Design Stories

Introducing Catifa Carta

15 April 2024
Introducing Catifa Carta

An interview with Roberto Monti, CEO of Arper, and Anders Breitholtz, CEO & Co-Founder of PaperShell.

What inspired the partnership between Arper and PaperShell?



RM: Our journey with PaperShell has been one of gradual evolution, marked by three significant phases. It all began in 2018 when we first encountered samples of this innovative material. This initial meeting planted the seed of possibility. Fast forward a couple of years, and we found ourselves reconnecting. We shared a desire to pioneer something meaningful for the planet, igniting a spark of collaboration and mutual respect. As our relationship deepened over the past year, we discovered a shared ethos and vision, cementing our partnership in purpose and inspiration. We trusted each other. 


AB: Absolutely. At PaperShell, we believe in the power of shared vision and action. After receiving many reports and being involved in many discussions on sustainability, I felt the need to seek tangible solutions. Arper echoed this sentiment, and together, we embarked on a journey of exploration and innovation. We recognized the importance of not just talking about sustainability, but actively embodying it. This alignment of values fueled our collaboration, pushing us to challenge each other and strive for meaningful change. To enact real transformation, it is all about transparency, vulnerability, and genuine collaboration.


RM: Indeed. Our partnership is built on a foundation of trust and transparency. We recognized that we don’t have all the answers, but we are determined to work together to find solutions and foster mutual respect. With PaperShell, it is more than just a business relationship—it is a true partnership grounded in a shared commitment to sustainability and progress.

Could you elaborate on the journey of creating PaperShell? What inspired its inception and how did you bring this innovative material to life?



AB: The genesis of PaperShell stems from a convergence of factors, primarily rooted in my background in material technology. There's a pressing need for viable alternatives in the sustainability landscape, yet the market offerings remain scarce. Fueled by a sense of urgency, I was determined to bridge this gap and introduce a truly sustainable material into the market.


The question became: how could we leverage abundant resources without further straining our ecosystems? I sought to harness the potential of cellulose fiber —a readily available resource with untapped potential. However, any solution had to also be commercially viable, capable of meeting industry standards for strength and durability. Collaborating closely with my co-founder, Mathieu Gustafsson, we conducted rigorous testing and experimentation, ultimately bringing PaperShell to life—a testament to the power of innovation and the boundless possibilities of sustainability.

What does sustainability mean to Arper, and what role does PaperShell play?



RM: Sustainability lies at the heart of Arper's vision for the future. We aspire to become a leading example of responsible business, acknowledging our own accountability in shaping a better world. For us, sustainability is a guiding principle driving everything that we do. As we move forward, we recognize the importance of collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Catifa Carta is not just a product; it is a symbol of our commitment to sustainability, connecting the past, present, and future.


AB: In my experience, sustainability often carries the misconception of added costs. However, when approached strategically, it can actually lead to cost reduction. It's about reshaping our perspective and understanding the true value proposition of sustainability. Instead of viewing it as a burden driven by fear or guilt, we must embrace it as a robust and innovative approach to shaping the future. By redefining beauty and challenging conventional norms, we can create products with enduring value, minimizing the need for constant material extraction. Catifa Carta embodies this ethos—it's not just about functionality but about enduring value and sustainability.


RM: Exactly. At Arper, we've always embraced a timeless approach to design, steering clear of fleeting trends. Catifa Carta represents a new chapter in our journey, sparking conversations and pushing boundaries. Even in the face of challenges and setbacks, the journey remains as intriguing as the destination. How far can we push the boundaries of sustainability? This is a question that drives us forward, igniting our passion for innovation and sustainability.

Let's discuss Arper's strategic approach known as the project of living. How does Catifa Carta and the collaboration with PaperShell align with this approach?



RM: Arper's evolution has been marked by various phases—from supplier to visionary designer and manufacturer. Throughout this journey, our focus has always been on understanding and empathizing with people's needs. The project of living embodies this ethos—it's not just about creating spaces and solutions but about enriching lives and meeting the needs of both people and the planet. It is a testament to our moral responsibility as a company—to create something more beautiful, meaningful, and sustainable. It's about empowering individuals to live better, more fulfilling lives while leaving a positive impact on the world. 


Beauty, for us, transcends mere aesthetics; it's about creating something that adds genuine value to people's lives and the world around us. Our collaboration with PaperShell and the creation of Catifa Carta exemplify this commitment to sustainability and empathy-driven design. By understanding the needs of both people and the planet, we aim to offer solutions that not only enhance the human experience but also contribute positively to the environment.

© Alberto Sinigaglia
© Alberto Sinigaglia

Looking ahead, how do you envision this collaboration impacting the future direction of Arper and PaperShell?



AB: From PaperShell's perspective, I see our collaboration as a catalyst for change—not just within our own company but across the whole industry. While one material alone cannot save the world, our partnership with Arper will hopefully open doors to new possibilities and inspire other companies to explore sustainable solutions. We aim to be a catalyst for a broader shift in how materials are perceived and utilized, sparking a re-evaluation of material functionality and sustainability.


RM: For Arper, this collaboration means more than just a partnership—it's an incentive for transformation, both external and internal. Working alongside PaperShell has encouraged us to challenge our established practices, embrace new perspectives and foster a culture of trust, innovation, and collaboration within our organization. As we seek to renew ourselves and adapt to changing times, partnerships like this are fundamental in driving our direction.


AB: Absolutely. It's not just about the end product; it's about the journey and the mindset shift it inspires. Our collaboration with Arper has the potential to inspire architects and designers in other realms, sparking creativity and innovation. By infusing a sense of fun and playfulness into our work, we aim to empower individuals to take charge and make a positive impact in their own spheres of influence.

What’s your vision for the future? What’s your dream for the future?



RM: For me, sustainability has always been a guiding principle—a moral compass that drives every aspect of my work. My dream is simple yet profound: to add value in everything I do, whether within Arper or in my community. I envision Arper as a leading example of responsible business, making a meaningful difference in the world. Growth, for us, isn't just about expanding our reach; it's about doing the right things that lead to positive change. My dream is to see PaperShell widely adopted, making a tangible difference, and for Arper to continue forging partnerships like this one to drive further innovation and impact.


AB: I share a similar perspective. There's a responsibility we all have—to make our time and efforts worthwhile, not just for ourselves but for our loved ones and communities. My dream is to inspire others, to inspire a shift across multiple industries. Together with Arper, we're planting seeds of innovation and hard work, with the potential for real change. By challenging conventions and breaking barriers, we aim to spark a contagious movement—one that redefines norms and drives positive transformation. I'm curious and excited to see where our collaboration takes us in the coming years, as we continue to challenge each other and push the boundaries of possibility.


RM: Absolutely. I believe that our collaboration with PaperShell is not just about two companies—it is about showing that even small entities can make a significant impact. To make a difference, you don’t necessarily have to be big – but you must have big dreams and a big vision. It's about the collective power of passion, innovation, and collaboration to drive positive change in the world.