture in mind.”

Killwood’s BOTTO design combines this cycling trend with another movement sweeping the city – craft brewing.

“Some Vancouverites love to experience the 100 plus craft breweries British Columbia has to offer on their bikes,” Gleb explains.

“Craft breweries embrace sustainability, local engagement, and take serious eco-friendly initiatives in their operations. Craft beers are frequently sold in bombers and bottles without twist tops, so we thought why not create a minimal beer bottle opener that catches the bottle cap and gives the user some green cred.”

The BOTTO bottle opener that conveniently catches the cap!
Made locally using ‘deadwood’ in BC, Canada. Image via Killwood

My favourite has to be the PLANTA design – I love that it brings the outdoors in while keeping workspaces clear in our increasingly desk-bound, tech-driven lives.

“We thought, how awesome would it be to take dead wood and give it new life providing nature in your workspace?” Gleb says.

“Not only this, but since we are constantly using gadgets in our workspace, why not add functionality that makes it easier to live with your electronic devices.”

A workspace with PLANTA keeping the cords tidy.
A practical way to pretty-up a waste material! Image via Killwood
One thing all the products have in common is sustainability.

Killwood is a brand committed to doing things locally, to benefit locals and their surrounding environment.

“We’ve been approached by numerous investors that demanded we outsource to Asia to reduce manufacturing costs. We had to turn down every proposal, as it would never fit into our corporate values to outsource cheap labour and unsustainable manufacturing processes overseas,” Gleb says.

“We are a dedicated home-grown brand that wants to continue benefiting our fellow neighbours in BC.”

Keep an eye out as Gleb and Pierre continue to expand their product line this year. And if you’re lucky enough to be in Vancouver, check out the Killwood goods for yourself at their first retailer, The Basement.

Who wouldn’t want to show their bike off like this!
BIKA made using rescued deadwood. Image via Killwood