Furniture design

Experience the world’s first furniture made from fossil-free steel

During the last Stockholm Design Week, the Norwegian company Vestre introduced the Tellus bench, a creation by the Swedish designer Emma Olbers.

The innovative Tellus bench is crafted from SSAB’s pioneering 100% fossil-free steel, marking a significant step towards sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Named after the Latin word for planet earth, “Tellus,” the bench is designed to be a classic and welcoming addition to any space, inviting passersby to take a moment to relax, enjoy a coffee, or have a chat. With a design that considers the limits of our planet, it seamlessly integrates into both green parks and bustling city environments.

Tellus bench by Emma Olbers for Vestre
Tellus bench by Emma Olbers for Vestre

Vestre’s innovative decision to utilize SSAB’s fossil-free steel addresses the significant environmental footprint of conventional steel production, which depends heavily on burning coal and coke.

Steel is a prime target for reducing our climate impact. We strive to be recognized as the world’s most sustainable furniture company, leading the way in developing and transitioning to more sustainable materials and production methods. To achieve this, we must stand at the forefront of new technology. Early estimates indicate that a complete transition to fossil-free steel can reduce our total climate footprint by about 60 percent,” said Øyvind Bjørnstad, CSO at Vestre.

Tellus bench by Emma Olbers for Vestre

The global steel sector is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions, with steel production accounting for approximately 69 percent of Vestre‘s overall carbon footprint. By choosing SSAB‘s fossil-free steel, Vestre aims to set a precedent and encourage others to follow suit. This initiative aligns closely with Vestre’s belief that “Everyone can save the world. A little.” and is in harmony with Emma Olbers’ design ethos and SSAB’s ambitious vision for their new steel.

For me, it’s crucial that form and design align with the boundaries of the planet and the green transition. The main goal was to create a bench with minimal emissions. A public outdoor bench must be able to withstand heavy use, requiring a robust construction. We aimed to use a minimal amount of materials while retaining a sturdy structure. The Tellus bench exudes both a metallic and tactile feel yet maintains a welcoming expression. The broad armrests are visually inviting, offering a spot for a coffee cup,” said designer Emma Olbers.

Tellus bench by Emma Olbers for Vestre
Tellus bench by Emma Olbers for Vestre

Upon its debut, the Tellus bench quickly garnered widespread recognition within the design community, both in Scandinavia and around the globe. In honor of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden’s golden jubilee and his visit to Karlstad, Region Värmland presented the bench as a gift to the local inhabitants in September 2023. For Emma Olbers, who has consistently championed environmental sustainability in design, the enthusiastic reception of the bench and its underlying project has been particularly gratifying.

For Vestre, sustainability is ingrained in their DNA

Aligned with the Stockholm Furniture Fair, the Scandinavian Design Awards are held to honor outstanding achievements in design, architecture, and interior decorating across Scandinavia. This year, the esteemed ‘Furniture of the Year’ accolade has been bestowed upon the Ypsilon bench, a creation by Daniel Rybakken for Vestre.

Ypsilon bench by Daniel Rybakken for Vestre
Ypsilon bench by Daniel Rybakken for Vestre

Ypsilon stands out as an exemplar of architectural finesse, featuring a design that is both simple and exceptionally stable. Despite its compact visual footprint, it offers superior comfort. The bench’s design is subtly minimalist yet immediately identifiable by its angled, linear glulam beams, supported by precision-cut and bent sheets of galvanized steel. These angled beams are not just aesthetically pleasing; they serve multiple functional purposes. They ensure a comfortable seating experience and are strategically sloped to facilitate quick water runoff, preventing accumulation on the bench’s surface.


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