The circularity of the furniture industry

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We dive into the furniture industry’s practice of circularity and sustainability. What are some of the big brands doing to reduce their carbon footprint and be more conscious of the materials they use? Here’s a look at some key brands embracing this seismic shift in design and manufacturing processes. Additionally, the modern owner is becoming travel savvy and being part of the circular economy demonstrates their willingness to play a part in it.

Haworth Maari chairs in different leg bases. Image: Haworth.

“R” is the character to represent words such as recycle, repair, reuse and rework. The current situation in the furniture industry is to follow a sustainable path. Many brands are sitting to listen to the drastic changes in our climate. With raw materials extracted from Mother Earth, the furniture industry is also guilty of this. Some furniture brands have taken strong positions in the fight against climate change, forcing them to rethink their techniques and manufacturing processes that harm the environment. The sea change for many furniture companies to demonstrate their social and environmental awareness is becoming more and more evident, as consumers also want to play a role. Defining the objective of absolute circularity is now essential for certain brands. Trying to aim for carbon-free processes can be a difficult problem to solve, but it’s being pushed as brands take notice of other brands.

Haworth Maari Chair

Recycled and recyclable shell of the Haworth Maari chair. Image: Haworth.

Haworth is a brand changing the way it embraces and uses materials in the design of its chairs. For example, the Maari chair from Haworth was designed by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola. Created in 2019, its origin of materiality had to be rethought. So in 2021, Urquiola took up the challenge of revamping the material of the chair. They wanted to produce a 100% recycled and recyclable version of their original molded plastic variant. She dove deep into advanced materials research to understand the mission of circularity. The company has also committed to achieving 100% circularity by 2025.

In search of circularity

Working with the German company Bock, Urquiola was able to reprocess the waste and return it to the system through a recycling process. However, to achieve this, the process was far from simple as creating Maari’s one-piece shell while maintaining its essential characteristics of strength and elasticity was not easy. Nevertheless, the best solution has appeared. Industry figures in the chair shell recycling process were only 15% in the European market. In fall 2022, the chair will be available with a 100% recycled and recyclable shell.

Haworth Maari Chair

The design of the Maari chair has been improved in 2021 to be part of the circular economy. Image: Haworth.

Don’t waste, don’t want

Waste should be treated as a valuable resource or an opportunity to create new things. Unique to Maari’s new materiality is to go granular. Its upholstered version is upholstered in recyclable yarns such as Seaqual (10% marine plastic and 90% post-consumer PET from land-based sources) or Ocean fabric created entirely from recycled plastic derived from the ocean.

Transform the business

Moving to 100% circularity may not be an easy task, as the process of redesigning, reworking and reducing materials must be thorough and comprehensive. As more well-known brands enter the new circular economy paradigm shift, it is hoped that other brands will follow. While the furniture industry has had a bad reputation for having a high impact on the environment, the world is now more grateful that more and more brands are making it a real urgency to change for the better. With consumers desiring recyclable furniture, this drives the furniture industry to meet this demand.

Here are some top furniture brands embracing a circular economy in some of their products.

Emeco

Chair Emeco 1006 Navy

Emeco 1006 marine chair; the left one is made of aluminum while the right one is made of PET plastic bottles. Picture: Emeco.

The iconic chair of the American furniture brand Emeco is the 1006 Navy. The brand’s first chair was made for the US Navy, as its name attests. Derived from 100% recycled aluminium, it is infinitely recyclable and offers a lifetime guarantee. In fact, across the portfolio, Emeco ensures that 90% of its products are made from recycled materials. The company “strives to do more with less”. The brand believes that more waste or recyclable materials can be recovered. Being a “Carbon Neutral” or “Carbon Negative” brand is the way to go. Emeco believes the solution is to minimize the impact in the first place and avoid buying carbon offset credits afterwards. Its “cradle-to-gate” approach, from the creation of the product until it leaves the factory is one of the brand’s missions.

Emeco Navy Chair

Emeco 1006 Navy chair. Picture: Emeco.

Distributed by Spacefurniture.com.sg, Emeco is a recognized brand for its high quality products made from recycled materials and the discerning, modern buyer knows this. Derek Lim, Managing Director, quotes: “With many Emeco designs to choose from to suit any contemporary space, consumers know where their products are coming from. This is part of the brand’s conscious effort to take its first step into the circular economy.

Line Roset

Sofa Line Roset Ploum

Ligne Roset Ploum sofa designed by the Bouroullec brothers. Image: Ligne Roset.

Founded in 1860, the French furniture brand is a giant in the sector. Its approach to eco-design has been a mainstay of the company for many decades. The brand deploys strict environmental criteria when designing a product from its creation. The brand plans to use Original PESC wood – European wooden products where ash, oak, walnut and beech come from ecologically managed forests. Since the 1970s, the family business has always been sensitive to environmental issues and closely studies waste sorting and recovery systems in all areas in France.

Armchair module Ligne Roset Togo

Ligne Roset Togo armchair module designed by Michel Ducaroy. Image: Ligne Roset.

The brand even embraces a “clean manufacturing” process where toxic gases and waste from new furniture don’t seep into consumers’ homes. Ligne Roset also takes a serious stance on air pollution. For about a decade, their manufacturing process has used UV acrylic varnishes that are cured using UV lamps (which have no by-products). Ligne Roset is sold via Grafunkt.com in Singapore. As the exclusive distributor of this brand, Grafunkt sees consumers becoming more environmentally conscious in their purchases. Jef Kurniadidjaja, co-founder and director, explains: “Ligne Roset’s collection of iconic and timeless pieces is designed and built to last, not just a few years, but one generation after another. Its sustainable practices enhance and improve the quality of our lives. Our customers travel extensively and are savvy in their selection of durable furniture for their home. »

Andreu World

Chair Andreu World Nuez Lounge Organic

Andreu World Nuez Lounge Bio biodegradable and compostable chair designed by Patricia Urquiola. Image: Andreu World.

The biodegradable and compostable Nuez Lounge Bio chair is derived from thermo-polymer produced by living microorganisms and not from fossil fuels. The shell is made from 100% durable thermopolymer and is available in a range of four colours. The interior is lined with the new Circular ONE fabric made with plastics from PET bottles and textile waste. Even the foam is 100% recycled and 100% recyclable. Free of glue and other adhesives, the parts are removable for repairs and can be covered at any time.

Biodegradable chair Andreu World Nuez Lounge Bio

The Andreu World Nuez Lounge Bio biodegradable chair has no adhesives and can be taken apart at any time. Image: Andreu World.

The central ash wood base is harvested from 100% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified sources. The chair is stocked on xtra.com.sg and serves as the main distributor for this brand. When it comes to getting consumers to become smarter shoppers and agree to participate in the circular economy, Honmay Kwan, Director, Retail & Marketing, Xtra Singapore opines, “It’s great to see shoppers becoming more environmentally conscious and conscious to support brands like Andreu World in their sustainability efforts. With these increased efforts from our brand partners and buyer demand; it’s reassuring in the big picture for us to think about how we can do what we can to reduce waste and help the environment.

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