Sustainability is one of the central themes in the world of design. Climate change and high levels of pollution make it necessary to change course away from our usual way of producing and consuming.
This is confirmed by all the latest trade fairs and Design Week. From Milan to London, from Eindhoven to Stockholm, more and more products are being designed with a green perspective in mind.
What does sustainable thinking mean? There’s no one single answer. The subject is complex, so we will devote a number of in-depth studies to it. In this first article, however, we have decided to focus on natural materials: from wood to cork, from Viennese cane to rattan, nature and its materials are back to playing a starring role in furniture design.
Here’s a brief overview.
Natural and ecological materials
Wood. One of the first natural materials that comes to mind when talking about sustainable design. Always beloved in the world of furniture, wood is a natural and recyclable material that gives rooms a unique warmth. Vibrant and rich in chromatic nuances, it changes its appearance over the years and can be restored if it becomes damaged. It’s impossible not to love this long-lasting material.
One caveat: make sure it comes from responsibly managed forests.
Another natural material that is experiencing great success in design is cork. Ecological, renewable and 100% recyclable, cork has many other qualities that make it unique. It is very lightweight and easy to work with. It is waterproof. It has thermal and acoustic insulation properties.
In short, cork is a material with super powers, and is increasingly used by today’s furniture designers.
Woven natural fibers
Rattan, wicker, Viennese cane. Woven fibers are one of the latest trends. We need look no further than Pinterest and Instagram, where images of woven furniture fill the feeds every day. And all the latest trade fairs agree.
These natural and sustainable materials, however, are nothing new. Weaving is a processing technique that has roots as far back in Ancient Egypt, and was very popular during the colonial period.
Today the woven fibers are reinterpreted in a contemporary key, gracing not only furniture but also accessories and accent pieces.