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Furniture design

5 sustainable alternatives to craft striking everyday objects

Weaving the organic together with a fresh perspective – design studios today are becoming increasingly conscious of how their creations impact the planet.

Considering how products can mitigate damage to the environment by using green processes, they have dived deep investigating the possibilities of transforming and translating the use of innovative materials into a wide range of sustainable objects

These designers have brilliantly crafted a stunning collection right from:

  • Theia and Studiopepe teaming up to create dreamy Mar Di wall tiles to Blå Station’s Plybord furniture
  • Willie Tay and Christophe Gaubert’s Aline outdoor chair
  • Mari Koppanen’s Fomes furniture
  • NomNom Studio’s Meta vases

Scroll to explore these further with us.

1. Mar Di wall tiles by StudioPepe for Theia

Inspired by the motion of the sea and its waves, Studiopepe designed the new Mar Di wall tiles collection for the Portuguese brand Theia.

Revolving around the theme of exploration “Mar Di pays tribute to the world’s seas” says Arianna Lella Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of Studiopepe.

The inspiration came from looking at a map and imagining distant lands. The starting point was our innate desire to travel” they add.

With formal abstraction in a sort of dreamlike journey, it’s available in four models in which each surface interacts differently with the light that hits them – Mar Di Flores, Mar Di Banda, Mar Di Giava and Mar Di Kava.

5 design studios _ sustainable alternatives _ craft _ everyday objects
Studiopepe Mar Di wall tiles collection for Portuguese brand Theia. Image credits: João Frazão 

Dynamic and colorful, bringing the material to life it further reinterprets the concept of surfaces – typically flat and characterized by more or less angular shapes with a decisive rhythm that adds to the collection’s personality.

With Portugal’s long tradition in artisanal production of ceramics, its influence on the development led to each tile being handcrafted out of earthenware – an eco-friendly material that is pressed, fired and painted using ancient techniques resulting in a product comprising unique textures and colors with subtle nuances. 

Each surface of these tiles interacts differently with the light that hits them. Image credits: João Frazão 

2. Plybord furniture by Blå Station

Showcasing the beauty of the plywood grain – Swedish brand Blå Station’s furniture collection Plybord features three versatile seating designs.

Usually not the first pick when it comes to the material of choice for furniture “I took up the challenge to turn plywood into objects of desire and experimented with different kinds of miter and joint, achieving a seamless expression without adding an internal support structure. Everything is possible with good craftsmanship” says Johan Lindau, CEO and design manager of Blå Station.

5 design studios _ sustainable alternatives _ craft _ everyday objects _ cover
Swedish brand Blå Station’s furniture collection Plybord. Image credits: Erik Karlsson

Used as a seat, stool or a table – a pigmented dye highlights the wood grain that gives this line a dynamic and vibrant expression making it stand out in its own right.

Easy to move around, when left alone it acts as an object of mimetic boxes reminiscent of cityscapes and becomes something both children and adults can play with.

This collection can be used as a seat, stool or a table. Image credits: Andrea Papini

3. Aline outdoor chair by Willie Tay and Christophe Gaubert

Envisioned to be the signature outdoor furniture for the first Net Zero Energy building at the School of Design and Environment of the National University of Singapore – the Aline chair by Willie Tay and Christophe Gaubert was designed for the building reflecting its green notions. 

5 design studios _ sustainable alternatives _ craft _ everyday objects
Aline chair by Willie Tay and Christophe Gaubert. Image credits: Poh Yun Ru

Comprising a standard diameter of aluminum tubes, this aesthetically pleasing sustainable chair with a low carbon footprint complements all environments it’s placed in.

With linear design details added to the various bending radiuses, it’s completed with a common metal welding process without any screw fixtures and additional assembly processes.

Lightweight and stackable for better management in spaces, it further comes in eye-catching colors and finishing that provides long-lasting weather resistance. 

Designed using aluminum – this chair has a low carbon footprint. Image credits: Chloe Chan

4. Fomes fungal furniture by Mari Koppanen

Finnish cross-disciplinary designer Mari Koppanen resurrected a suede-like material historically made in parts of central Romania from hoof fungus to upholster her collection Fomes  – consisting of a contemporary stool and matching bench.

I was inspired by the shape of tinder fungus which is a big, white and bulky polypore growing mainly on birch and beech trees and I wanted to experiment with it” says Mari Koppanen.

Mari Koppanen’s Fomes fungal furniture collection. Image credits: Jere Viinikainen 

Featuring two pieces of seating furniture with generous shapes imitating the characteristics of a polypore mushroom – it brings together wood, wool and fungus.

While the legs are upholstered in soft, naturally warm brown amadou, the seats are covered in a fluffy woven wool blend.

5 design studios _ sustainable alternatives _ craft _ everyday objects
The legs are upholstered in brown amadou and seats feature a woven wool blend. Image credits: Jere Viinikainen

5. Meta Vases by NomNom Studio

Handmade and one-of-a-kind – the Meta vase designed by Copenhagen-based design studio NomNom is an objet d’art inspired by the juxtaposition of opulence and industrialism.

During the beginning of the pandemic I felt restless and had the urge to create something. After weeks of research I finally had the perfect recipe on how to create a functional design of high quality. That’s how the Meta vase was born” says Michael Rygaard, founder of NomNom Studio.

5 design studios _ sustainable alternatives _ craft _ everyday objects
This collection is available in a wide range of sizes and color palettes. Image credits: NomNom Studio

Crafted from upcycled, artistically twisted plastic pipes coated in saturated paint – each vase comprises a smooth and translucent base made from epoxy resin combined with silver glitter. 

What attracted me to these materials was the sheer endless possibility of being able to create each shape and its color uniquely.”

Available in a mélange of sizes and hues, the color palette of the vases range from blue, pink and cream along with a new addition of the most beautiful spring color one could think of – light lavender.

5 design studios _ sustainable alternatives _ craft _ everyday objects
Crafted using upcycled, artistically twisted plastic pipes it’s further coated in saturated paint. Image credits: NomNom Studio 

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