Sustainable furniture, why is it important?

31/08/2020

Sustainable furniture, why is it important?

Sustainability is one of the main concerns facing businesses today. Environmental issues and the awareness of seeking practical solutions have brought new technologies and innovation into the picture to solve many of these situations. In the real estate world, sustainable architecture and biophilic design, for example, are some of these examples. However, we often overlook other types of proposals that can also be beneficial not only for the user, but also for the company. The reduction of harmful chemicals in many office furniture materials is perhaps one of the least known sustainability issues, although organisations such as the Center for Interactive Sustainability Research (CIRS) at Columbia University in Vancouver and the World Green Building Council (WGBC) have already warned that continued contact with these chemicals not only damages the environment, but also creates health problems for workers.

In recent years, several companies have launched sustainable furniture proposals on the market that are a very useful tool when it comes to providing comfort and convenience to workers, while at the same time helping to make office equipment productive and durable, which is attractive to companies.

Below, we show you some of these proposals:

Cardboard furniture: this material, which at first sight may seem to be not very resistant, is becoming a strong candidate to replace other less sustainable materials such as wood. Several studies and tests have shown that the durability and hardness of this material in construction and interior design is a great advantage, since it can create strong structures comparable to other more vigorous materials, with the ability to be much more ecological (provided it is combined with non-toxic adhesives), lightweight, economical and 100% recyclable, which extends the life of the material. The German interior designer Markus Benesch is one of the pioneers and maximum standard of this trend, thanks to the use of a varnish created from resins, Rapoxy, which applied to these surfaces manages to generate more resistance and durability; in fact, firms such as Campary, Samsung or Fiat already have several of their designs on stands and in offices.

3D printing: the appearance of 3D printers capable of reconfiguring materials and assembling structures at the same time has revolutionised the world of furniture design and offers more sustainable and faster alternatives. The Self-assembly Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) presented an experimental project that provided a solution to the three main problems of 3D printing: speed, scale and the properties of the materials, developing a new technology called fast liquid printing, which makes it possible to create large-sized products and customise them with high-quality materials at incredible speed, and even to build a chair in just 28 minutes.

Heat-reactive fibres: Celliant® is a fibre composed of natural heat-reactive minerals such as titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide and aluminium oxide, which is capable of improving blood circulation by 10%, allowing more oxygen to reach the organic tissue and regulating body temperature. When the organism receives more oxygen in the cells, the individual's energy is activated and attention and comfort are promoted. Although most of the time we don't think about the upholstery of a chair or sofa as a solution to sustainability and wellness problems, this product has been called by the FDA as a generator of generalised well-being for people who have to spend most of the day sitting at their computers or for patients in treatment areas for long periods of time.

In short, sustainability studies and new technologies do not cease to surprise us with new proposals that will undoubtedly change our work spaces, making them healthier and more comfortable for users.

More articles from Colonial