Under the mantra Recycle, Reuse, Reclaim and Repurpose, here’s an outstanding bevy of eco-conscious materials and furnishings that will help conserve our planet’s limited resources and reduce waste. Come applaud our designers’ ingenious use of upcycled paper and sporting goods, marvel at the amazingly stylish furnishings from remanufactured plastics, and celebrate bespoke vegan leather made with the lowly bacteria!
Designed by Michael Neville, these earth-friendly rockers are made of post-consumer cardboard pulp and dyed with natural pigments from coffee bean and berries, while the handles are made from trees native to North America. Perfectly balanced once sat on, these rockers will provide plenty of entertainment for the little ones!
Argentinian architects Gabriel Pires Mateus and Maria Constanza Nuñez of Gruba specialize in creating sustainable furniture using salvaged materials. For their line Juegos de Encastre, Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and Medium Density fiberboard (MDF) are mixed with compacted sawdust and water-soluble glue for zero waste manufacture. The seating and table are slotted together like erector sets to create visual texture and also make it easy to disassemble once the furniture’s useful life is over.
This cool looking seat, called Ballboy Stool, is designed by Dublin-based Charles Furniture. It uses 117 reclaimed tennis balls arrayed in a slight curve to form a comfy cradle for the tush. A must for any avid tennis fan!
Dutch designer Dirk Vander Kooij leaned on his experience in 3D printing and carpentry to create this striking ‘Iced Bubbles and Oak’ book case for the London Design Fair.
Polycarbonate recycled from CDs and chocolate molds are used as raw material by his 3D printing robot to extrude filaments of molten plastic. During the printing process, the polycarbonate crystallizes into an intriguing wavy form, molding itself around the wooden shelves. The bubble shell, similar to the structure of a bird’s bones, is surprisingly strong despite its hollow construction!
Charlotte Kidger is on a mission to help reduce industrial waste. Her Industrial Craft collection of tables, stools and accessories are made of 70% polyurethane foam dust, a by-product of CNC fabrication, and a binder of 30% pigmented resin. The composite is cold cast into a mold and cured for 12-24 hrs. Once set, the material acquires wood-like attributes and can be cut, drilled or sanded as needed. The process inherently produces imperfections in each rendition, so no two pieces are identical!
Slovakian designer and material researcher, Zuzana Gombosva and veteran product designer Susmith Suseelan has teamed up to create a plant-based leather that not only looks and feels like the real deal, but is also eco-friendly. The dynamic duo have created a bacterial cellulose that they named Malai as a vegan solution to replace the polluting and resource intensive way of manufacturing cow hide. To make Malai, they sterilize the residual water from coconut processing and use it to cultivate bacteria for a couple weeks. The resulting jelly like layer is harvested, then mixed with natural fibers like banana, hemp, or teak leaves, natural resins, as well as gum, and refined to produce water resistant and pliable sheets. The material comes in a variety of distinctive textures and thicknesses, with finishes ranging from matte to high gloss.
As a testament to the broad appeal of the biocomposite, its applications have expanded from fashion into the furnishings industry. TON, the venerable Czech furniture company that has been manufacturing bent wood furniture since 1861, has upholstered its award-winning Leaf barstool in Malai for the Prague International Design Festival, Designblok Prague!