Stephen Lacey looks at some great designs that are also kind to the planet.
October 28th, 2014
In the past, you had a choice between great design and environmentally friendly design; rarely did the two coincide. But nowadays thanks to technological advances, especially when it comes to recycling, a great design can also be a green choice.
We take a look at just some of the smartest planet-friendly products on the market today.
We’ve been following the career of Japanese designer Taku Kumazawa since he joined axona AICHI 17 years ago. And one of our favourite Kumazawa designs is his AFRDI and GECA Certified award-winning Tipo chair. Not only is it incredibly lightweight, comfortable and functional, it is made from 100 per cent recycled materials.
The Tipo frame is manufactured from the recycled plastic derived from defective automobile engine fans; items that in the past would have become landfill. And at the end of its life, all components are 100 per cent recyclable with simple disassembly into each material type.
Even the packaging for Tipo minimises the environmental footprint when transported around the world. The recycled/recyclable cardboard boxes are designed to hold an incredible 35 chairs. The same number of chairs can be stacked just 2 metres high, minimising storage space. Only Kumazawa – or perhaps an expert in origami – could arrive at such a clever, compact solution.
What Kumazawa demonstrates with a chair such as Tipo is that eco-friendly designer furniture need not be a compromise when it comes to performance. It’s little wonder it has become so popular with facility managers and OH&S personnel in offices, educational facilities, and ecclesiastical markets.
It’s a great thing that the world’s largest tile manufacturer has taken the lead when it comes to corporate responsibility and the environment. RAK Ceramics is committed to promoting sustainable developments through its huge range of products. RAK is an Environmental Management Systems certified organisation that supplies to more than 160 countries and boasts an annual production output of 117 million square metres of ceramic and porcelain tiles, 4.6 million pieces of bathware, and 24 million pieces of tableware.
The company is constantly upgrading its technology, including the installation of the latest Kerajet printing equipment which has the capabilities of producing natural stone designs and textures.
We are loving the very playful TAB occasional tables and stools by Sancal. Designed by Nadadora Studio in Spain, and GECA certified, the collection is inspired by trobos, a Spanish word that describes bee hives found in hollow logs on the northern Iberian Peninsula.
Flexibility is the key when it comes to TAB; bases and tops come in two sizes, and while the base is always a curved chestnut veneer, the tops are available in a wide range of lacquered colours.
Wall to Wall
There are few companies in the world more environmentally proactive than Milliken. In fact the US based company adopted its environmental policy way back in 1990, long before green became a buzz word and it now holds the coveted ISO 14001 certification – the highest global standard for environmental responsibility.
Milliken’s goal is the elimination, rather than the reduction if all solid waste, hazardous wastes and emissions. To date the company diverts 99% of all waste away from landfills and to places where it can be re-used or recycled. In addition, Milliken utilises alternative energy (such as methane sourced from local landfills) to power their manufacturing plants. It is little wonder the company has received the Malcom Baldridge Quality and TPM awards, as well as the European Quality Award, The British Quality Award, and the Canadian Quality Award.
The carpet manufacturing process used by Milliken features TractionBack®; a high-friction coating that eliminates adhesives and the need to prime or seal a floor prior to installation. This results in improved indoor air quality and reduces harmful VOCs and off-gassing.
Milliken’s Nordic Stories collection was developed by the company’s European design team and brings Scandinavian-influenced colour and texture to the floor.
The Fixate range features parallel rows of vivid colour, each trying to outrace the other. Varying width stripes introduce an organic quality to the classic precision of pinstripes while deeply saturated colours provide pure streaks of cheer. The feeling is dynamic, optimistic and fresh.
And Formwork offers an understated simplicity and texture in a sophisticated palette. The functional modular tile can be used as a modern, full-field solid, define circulation, or act as a transition between patterns.
The Melton Library and Learning Hub in Victoria, has become Australia’s first Green Star library, after being awarded the coveted 5-stars by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA)
Contributing to this remarkable achievement was the specification of carpet tiles by Shaw Contract Group. The design team from FrancisJones Morehan Thorp (fjmt) focused their energy on maximizing indoor environmental quality, ensuring that indoor pollutants were minimized for all materials selected, including plants, glues, sealants, vinyls and carpets.
To ensure that key sustainability characteristics of the project were delivered, the specification of the carpet was a primary concern and saw Shaw’s 18×36 Fade and Scale plank carpet tiles selected.
The 18×36 collection is Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Silver. It uses premium Eco Solution Q fibre and is 100 percent PVC and bitumen free, giving it a Green Building Council of Australia Green Star ‘Level A’ product rating.
According to fjmt the carpet also provided a positive aesthetic design outcome. Laid in half basket weave design the plank carpet tiles achieve a subtle gradient and movement working in harmony with the large sweeping curves of the upper level spaces and voids of the building.
The carpet design also assists with the directional flow of patrons and the inclusion of shards of colour reflect the vertical timber battening featured throughout the double height void space that forms the main spine of the library.
We’ve always loved the Silence collection from Bolon. There’s something about the contemporary designs and the way the colourways are put together that exudes Scandinavian sophistication. Now we have another reason to love Silence; the option of Impact Sound Insulation (ISI) to produce an even quieter tile, while maintaining durability and fire resistance.
Silence is also kind to the planet, adhering to the company’s strict A Future Without Footprints environmental policy. This policy covers seven key areas: Made in Sweden; phthalate free products; an onsite recycling plant; process monitoring to reduce wastage; geothermal cooling; and an advanced filter system to remove fumes.
Sometimes the most environmentally friendly choice you can make is to buy something built to last and with a timeless design. This means you won’t need to replace it every few years, therefore saving the energy required for disposal and recycling operations. All B & B Italia’s products are built to stand the test of time, and the new Husk sofa is certainly no exception. Design superstar Patricia Urquiola created the sofa to accompany the rest of the Husk range (armchairs and bed).
Borrowing from the traditional form of a top-stitched Chesterfield sofa, the Husk is composed of a series of structural cushions, not only in the seat but also in the back and armrests.
The sofa has only one depth (102cm) and two lengths (225cm and 261cm), which are differentiated by the single cushion in the shorter version or divided into two portions, for both the back and seat, in the longer version.
It has supports finished in copper or a bronzed nickel painted finish, with throw pillows to enhance comfort.
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