MONOFERMENTS, the creative lab for circular materials

Founded by architects Elisa Evaso and Luca Guglieri in 2005, Monostudio Associati deals with interior design and human and nature-centered solutions. “Materials, circulation, shape, and colors of a place can dramatically change the perspective of a home or a working space.” – says Elisa and Luca. (cover image, Semplicemente Circolare, ph. Mario Teli, styling Elisabetta Bongiorni)

In 2020, the lockdown gave them the opportunity, like many others, to think about their work and what it was transmitting, both as professionals and as parents. The idea of increasingly focusing their practice on well-being and the growing urgency to design more sustainably led them to research innovative, natural, and circular materials for interior design: MONOFERMENTS was born. The intuition, later developed in a real laboratory, begins very simply: knocking on the doors of shops near home with a request, the delivery of rubbish and waste to create a palette of circular materials.

“On one balcony, we had eggshells from the fresh pasta shop across the street, coffee grounds kindly donated by our favorite coffee shop, and shells from the seafood restaurant around the corner. On the other balcony, the experiments of biomaterials drying out and sometimes moldering.” – Elisa and Luca.



The long period of study and experimentation in using waste as a resource has allowed them to broaden the studio’s skills towards consultancy for projects, materials and a new perspective: working in a regenerative way with a focus on interior finishes, decorations, and furnishings. Each project is tackled from scratch; there is no specific resource on which MONOFERMENTS work. Depending on the request, research is undertaken to find the “best” waste for their solution.

With this method, the studio has already contributed to the creation of many projects: the tiles made with marble scraps from the Mipa company as well as eggs and coffee supplied by the Michelin-starred restaurant “Osteria Francescana” or the “Semplicemente Circolare” material palette presented at Edit Napoli 2022 and at the Milan Design Week in April 2023.
On the occasion of the Venice Innovation Design event held in Venice last July, in collaboration with the company ACS Dobfar SpA, the world leader in the production of penicillins and cephalosporins, MONOFERMENTS presented research aimed at recovering and reusing byproducts – such as wastewater sludge and mycelium resulting from the production of antibiotics – as components for interior finishing products such as ceramics and glazes. Another project, in collaboration with Feudi di San Gregorio,  focuses on research related to the byproducts of the winemaking process at the Irpinian winery and the potential of grape stems, pomace, and grape seeds as circular and natural biomaterials. MONOFERMENTS has identified that thanks to the presence of lignin, pectin, and natural pigments, these byproducts have suitable chemical properties for the production of natural glazes, dyes, bioplastics, and ceramics. The studio is also present on the new and free Materials Design Map with two collections of Brutti ma Buoni tiles that recycle demolition waste and valuable materials from Monostudio Associati’s construction sites.

“When human needs take precedence over aesthetics, our work can have a truly profound impact.” – says architect Elisa Evaso – “The idea that drove us to embark on the path of the palette, in addition to a search for innovative, natural, and sustainable circular materials in everyday practice, was the desire to design new behaviors and promote the exchange of waste between nearby companies. An interior created with this palette should be beautiful and make those who inhabit it feel good, while also benefiting the planet. This palette will have the power of beauty and optimism.”

MONOFERMENTS is an invitation, an open call to companies to come forward and experiment with a more circular and local business perspective. Elisa and Luca’s approach is admirable, not only because it shows a new way of designing, halfway between craftsmanship and science, but also because it explores the many possibilities we have available, and sustainability becomes a creative resource. For more information on the studio and its creative laboratory, visit MONOFERMENTS and follow them on Instagram!


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