Hello everyone. Following up on last week’s report about the London Design Festival where I talked about Joy by Seeds, my favourite exhibition overall, this time I will dive into the sustainability aspect of the event.
There were numerous ideas and projects on display, and here is a selection of my favourite ones. So let’s dive into it.
1. PoloPlaey by Plaey
The PoloPlaey is a multifunctional chair with reused seats.
Plaey Workshop is a design firm that produces affordable modular furniture pieces. The aim is to make these items more versatile and functional while keeping them simple, but also fun at the same time. So every piece explores different opportunities and use cases.
The Poloplaey chair is born from a collaboration between the firm and Loft Furniture. And here is where the sustainable purpose comes into play.
Loft produces the Polo seat designed by Robin Day, and as with every mass-produced item, some happen to come out of the factory with minor flaws that make them impossible to sell. So, instead of sending them to waste or recycling, Plaey implemented them in a modular and chair that is not just a versatile and fun object, but also saves materials and energy waste.
Applicata is another Danish company that gathers various talents to produce a collection of designers’ objects conceived as gifts for a special occasion.
Every object is made out of natural materials sustainably sourced in Scandinavia down to the gift boxes for the objects themselves. The wood used to craft part of these items is also certified for sustainability. The production itself is local and comes from family-owned Scandinavian workshops.
The conscious choice of local production methods ensures minimal waste and a lower carbon footprint since they avoid the transportation and processing of raw materials.
In terms of design, the different collections available include several objects that are either decorative or of common use, and they all share a minimal and clean design with essential colour palettes, often taking inspiration from the shape of nature to celebrate that link with it.
3. Verdigris Landscape, Formafantasma for Dzek
This collection called Verdigris Landscape for the Post Normal Domestic consisted of tiled furniture modules developed by the Italian Studio Formafantasma for the studio Dzek.
Dzek is located in London and creates “architectural products guided by nature”. Their very own mission is to develop and co-create collections with other designers and material scientists to obtain innovative pieces that look at design and architecture from a different perspective and use resources in a conservative manner.
The results are extremely varied. And this project with the Italian studio is an investigation on the interaction with our surrounding space through furniture that encourages sharing, with every piece being multi-functional and an invitation to interact while working, resting, standing, just leaning, or even sitting on it.
As for its sustainable aspect, Formafantasma obtained the glazing that took three years to develop from the very ashes of Mount Etna, the Sicilian Volcano. Both colours and shapes convey an almost vintage look that evokes an almost homely feeling while offering an innovative and flexible use.
I really enjoyed the warm and nostalgic colours of this exhibition, as well as the functional shapes and integration with nature. Also, being a Sicilian, I felt a deep connection with the material and was very happy to have the opportunity to touch (in London) something that was made out of my beloved Mount Etna’s ashes.
4. Dansk Wilton
Dansk Wilton is a Danish carpet manufacturer. The brand presented an innovative use of wool and waste materials through the creation of a range of interior pieces.
First of all, they removed the use of any kind of dyeing process, maintaining instead wool’s natural colour or using pre-dyed yarns. From the carpets’ wastes then they obtained a solid material that can be modelled in sheets with different use purposes. From acoustic panels to books covers, up to proper furniture pieces such as a coffee table.
About this new product called Colortec RE:THINK, Dansk Wilton CEO Søren Sonne said:
“Our sustainability strategy in Dansk Wilton is something that we work with every day. Our product launch proves that we take our environmental responsibility seriously and we want to support the hospitality industry in their focus on increased sustainability and resource management.”
5. Rafias Pri-Sim
Rafias PRI-SIM is a family business dedicated to the manufacturing of different fabrics of its own design from natural fabrics such as cotton, jute, and flax.
So the roots of this company go deep in their Spanish tradition for four generations, even though the company is now located in Argentina. Rafias Pri-Sim offers a variety of textiles destined to different customers, in terms of materials, colours, and design. To this end, they also bring a breath of diversity from the big world’s capitals of fashion such as Milan, and New York and from the University of Buenos Aires.
At London Design 2021 they brought some exclusive natural fabrics destined both to residential and commercial spaces, and for different uses such as wallcovering, bed-tops, furniture upholstery, lampshades, rugs, or cushions. Each material is also offered in different finishes hydro-repellent, fire-retardant, or stain-resistant.
A special mention goes to an exhibition I introduced last week from James Shaw for the Joy by Seeds display but that definitely deserves to be mentioned here as well. His pieces are all obtained by recycled plastics and modelled with self-developed extruding guns. The result is a playful mix of shapes and colours guided by sustainability and surprising shapes.
Here is my very own selection of 5 (6) sustainable materials and offerings at the London Design Festival 2021. An exciting opportunity to witness how common problems that we all share are tackled in different parts of the world, with innovative yet beautiful solutions.