As we become increasingly more mindful of our planet's health and the negative environmental impact of our consumption, a shift towards sustainable production has filtered down to everything from our food, fashion, beauty products and also design.
Contemporary furniture design in particular is experiencing a surge in green innovation with design pieces that are not only stylish and functional, but also responsibly designed. Numerous designers and brands are combining eco-conscious technologies and materials, from up-cycling ocean plastic and post consumer waste, to 3D printing and using renewable resources, and embracing a circular economy as well as supply chain transparency and local, ethical sourcing.
Here's a roundup of green and eco-conscious furniture design (and more) from 8 contemporary designers and brands to keep you inspired.
"The first principle of thinking green is that green products and designs create a net gain, not just for the planet, but also for every person on this planet and us as an industry. This is not some kind of trade-off between social responsibility and commercial success. Green means BOTH, but not everybody understands that yet."
Designer Peter Danko
The Brazilian furniture designer Hugo França uses reclaimed pequi wood to create his one-of-a kind pieces. He utilises fallen and burnt tree trunks, and roots left from deforestation, and lets the organic forms of the tree remains dictate the design.
Lightweight and durable, these understated Jasper Morrison designed stools are responsibly made from renewable cork for Vitra. They also double as funky side tables, perfect for blooms and pot plants to green up your space.
This rocking chair designed by Peter Danko is made from 10% wood waste, sturdy and durable plybent wood, and webbing made from upcycled automobile seat belts. Danko's designs reflect an eco aesthetic, maximizing resources, upcycling materials, and inventing new techniques that emphasise waste reduction.
For his Endless series, which is now in the Design Museum of Gent and MoMA, New York, Dirk Vander Kooij programmed an existing robot arm to 3D-print furniture with a single, continual recycled plastic thread, thereby eliminating waste. The designer likes to work with recycled materials, such as plastic from old fridges or CD boxes, making the past visible, and giving new life to old materials.
Made in the UK from reclaimed and recycled fragments of ocean plastic, the appropriately named Flotsam bench takes its name from objects lost at sea. Cast as a singular piece by artisans in the UK, it is created from multicoloured ocean plastic fragments set within a black bio-resin. The black edition of the Flotsam bench was presented at the National Museum of Science & Technology in Milan during Fuorisalone 2019 as part of the Guiltless Plastic exhibition curated by Rossana Orlandi.
UK brand, Benchmark, has teamed up with American architect David Rockwell to create a sustainable furnishings and storage collection constructed entirely from natural and non-toxic materials. The brand has chain of custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). All of Benchmark's furniture can now be returned to the brand at the end of its useful life via the brand’s new Take Back Scheme. Once returned, this ensures the furniture can be refurbished, repurposed or donated to charitable enterprises.
European flooring manufacturer Tarkett is invested in cradle-to-cradle production, using off-cuts and used vinyl, linoleum and carpet flooring to be recycled back into its own products. Tarkett tries to mitigate the environmental impact of its production by limiting its use of water through closed-loop water systems and using green energy sources.
The renowned Brazilian designers, the Campana Brothers, deliver their flair for innovation and experimentation with the Sobreiro collection in which they sculpt with cork, a material that is one of the most sustainable materials to harvest and is completely recyclable. The collection has a modernist feel, proving aesthetics need not be sacrificed to sustainability, and each piece is made in a limited edition of only 150.