USD

IconCaretDown
IconPerson2
IconFavorite
IconCart
IconHamburger
IconFavorite
IconCart
IconCaretDown

By Medium

USD

IconCaretDown

EN

IconCaretDown

Artzine

/

7 Designers Working in Sustainable Design


Featured Pieces

annie-table-sesame
Annie Table, Sesame by SMALLrevolution

7 Designers Working in Sustainable Design

by

7 Designers Working in Sustainable Design

Annie Table, Blue by SMALLREVOLUTION. Available on The Artling

In our modern world, many businesses are currently looking for ways to drastically reduce carbon emissions, protect the environment and keep the ecosystem in balance. In the world of design, many designers are coming up with ways to produce works that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.

In order to achieve these goals, designers endeavor to create a circular economy -- a regenerative system that many have adopted, when waste is minimised by using long-lasting design materials, or materials that can be reused or recycled. Making products that can last forever is not the only solution to protecting the environment, a circular economy will prevent products from ending up in the landfill, thus significantly reducing pressure on the environment. This is achieved by circulating resources to ensure that materials used in products can be used again in the future. 

Sustainable design is similar to a circular economy. It is when designers conservatively use resources, presuming that these resources are limited and should be preserved for the future generations to use as well. It is achieved when products reduce their use of responsibly-sourced materials. 

This week, the Artling had the wonderful opportunity to speak to  some leading designers across the globe about their journey with sustainability, why it has become an urgent issue and share some advice with designers looking to pursue sustainability in their works. 


 

SMALLrevolution

A mission driven company, determined to contribute to solving the problem of plastic wastage. SMALLrevolution works closely with waste managers, the plastic industry, companies and designers to create circular and sustainable solutions with recycled plastic waste, by giving plastic waste a new life.

Annie Table, Sesame by SMALLrevolutionIconLink
annie-table-sesame

Can you tell us more about how your company began?

SMALLrevolution began in late 2019 just a few months before the world was hit by the global pandemic. Our first intention was to create sustainable and circular products for outdoor use such as parks, playgrounds and public spaces. When Denmark - and the rest of the world - were locked down, we developed a webshop and tried to sell our two first products as interior products. And it went really well. Today, we are a design company focusing on pushing boundaries for circular production and design.  

What gave you the idea to be on a circular economy mission?

We are a company born out of the UN’s global goals. We have always thought of ourselves as a sustainable and circular company. 

Why did you decide to focus on using recyclable plastic in your works?

Very early in the design process developing the first products to public spaces, we came across plastic as a fantastic material for outdoor use. But we did not want to use virgin plastic. So we began researching the market and potential for recycled plastic. We were shocked to find out the amount of plastic waste being burned or put into landfill. And it was even more scary to learn how few products were produced in recycled plastic despite the materiale having huge recycled potential. Plastic can actually be recycled up to 7 times. In SMALLrevolution, we want to make true circular design solutions and contribute to the end of the production of virgin plastic.

Can you tell us how long the research process was in order for your company to reach where it is today?

During the first 6 months of SMALLrevolution, we toured around Denmark and visited waste managers and production facilities. It took almost six months to convince a production company to collaborate with us and produce in 100 pct. Recycled plastic.

What is some advice you would share with designers looking to pursue sustainability in their works?

The key to sustainable design and products are to bridge waste managers, production and design. Designers have to be very collaborative and multidisciplinary in the methodology when designing.


 

Tarkett

Tarkett’s approach to sustainability is woven into the fabric of how they do business. When it comes to people and the planet, they don’t consider one without thinking of the other.

Can you tell us more about how your company began?

Tarkett Group leadership is the result of 140 years of flooring experience, thanks to the talent, values and commitment of generations of entrepreneurs. Initially known as Sommer-Allibert, the company’s story begins with the ideas, energy and commitment of its founding entrepreneurs. 

Tarkett’s story began with 3 businesses behind the brand’s values and name: Tarkett based in Sweden, Sommer originally based in Mouzon, France and Allibert in Le Monastier (French Alps). The Sommer family set up its factory in Mouzon in 1880. In 1912 in the French Alps, Joseph Allibert founded his niche company, manufacturing insoles. Limhamn was set up in 1940 in Sweden which invented multilayer parquet and launched Tarkett, a new floor covering in vinyl in the 50’s. They started their first recycling initiative with vinyl in 1957. These 3 businesses have been the foundation for Tarkett, which has grown over the years.

 Today, Tarkett is a worldwide leader in innovative flooring and sports surface solutions, with net sales of €2.6 billion in 2020. Offering a wide range of products including vinyl, linoleum, rubber, carpet, wood, laminate, artificial turf and athletics tracks, the Group serves customers in over 100 countries across the globe. Tarkett has more than 12,000 employees and 33 industrial sites, and sells 1.3 million square metres of flooring every day, for hospitals, schools, housing, hotels, offices, stores and sports fields.

Macro Playroom, Image courtesy of Tarkett

Macro Residentail, Image courtesy of Tarkett

What gave you the idea to use recyclable materials in your products?

As Tarkett started their first recycling initiative in 1957, the idea of promoting circular materials has been in the company’s DNA for quite some time.

In addition, more than 10 years ago, Tarkett chose to follow a holistic perspective based on Cradle to Cradle® principles – assessing and selecting good materials, eco-designing products that are recyclable and effectively recycled, being good steward of resources in operation, shifting to more renewables energy use, and considering social equity in the value chain. Putting efforts on recyclability is part of this commitment to Cradle to Cradle® principles. It is also the most effective way to lower the carbon footprint of its products, and mitigate climate change while preserving natural resources.

Natural Bond, Image courtesy of Tarkett

Mezzo, Image courtesy of Tarkett

Can you tell us about your research process for your company to get to where it is today?

The company has been pioneering several innovations to drive forward the sustainability agenda. 

    - The company has been innovating to minimise the environmental footprint of materials through recycled or non fossil raw material.

Innovations in this respect include the Tarkett iQ Natural range, which is eco-designed to replace fossil-based raw materials by biomass under the mass balance principles.

Overall, throughout its lifecycle, iQ Natural’s carbon emissions are reduced by more than 60% compared to typical vinyl flooring. It has one of the lowest carbon footprint resilient flooring solutions on the market. Other examples include iD Revolution, which comprises of 83% recycled, mineral or bio-based materials and is 100% recyclable. Additionally, the AirMaster Gold carpet tiles have achieved Gold-level certification in line with the Cradle to Cradle® methodology and contain more than 60% recycled content. 

    - Another innovation is Tarkett’s ability to close the loop on the production of its flooring materials and recycle materials.

Recycling waste into valuable new materials emits less carbon than using energy-intensive processes to extract and transform virgin materials. It also places less of a burden on the world’s natural resources and, of course, avoids valuable waste heading to landfill or generating carbon emissions through incineration. 

Circularity is one of the cornerstones of forging a sustainably-focused enterprise, aligning with Tarkett’s central idea of using less virgin materials and letting no valuable resource go to waste. Merging the idea of sustainability and beauty, the Circular Selection was created to introduce Tarkett’s most sustainable flooring collections. Collections that are part of the Circular Selection are recyclable post-use, phthalate-free, good for people and planet - from iQ homogeneous vinyl to carpet tiles, linoleum and new printed vinyl materials such as Excellence Genius.

In 2020, Tarkett undertook research to better evaluate the contribution of its circular economy commitment to Scope 3 emissions reduction arising from the use of secondary raw materials instead of virgin raw materials. 127,000 tonnes of recycled materials used in production equates to ~253,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions avoided by not using virgin raw materials and sending waste to incineration.

What is some advice you would share with designers looking to pursue sustainability in their works?

Collaborating, looking for solutions with other industries and partners and be on the lookout for new innovations seems to be key to pursue sustainability in its work. It is also about having a holistic view of the sustainability challenges and what is at stake and understand well the overall impacts of what you do, including externalities.

Tarkett’s approach to sustainability is woven into the fabric of how the company does business. When it comes to people and the planet, the Group does not consider one without thinking of the other. Tarkett Human-Conscious Design™ is Tarkett’s pledge to stand with present and future generations. The Group commits every day to the design of great spaces.


 

Aurore Piette

Aurore proposes a sustainable vision of design by valuing discarded maritime sediments, self-proclaiming her practices through contemporary craft, passive - vegan design and wabi-sabi philosophy, the craftswoman of the sea aims to share a passive – respectful – transparent vision of what fabrication could be in a post-industrial area.

Aurore Piette, Image courtesy of Aurora Piette

Can you tell us how your journey as a designer began?

I’ve always been intrigued by how things are produced, on a creative approach but also on a natural perspective. Thus I started my studies in Science and Biology, however I wanted to be part of the process and made the choice to join design Parisian schools.

I believe that today I bound in my own practice Nature and Design in a common vision of creation, by proposing to establish my close environment as my main coworker.

What gave you the idea of using waste-based compounds as your medium?

On the French Atlantic coast, local sedimentary material is naturally created in the water and reaches the seashore through the tides. Currently that matter is collected and discharged offshore. Thus, as a Designer, I wanted to offer applications to that available and raw material. Inspired by Craft, I have been developing different techniques in order to propose complementary applications in Product Design and Architecture fields. This is how I have founded the Craftsmanship of the sea.

Can you tell us about the research process that you took for you to know what works and what would not?

In order to understand the ocean matter that I was working with, I have observed my close environment and I have been co-working with Engineers. Together, we have been testing the material and analyzed its composition. Then, I have met different kinds of Craftsmen in order to understand their approach, knowhow and techniques according to the material that they are working with: stone cutter, ceramist, glassblower.

Thus, I have defined my own knowledge and from the apprentice of the sea, I have become the Craftswoman of the sea.

Is there any other material that you would like to work with?

Currently I’m also using eroded mineral powder from the local cliff on the French Atlantic Coast. That material follows a passive way of extraction: the erosion of the ocean. Inspired by Ceramic Field, I propose to use that material as a finishing application to my ceramic pieces instead of chemical glaze. I find it very interesting to transpose one material or technique into another application field, this is how I define innovation.

What is some advice you would share with designers looking to pursue sustainability in their works?

I believe that Sustainability brings several notions together, around a common key value. Thus, defining sustainability in Design requires following personal beliefs first.

Then, as creative, we can implement sustainability in our works through different ways: choice of material, choice of technique, choice of communication, choice of message, target… Awareness and involvement are essential in contemporary Design and Craft, we have responsibilities as precursor of the production and consumption systems.


 

James Haywood

The concrete used in Jame’s products uses blast furnace slag, a by-product of the production of steel, he also uses recycled cotton for the cables and natural bamboo for the plugs and remotes.

James Haywood, Image courtesy of James Haywood

Can you tell us how your journey as a designer began?

As an aerospace engineer, I've designed furniture for myself for quite some time. I thoroughly enjoyed the process but I never stuck to anything long enough to be that impressed and naturally I never thought about it as a career. Then covid hit and gave me much more time to develop processes and get to a finished product. I started with lamps as it’s always good to nail one thing before moving to the next, and sure enough when I was happy with my products I started finding buyers. 

jeanne

What gave you the idea to be on a circular economy mission?

Waste is becoming the most plentiful resource on the planet and there are very few instances where raw materials can’t be replaced by waste. So to me, regardless of global warming and the loss of biodiversity, it makes sense to use it as fast as we are producing it. The idea of trying to give waste a better name was always a central motivation in my design process.

What gave you the idea of using blast-furnace slag as your concrete?

Traditional concrete is thought to be responsible for 8% of greenhouse gas emissions, mostly because of cement. That same concrete can actually be made stronger when just replacing 50% of that cement with fly ash, which is a by-product of steel factories. It sounds like an easy way of decreasing our footprint so I wanted to bring more attention to it.

berenice

Can you tell us a bit about your research process for you to get to where you are today?

I’ve always valued trial-and-error rather than looking at how things are currently being done. It avoids getting stuck with preconceived boundaries. The more you fail, the more you learn.

What is some advice you would share with designers looking to pursue sustainability in their works?

My best advice is to not look at how cheap something can be made, not even for comparison. Focus on quality and always think: will this still be valuable in 100 years or more.


 

Tacchini

Tacchini materials and semi-finished products come from a zone about 50km around the Tacchini plant, this allows direct control of their quality and enables the pollution and energy consumption to be reduced to a minimum. This special feature gives Tacchini a special name regarding the eco-sustainability of the future.

Mrs Giusi Tacchini, CEO of Tacchini Image Courtesy of Tacchini

Can you tell us more about how your company began?

In Italy, design companies bear the names of the families that founded the brands. We like to present Tacchini as a  family history. The company was created in 1967 by my father, Antonio Tacchini, when production was almost  entirely Italian, and the most poetic and soul-stirring passages in the story of design were written. Since we were  children, my brother Maurizio and I grew up in the company and we were lucky enough to see, touch and be  inspired by the beauty of the Italian design world. I remember that our father always tried to pass on to us the  importance of making objects that could tell a story and above all the value of Italian craftsmanship, which was our  strength at the beginning and continues to be so today. Naturally in time the children become the heirs, and the new  founders, in a rationale of continuous updating and redefinition of the underlying idea, and that is what is actually  handed down. Equally naturally, those who frequent the family become a part of it: team members, consultants,  suppliers, employees, workers and clients. The quality of the product is the result of a synergy between tradition,  technological innovation and imaginative design, and this synergy is created by the professionals involved at all levels  of production: from designers, to manufacturers, to management and the sales force.

Image Courtesy of Tacchini

Image Courtesy of Tacchini

Can you tell us more about your environmental policies and how it started?

Since its establishment, Tacchini has always been a supporter and example of the "zero miles" policy in the design  sector. All Tacchini products have been manufactured since 1967 in the green area of Brianza, between Milan and Como,  which has a strong Italian manufacturing and craft tradition. All materials and semi-finished products come from an  area of about 50 km around the Tacchini factory and this approach, in addition to allowing direct control on  quality, also ensures the limitation of pollution and energy consumption resulting from transport. Thanks to this  mindful operational approach, Tacchini is a leading brand and an example in the development of eco-sustainable  furniture. Design is a product and as in all products the origin of materials and production processes are influential.  The design industry has a complex supply chain, as it involves suppliers and materials of a different and distant  nature: joinery, upholstery, glazing, iron structural work and coatings must be controlled through guaranteed  processes in order to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste and create long-lasting  products thought to be owned forever, and not just as the response of an immediate trend.

Image Courtesy of Tacchini

Image Courtesy of Tacchini

Can you tell us about your research process for your company to get to where it is today? 

From 2012 Tacchini implemented a certified quality and environmental system according to the law UNI EN ISO  14001. Tacchini’s Quality Management System guarantees rigorous testing in every process’ step, staff involvement  at all levels, satisfaction and transparency with suppliers and customers. Tacchini’s products are created in  compliance with most recent and widespread International standards, in a safe and healthy work environment, using  Italian or European materials and patented technologies. Tacchini incorporates reusable, recyclable and renewable  materials in its furniture. For example, the Joaquim tables by Italian-Brazilian designer Giorgio Bonaguro are made  from recycled marble taken from the waste of other industries, while the Mantiqueira vases by designer Domingos  Totora are made using recycled cardboard, instilling them with all the authentic intensity of this material, which is  transformed and shaped into a new life. Tótora’s vases are the fruit of a certified, sustainable process, in which  recycled cardboard is reduced to a pulp, then worked and moulded by hand, giving shape to sculptural pieces that  are then dried in the sun, and subsequently finished. The artistic procedure is quite evocative, taking cardboard, a  derivative of wood, and transforming its appearance into something extremely similar to the very wood from which  it comes.

Image Courtesy of Tacchini

Image Courtesy of Tacchini

What is some advice you would share with designers looking to pursue sustainability in their  works? 

As a company and as producers, we have a responsibility to help raise awareness of a new ecological approach, to  promote the reuse of recycled materials, to spread knowledge about the infinite green possibilities we have at our  disposal, and above all to rethink the supply chain and production from a sustainable perspective. I like to think that  the image of quality and the language that have made our brand so popular are also the result of the deeper  concepts that underlie the management choices that we try to convey through our work. Undoubtedly, our company  has had and continues to have an advantage in this transformation thanks to the role of craftsmanship in our  production and product design but I firmly believe that a better future for us and the next generations is possible and  that design can also contribute to spreading environmental awareness and promoting the transformation of the craft  production chain in a sustainable way.


 

Von Morgen

Creative Head Markus Hofko whose background in graphic design provides him with the necessary visual sensibility to give an essence to the "thing" without resorting to ornamentation. His claim is to connect man and object. This succeeds through playful or practical incentives for interaction and offers a sustainable relationship between space, object and user.

Markus Hofko, Creative Head of Von Morgen, Image courtesy of Von Morgen

Can you tell us how your journey as a designer began?

I’ve been painting, drawing and crafting since childhood. So my professional path went along design school and led me to the field of advertising and graphic design. Along those years I taught myself more disciplines in the field of video making and set design. Through this work in the 3-dimensional physical space I learnt to appreciate the object itself and was interested in creating my own series. That’s how Von Morgen started.

What gave you the idea to have a sustainable relationship between your materials?

I’d generally advise any designer to consider sustainable materials in the first place. There are plenty of innovative alternatives to common sources out there, often these are more interesting too. Juxtapositions of traditional and unconventional materials offer a fresh approach to design and show that design and industry is an evolving process. We need to move forward and not stagnate.

rokki-black
rokki-white

What gave you the idea to mix wood and recycled plastic in your ROKKI collection?

ROKKI was originally designed with a concrete base. But it was not a sustainable process and result so we looked for an alternative which offered a similar look. These recycled plastic panels by various producers have a great quality and unique appearance. They are nice to work with and made the whole production process of ROKKI much more economical. Visually this also offered new possibilities and made us reconsider the overall look. Basically it’s the pure juxtaposition of raw materials now, which is honest in regards to the formal reduction of ROKKI.

Can you tell us a bit about your research process for you to get to where you are today?

As mentioned above, my professional way led to various developments and evolvements. Trial and error, experimentation and challenges are part of the game and keeps things interesting, at least for me. Of course this always brings a degree of risk, but as you know, otherwise no fun! And no fun means no innovation.

What is some advice you would share with designers looking to pursue sustainability in their works?

Sustainability should always be on the radar of designers, not only in terms of recycled materials or ecological processes in general, but also in terms of quality, usability and reasoning. The most “sustainable” product is not sustainable at all if it’s not long lasting, user unfriendly or simply unnecessary. Mindful design is still the key to good design


 

Tellurico

The centre of Tellurico’s practice is the investigation of alternative solutions through the study of folklore with the relationship between crafts and the environment. He focuses on what binds the objects of a place to the characteristics that intertwine the historical, geological and social aspects of humankind and the simplicity of everyday life.

Tellurico, photo by Chris Kontos for Kennedy Magazine

Can you tell us how your journey as a designer began?

I studied before in Napoli and then I got a master’s at Politecnico of Milano. From there I moved to the Netherlands to work for a design studio in Eindhoven and then I started a second master at the Design Academy of Eindhoven.

After that in 2017, I founded my own practice Tellurico.

Why did you choose to have the relationship between craft and the environment as the centre of your practice?

It has always been my interest to understand how we as human beings influenced the environment that surrounded us, so this became my main focus in my design practice. Studying the production process leads not only to the understanding of the process itself but also helps you comprehend the society which developed it, together with their history, tradition and folklore.

Eventually, this approach can be applied to endless communities so the field of investigation is always expanding.

s-side-table

Tell us about some of the materials you have chosen to work with.

In my projects, I usually have access to a wide variety of materials, so talking about all of them would be impossible. If I need to pick up one I would talk about Volcanic Porcelain which is a material I developed within my studio and it is a combination of lava and porcelain clay. This project came from the investigation of a very precise area in the South of Italy called Campi Flegrei. One of the peculiarities of the place is the fact that there are 24 craters and 200.000 people live on top of an active volcano. So starting from the analysis of the territory I develop the Volcanic Porcelain. 

However, the material itself is only one part of the project because the investigation is composed of many different aspects and media.

Can you tell us a bit about your research process for you to get to where you are today?

There is different research going on inside Tellurico. I am still working on the Telluride Project and in December I will present in Rome three new objects from this collection. This New collection came from a collaboration that started back in March 2021 between Contemporary Cluster (Italian Gallery) and Myself. Last month instead I won one of the prizes of the Officine Saffi Awards. The prize consist of the opportunity to develop further the Telluride 

investigation during a residency in Japan together with the ICAF SASAMA Ceramic Art Centre. In there I will experiment with local materials and craftsmanship.

3legs-stool
2legs-barstool

What is some advice you would share with designers looking to pursue sustainability in their works?

If you want to tackle the impact that the production process has on our planet, forget about the words: shape, colour, cool, hype, trend or fashion. Focus only on the production process analysing deeply and question them. 

Always. Only like that, you can arrive at a new sustainable solution for our planet.


 

If you care about sustainability and design, do check out our Sustainable Designs collection and Sustainable Artworks & Objects.


Related Articles

10 Creatives Making A Difference With Sustainable Art And Design


Artzine Categories

Art 101

Art 101
IconCaretDown
IconCaretDown

Back to Top


Loading...

IconAvailableOnAppStore

The Artling

Art Advisory

About Us

The Team

Careers

Contact Us

Press

Customer Care

FAQs

Return Policy

Terms of Use

Privacy Policy

Buy with Confidence

The Artling

IconCaretDown

Customer Care

IconCaretDown

Collections

IconCaretDown

Sell

IconCaretDown

Start Collecting

IconCaretDown
The Artling Logo

USD

IconCaretDown

EN

IconCaretDown