Image Credit: Adela Rex chairs courtesy Andreu World
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By Jesse Bratter
Where Does Europe Stand On The Environment?
Europe tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to so many things: A better work-life balance, longer holidays, and forward-thinking when it comes to fashion and design. But the health and wellness of the public and the planet is always at top of mind as well. Think more than 1,300 harmful chemicals banned from cosmetics versus the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s restricted list of 11. Or how 38 percent of Europe’s electricity is powered by renewable energy while America’s electricity generation comes in at 19.8 percent.
In fact, the 10 most green countries in the world are all located in Europe, according to an article in Forbes that notes the United States ranked No. 24 in research conducted by Yale and Columbia universities and published in the Environmental Performance Index. These top 10 green countries? Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Germany.
‘Made In Italy’ Takes Its Place In The Sustainable Spotlight
Italy is just ahead of the United States on the EPI scale, as well. And more and more Italian brands are working hard to ensure their products tread lightly on our planet and that their EPI score rises. Supersalone, the 2021 edition of Salone del Mobile hosted in Milan, gave visitors a taste of these efforts by not only launching new, sustainable furniture and lighting collections but also making Supersalone itself eco-conscious.
Curated by Stefano Boeri, all of the sets and common areas at the show were constructed using chipboard panels made from 100 percent recycled wood so they could be dismantled and recycled or reused. This points to circularity and keeps 553.5 metric tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere. And, in a move toward gender equality—No. 5 on the United Nations’ list of Sustainable Development Goals—Salone del Mobile named Maria Porro its first woman president. Coming from a long lineage of furniture aficionados—hers is the family behind Porro S.p.A., a nearly hundred-year-old furniture brand—Porro is perfectly poised to move “Made in Italy” forward. Images courtesy Supersalone
We gleaned inspiration from several Italian brands that are making sustainability a high priority, and we’re sharing them here in hopes they also inspire you.
Andreu World is committed to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. All of Andreu World’s products carry the International Ecodesign Certification (ISO 14006) and Level® Certification, and meet the criteria for Indoor Advantage Gold. These, and others, guarantee transparency at every level of the manufacturing process, ensure minimal environmental impact as a result of the production of their products, and support healthy indoor air quality. Images courtesy Andreu World
Nuez Lounge BIO by Patricia Urquiola
Pretty much anything Urquiola touches turns into gold. But in this case, it’s extra valuable. A stylish feat of sustainability, the Nuez Lounge BIO (shown above right and below) is crafted from a non-fossil, natural-origin thermopolymer generated by living microorganisms that give the chair biodegradable and compostable qualities. Plus, it’s 100% recyclable, including its aluminum and FSC-certified ash wood base.
The chair can be upholstered in fabrics from the Circular One Pure Eco textile collection—made from recycled polyester (PET) using water bottles and plastic packaging. The corrugated shell comes in four colorways: sand, basalt gray, terracotta brown and black, ensuring you can stay chic while going green.
Adela Rex by Philippe Starck
Starck is another midas touch designer. The shapely Adela Rex chair (shown above left) proves this, with its interlocking oak or walnut plywood made using slow-growing FSC-certified wood harvested from reforested forests on the company’s own land. Designed with circularity in mind, the chairs are manufactured with a minimal carbon footprint and can be recycled at the end of their life.
Gessi wants to be synonymous with sustainability. After all, its tagline is Design for Nature. From the time of production to its use by the consumer and beyond, Gessi has taken into account the ecological and social footprint of its products. With an eye toward optimizing energy and water use (think flow-reducing cartridges), eliminating pollution, and preventing harmful substances from being released into your water, Gessi has been green for quite some time. For their efforts, the brand has earned the UNI EN ISO 14001 environmental certification.
Thanks to four acres of photovoltaics, the brand’s manufacturing facility uses clean energy in its production process—that’s zero fossil fuels and no emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This is joined by wind, hydroelectric, and thermal renewable energy sources. Gessi also developed a closed-circuit wastewater treatment plant that allows most of its water to be recycled, whether it’s groundwater reused for irrigation or manufacturing-process water that gets collected, purified and recycled.
Not to mention the Gessi Park is blanketed by natural materials like stone and wood. This family-owned brand offers tours of its park so that consumers can get a better understanding of how their products are made. Image courtesy Gessi
Hi-Fi Eclectic Thermostatic Controls
In Gessi’s commitment to Private Wellness, they’ve elaborated on their Hi-Fi series with Hi-Fi Eclectic—a collection of water flow and temperature controls that pay homage to old high fidelity stereo systems. Offered with more traditional levers or on forward-thinking shelves, the thermostatic controls range in aesthetic from retro to modern and classic to meld with any interior.
With an eye toward respecting the environment, Molteni&C has adapted certain practices to ensure their manufacturing process and products have minimal impact on the earth. Recyclable materials like glass and stone, healthy work environments, water-based paints, FSC-certified wood and veneers, and using leftover wood particles to create energy and clean heat. Three of the brand’s sites are equipped with photovoltaic systems. And, the company is moving toward eliminating all packaging derived from petrochemicals such as plastic and polystyrene.
In an effort to become even more sustainable, Molteni&C has created an eco-friendly textile for its Vincent Van Duysen-designed Paul sofa, made using 100 percent recycled and biodegradable polyester. And, in collaboration with Kvadrat, Molteni&C also offers Reflect, a textile designed by Patricia Urquiola using 100% recycled yarn from PET bottles. Images courtesy Molteni&C
Round D.154.5 Armchair
Molteni&C’s installation at Supersalone was designed by Ron Gilad to mimic a luxury airliner and featured the Round D.154.5 armchair. (It was originally designed by Gio Ponti in 1954 and reissued by Molteni&C in collaboration with the Gio Ponti Archives). We love it for its sleek profile and material mix, its respect for its design origins, and its at-once plush yet firm seat and back. Chic has never been so comfortable.
All along the design and production route, from concept to completion, Nanimarquina considers not only the environment and the people who end up living with their rugs but also the people who make their rugs. Through its Kala collection, the brand contributes to Care & Fair to help ensure the children of their artisan weavers in India, Pakistan and Nepal have access to education.
Nanimarquina uses the biodegradable and chemical-free products Eco-sheen and Jutex in their cleaning process, which helps to reduce water waste by 70 percent and keeps pollution out of the groundwater. Today, they use 100% recycled PET in their outdoor rugs. But the brand’s inventive use of sustainable materials dates back to 2005, when they designed the conceptual rug Bicicleta, crafted from 100 percent recycled rubber tires. Photo by Albert Font
Nanimarquina’s Tres Collection comprises traditional Indian flat-weave Dhurrie rugs that honor the ancient craft of weaving. The indoor versions are made from wool, felt and cotton. But the outdoor rugs use recycled PET fibers, which reduce their impact on the environment and energy consumption during the manufacturing process.
Nanimarquina’s Formula Contract collection introduces the same sustainably minded philosophies as their residential rugs. Whether you’re looking for hand-loomed rugs, hand-tufted, dhurries, braided sumaks, or kilims, you can add guilt-free texture and softness underfoot to your office or commercial space.
Committed to responsible design, Magis creates long-lasting products in an effort to combat the throwaway culture. In a quest for alternatives to plastics—and reducing its impact on the environment—the brand experiments with more eco-friendly choices like jute, hemp, and biodegradable plastics, and has received GREENGUARD Gold certification for several of its products. Using suppliers in Italy, Magis is able to keep its production footprint small and give back to its community.
Designed by Jasper Morrison, the Air_Armchair (shown below left) is a stackable, air-moulded chair that comes in matte beige, white, orange, and grey anthracite. It’s a modern addition to any indoor or outdoor setting. But the best part? It’s obtained the GREENGUARD Gold certification, so you can sit soundly while sitting pretty. The chair is crafted from polypropylene and glass fiber; while less optimal than natural materials due to containing petroleum, polypropylene is considered a good nontoxic choice.
Designed by Konstantin Grcic, the Chair_One (shown below right) is a geometric beauty that has also been awarded GREENGUARD Gold certification. Its shape was inspired by the way a football is constructed, with each of its flat planes coming together at various angles to form one object. The chair is made using die-cast aluminum, one of the most recycled and recyclable materials; its powder coating provides more durability and emits less VOCs than traditional paint.