Innovative and sustainable use of material

Turning old into new: recycled furniture

The topic of sustainability influences almost all areas of our lives. Even in furniture production, the innovative and sustainable use of recycled materials has become indispensable. A distinction is made between furniture made from materials that have already been recycled and furniture that can be recycled at the end of its useful life.

Jun 01 2021

Adell by arper (Design: Lievore + Altherr Désile Park) 

Inspired by nature: the shape of the Adell armchairs is reminiscent of rounded pebbles; according to the manufacturer, the seating feeling is comparably comfortable as on moss. The versatile Adell collection is made of 80 percent recycled polypropylene and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The texture of the surface is also reminiscent of natural shapes. 

The concentric design is modelled on the annual rings of trees as well as stripes like those found on some shells. Lines with an irregular course structure the entire seat made of recycled polypropylene. There are versions with a textured surface, fully upholstered, with a simple seat cushion or removable cover for indoors and outdoors, as well as with different frames made of wood or metal.

Organically shaped

Borghi by antoniolupi (Design: Gumdesign) 

Synthetic resin capital on cork column: the free-standing washbasin Borghi is reminiscent of shapes and colours from Tuscany. It is made of two contrasting materials - recycled cork as the column-like base and recyclable Cristalmood for the transparent basin in natural shades of olive, blue or ochre. The recycled cork is available in a light and a darker shade. 

The elastic natural product is not affected by moisture, making it an unusual and suitable material for use in the bathroom. The resistant through-dyed synthetic resin Cristalmood is durable, sustainable and, like the recycled cork used, can be recycled. Read a detailed presentation of the material Chrystalmood here.

Essential by Auping (Design: Köhler Wilms GmbH, Irmy Wilms, Claudia Köhler) 

Fully recyclable bed: Essential is designed to be as sustainable as it is durable and stands on a slim, minimalist frame made of aluminium. This has a recycled content of up to 40 percent and can be fully recycled. The feet are made of 100 percent recycled aluminium and, like the bed frame, they can be coloured in many different shades. 

In addition, a powder coating surface finish makes the colour wear-resistant. Due to the modular construction of the Essential bed, all materials used can be easily separated: Feet and frame are assembled as individual parts made of aluminium, the headboard made of wood and plastic can be easily attached and removed again.

The modular

Meteo S by Kettal (Design: Konstantin Grcic) 

Modern sun protection made of sustainable materials: the square Meteo S parasol by Konstantin Grcic is made of 70 percent recycled aluminium and wood and is fully recyclable. Its clear, contemporary design is based on a manual system for easy opening and closing. 

The textile covering is available in several fabric qualities for efficient and long-lasting protection in a total of over 50 colour shades, the aluminium base is available in 30 colour shades. Meteo S measures 200 x 200 cm and belongs to a family of innovative parasols designed for use in urban environments, leisure facilities and private homes.

Tres Outdoor Black by nanimarquina (Design: Nani Marquina and Elisa Padrón) 

Carpets made from recycled PET fibres: Tres is part of a line of rugs designed to make being outdoors as comfortable as being indoors. The hard-wearing and easy-care outdoor rugs are made from fibres obtained by fully recycling used PET bottles. 

They match the Tres indoor line, with lively textures and slightly irregular colour gradients. Each rug is unique, handmade in flat weaving technique by experienced weavers. New in the range is Tres Outdoor Black in black, beige and grey tones.


Babila XL recycled grey by Pedrali (Design: Odo Fiaravanti) 

Recycled polypropylene for seat shells: To produce the chair, the Italian manufacturer Pedrali uses half plastic residues from industry and half waste from consumer goods such as plastic bottles or packaging. The shell chair gets its grey colour from the mixture of the recycled materials; in this case, grey stands for environmentally friendly. 

Like the other models in the Babila XL range, the recycled version fits into different environments, in the private dining room or kitchen as well as in the contract sector, for example in restaurants, cafés or canteens. The legs are optionally available in wood or tubular steel.

A grey seat shell made from plastic waste distinguishes the

Briccole Venezia table by Riva 1920 (Design: Matteo Thun) 

Oak posts with their own history: Briccole are posts made of oak wood that show boats the way in the Venice lagoon and indicate the water level. After ten to twenty years, they have to be replaced because weather, salt water and sea creatures take their toll on them over time. 

Designer Matteo Thun uses weathered wood for his Briccole Venezia table, which is eaten away by small elongated molluscs, the teredini, on the sides, giving each piece of furniture an individual touch. The top consists of non-glued briccola boards with natural edges.

Colourful sprinkles enliven the surfaces of the

Tip Ton RE by Vitra (Design: Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby) 

Recycled chair with two sitting positions: Tip Ton is a plastic chair made of recycled materials that can be tilted forward from its normal position. The forward-leaning sitting position straightens the pelvis and spine, improving blood circulation to the abdominal and back muscles. For stability, the reused material is reinforced with a small amount of glass fibre. 

The grey tone of the chair is a result of the colour of the recycled waste materials. On closer inspection, you can see tiny specks that make the surface appear alive. At the end of its product life, the chair itself can be 100 percent recycled again. The Tip Ton RE was also presented at the IMM TREND.BRIEFING on the "Natural Luxury" trend. 

In terms of a circular economy, it would be best not to have to remelt and reshape materials, but to break them down and be able to use them in a new context without damage. This is possible with some woods. Recycling plastics makes comparative sense if the newly created product can itself become a raw material again at the end of its life. 

Metals such as aluminium require a lot of energy for their production. Their reuse, on the other hand, is comparatively unproblematic. Depending on the constructive task, recycled materials have to be reinforced. It is good if these materials can also be recycled later without any problems. 

Find out more about the trend recycling furniture in the magazine by imm cologne

Author: Heike Edelmann 

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