What’s the story behind your brand?
High Society was founded in 2015 in South-Tyrol out of the need for more conscious and biophilic design. Studies have revealed that we spend most of our time in enclosed buildings and very little time outside.
We used to spend a lot of time in direct contact with nature and this made us realize the importance of having objects that connect us to nature in our homes. Incorporating nature into home environments has been proven to reduce stress and increase well-being.
Surrounded by rivers and forests we were raised with an approach of caring and preserving nature. This attitude is very important at High Society and it’s the reason we use waste as a primary resource. Italy is renowned for its food but less so for its secondary resources such as byproducts of food production. Each year, tons of waste is produced which, to us, represents a resource that can be turned into something beautiful and useful.
Alongside sustainability, we care about social responsibility. With each lamp sold, we support initiatives against drug dependency in collaboration with the Institute for Addiction Prevention “Forum Prävention” in Bolzano, Italy.
We want to raise awareness by working with materials considered psychoactive. Hemp or wine for example. These materials are well-known to alter perceptions, in the same way, our work wants to change the awareness regarding natural materials. They can perform as well as their synthetic counterparts whilst establishing a genuine connection with nature.
What were the first steps in creating High Society?
We started out collecting leftovers from local hemp farmers and wineries. We experimented with the new materials and industrial processes.
In the first years, we spent a lot of time researching organic waste resources to create biomaterials. It took us around three years to optimize the material and get it market-ready. Once the material was ready, we started to search for industrial machines to create the lampshades. Soon after, we found partners and began getting in touch with people in the food industry.
Which piece stands out to you?
Our favorite piece is the hemp lampshade which is made from hemp production leftovers.
It is our favorite as we found it challenging and satisfying to achieve a marble-like texture.
There is also another piece made from hemp that we love but we could not put into production due to a lack of proper types of machinery. We are still working on it and hope to release in the coming years.
What inspires you?
The core inspiration is nature in all its forms but we find inspiration everywhere – from the environment and the people surrounding us.
How do you source your materials?
The Highlight Collection lampshades are made from industrial by-products coming from hemp, pomace (the pulpy residues of winery production) and tobacco leftovers.
We collect the leftovers directly from local biological wineries in South-Tyrol, whilst tobacco comes from farmers based in the Venetian region who cultivates it without harmful additives. Furthermore, we cultivate hemp to supply local wellness businesses with essential oils and use the leftovers to create the hemp lampshades.
How do you create your products?
We work using a low-temperature compression-molding machine. This process involves only renewable resources (hydropower for instance) and doesn‘t affect the environment. All the residues are chopped to obtain a powder-like material and mixed with a bio-based binder. The mixture is then placed into a mold, and compressed with high-pressure into the Highlight pendant shapes.