Emeco brings its 111 Navy Chair, a collaboration with Coca-Cola, to Australia for the first time.
April 4th, 2011
4 years in the making, the 111 Navy Chair is a new twist on Emeco’s iconic original product.
Every chair is made of at least 111 recycled PET Coca-Cola bottles.
“What Coca-Cola and Emeco wanted to do was to try to see how we could ultimately help the environment,” said Gregg Buchbinder, head of Emeco.
Creating a chair with a single mould out of recycled materials proved arduous, the process taking 4 times longer than a chair made of virgin materials and requiring extensive computer simulation, testing, and investment.
“Recycled material is not as forgiving as virgin material,” Buchbinder explains.
“Virgin material is cheaper, melts at a lower temperature, flows through the mould quicker… we had to go through a number of iterations that no one has to do when they’re making plastic chairs.”
The end result is a timeless piece of craftsmanship that is about much more than just style.
“It’s about a lifecycle, about a material and how that’s used,” Buchbinder explains.
Although sustainability has always been part of Emeco’s philosophy, it was previous collaborator Philippe Starck who really sparked Buchbinder’s commitment to recycling.
“I credit him not just with his know-how and his design, but with his point of view,” Buchbinder says.
In the year 2000, he and Starck arrived at the Milan Furniture Fair in a truck with an Emeco Hudson chair and a sign reading the Starck-penned motto ‘Heritage Against Recycling’.
“I asked him what it meant and he said, ‘when you have a heritage of making something so well, you never have to recycle it’,” Buchbinder says.
“Looking through his lens, it made me realise – THAT is Emeco.”
Buchbinder hopes to recycle 5 million PET bottles this year as Emeco manufactures the 111 Navy Chair to increasing demand.
“What we’re doing now soon isn’t going to be optional. We’re running out of resources as a planet,” Buchbinder says.
“It’s the only way to do things.”
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