Five Stylish Designs That Say Sustainability Is Here to Stay

MILAN — With ecological transition policies sweeping design heartlands across the world, it’s no wonder sustainability is no longer just a buzzword in the design world. Low-impact, pure, recycled and reused materials have made their way into the most regarded showrooms and stores globally.

With upcycled and bio materials like FSC-certified timber and reusable plastic, creatives and engineers across the board are ushering in new standards for the home. Here, WWD examines some eco-conscious items with iconic design potential that were unfurled at both the 11th edition of 3daysofdesign in Copenhagen, which closed June 14, and ICFF in New York in May.

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String Furniture, Upcycling Old Icons

Shelving by String Furniture
Shelving by String Furniture

String Furniture is a Swedish company that launched its first String System in 1949 and now produces new design products in collaboration with contemporary Swedish designers. At 3daysofdesign in Copenhagen the brand made a splash with its unique storage systems. About 95 percent of String Furniture’s designs are made using renewable, recyclable or recycled materials and are meant to last the test of time. The company celebrated its 75th anniversary with reissues of old icons, like this one which is made of terra-cotta and cork and is available in a brownish off-white color and envisaged to channel the likes of Kiss, Abba and the Sex Pistols.

Marialaura Irvine for Mattiazzi

The Paf Paf by Marialaura Rossiello Irvine for Mattiazzi.
The Paf Paf by Marialaura Rossiello Irvine for Mattiazzi.

Marialaura Rossiello Irvine of Studio Irvine in Milan has designed for everyone — from penthouses to a broom and dustpan set for Muji and most recently a modular table for Mdf Italia. Known to experiment with eco materials like hemp and natural clay, she discovered the fun of using old feathers taken from duvets, jackets and pillows and turning them into a chair she calls the Paf Paf for Mattiazzi, which was unfurled in Copenhagen at 3daysofdesign. She said it’s the first chair made by the Udine, Italy-based firm with only with feathers without polyurethane.

Poppykalas’ Sustainable Rugs for Layered

Poppykalas unfurled the Magical Garden collection with Layered at Copenhagen’s Holbergsgade 16 venue. Poppykalas, also known as Thilde Maria Haukohl Kristensen, a floral designer and artist whose floral language has been used in special projects for Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Nike, came to the stage of 3daysofdesign with a new rug collection that translates her poetry into the world of interiors. All of Layered’s rugs are made of natural or recycled materials, and all of their viscose and Tencel rugs are made with certified Lenzing yarns made of cellulose. The new Magical Garden Collection is handwoven, made from Tencel and wool.

Rottet Collection’s Biophilic, Biomimic Scutoid Planters

Interior designer, furniture designer and art curator Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio said Biophilia continues to trend as the design world explores the innate desire for man to want to commune with nature. Biomimicry, the emulation of nature to solve complex design problems, is on the rise as well. As a result, she presented her own Scutoid Planters at ICFF, which were inspired by the scientific discovery that epithelial cells naturally curve to adopt very beautiful and complex, yet stable geometric shapes known as scutoids. The sleek solid stone creations are for both indoor and outdoors.

Arca’s Bended Wood

A shelf by Arca

One of the things that caught the eye of industry watchers at ICFF was the malleable nature of wood. Arca Ebenisterie, based in Bussy-Saint-Georges in the eastern suburbs of Paris, which once made the first wood Kelly bag with Hermès, is one of those firms pushing the envelope on wood’s potential. “It was really inventive as they had figured out a way for wood and natural elements to be elastic so it stretches and can go around corners and get sound coming through it. It was such an interesting technology with wood, which reinforces my design belief about taking a traditional material and using technology of today to create something new,” Rottet pointed out.

Overall, sustainable solutions abound, said Stefano Giussani, partner and chief operating officer of Lissoni Architecture. The New York-based architect and interior designer noticed a marked uptick in unexpected materials like paper for furnishings and discussions at fairs like ICFF centered around promoting local sourcing of materials for the sort design projects he has spearheaded worldwide.

“Reuse instead of rebuild, respecting resources as a source of inspiration….Instead of continued production and demolition of natural materials, we must reestablish and replenish them,” he reflected.

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