Furniture design

From kegs to furniture: socially meaningful circular design

Take Back-Give Back is Carlsberg Italia project to transform waste in urban wellbeing through collaborative design

The Carlsberg Italia’ s “Take Back-Give Back” project will be featured in the exhibition THIS IS DENMARK hosted at Alcova for the Milan Design Week 2023 

Carlsberg Italia’s “Take Back-Give Back” project was launched in October 2021 in Milan, in the Bovisa district. The aim was to give new life to waste material and to contribute to the social wellbeing of a Milan neighborhood, pragmatically involving citizens into defining which was the most needed and desired output.

Carlsberg Italia engaged in the collection of exhausted kegs, corresponding to 2.500 kg of plastic, for 30 selected customers. A collaborative design workshop involving citizens, students of the Milan Politecnico, the project’s curator Davide Crippa and the district municipality, transformed the plastic kegs into public space furniture.

Sedia - Carlsberg Italia _ Take Back-Give Back project _ This is Denmark _ Milan Design Week 2023
“Take Back-Give Back” project by Carlsberg Italia & Design Differente

A design-focused collaboration

The Take Back-Give Back project was born from the collaboration between Carlsberg Italia and Design Differente studio. The initial inspiration, however, may be reconducted to the Carlsberg Group, which in 2021 has launched the Ocean OC2 project, which resulted in a collection of garden furniture made out of exhausted DraughtMaster kegs by a Danish design company.

For its Milanese edition, Carlsberg decided to focus on more collective and local related themes. The social contribution in engaging with Milan and its communities was the aim of Carlsberg Italia’s Take Back-Give Back project. It allowed the brand to act concretely and make real changes in the lives of people. 

Involving local realities into the project was imperative. First of all Design Differente, a waste-originated materials fab-lab. The second player was “Republic of Design”, an association working on the regeneration of the Milanese suburbs with a permanent site in the Lancetti-Dergano-Bovisa area, the same district as  Politecnico of Design.

MG - Carlsberg Italia _ Take Back-Give Back project _ This is Denmark _ Milan Design Week 2023 (2)
“Take Back-Give Back” project by Carlsberg Italia & Design Differente

Other important actors took an active part in the project through their support, namely Legambiente, one of the main environmentalist organizations in Italy, the Municipality of Milan and the design students of the Politecnico were also a fundamental resource.

Circular economy involves technology

The recycling process was designed to result in rational and high quality production. After being recollected, the PET kegs were shredded by logistic partner Innovando and shipped to Design Differente fab-lab using a 100% electric van. Design Differente created a mixed material from PET, nylon and polypropylene composing the different parts of the kegs. The resulting bars were then used as industrial extrudes for the production of outdoor furniture.

The Take Back-Give Back project was born with the aim of centering on communities and sustainability starting from a resource generally considered as waste. For Carlsberg Italia is an important project, pairing with The DraughtMaster system, the most sustainable tapping technologies on the market. Sustainability and circular economy both play a fundamental role for Carlsberg Group

“Take Back-Give Back” project by Carlsberg Italia & Design Differente

No more new material packaging by 2030 

In 2022 the brand launched Together Towards Zero & Beyond, the new sustainability plan which includes 6 strategic pillars, including the “Zero Packaging Waste” goal. By 2030 the company will use 100% recyclable, reusable or renewable packaging.

The Carlsberg Italia Take Back-Give Back project plays a substantial role in all this, as shown by the analysis conducted by Fabio Iraldo, director of the PhD course in Innovation, Sustainability and Healthcare at Scuola Sant’Anna of Pisa. According to estimates the CO2 emissions of the final manufacturing phase of analogue outdoor furniture is reduced by more than 90%.

This is Denmark exhibition, staged at Alcova during the Milan Design Week 2023, wishes to offer an overview, through 15 selected objects, of how contemporary Danish creators and companies interpret today the key values coming from their national heritage.


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