How can furniture made with plastic components become a more sustainable product? What do product designers and developers need to know when swapping virgin materials for recycled equivalents? And what are the challenges for a business to become holistically sustainable? These were just some of the questions we discussed with our guests from Muuto during the May edition of our Breakfast Insights, kicking off the second day of Clerkenwell Design Week 2022.
New perspectives, new materials, new research
Our monthly morning event for London’s A&D community returned this month in the refreshed Muuto showroom right next to the festivals event hub on St John’s Square. To mark the release of the updated Fiber Conference chair – the shell of its seat is now made from 99 per cent recycled plastic – we talked to Anders Cleeman, CEO, Trine Mulvad Steffensen, CSR Manager, and Silke Foged, Design Manager, of Muuto.
Anders shared how the company’s leading principle, ‘New perspectives’, shapes Muuto’s overall sustainability approach, encouraging the team to look for new materials, processes and partners. He emphasised the mission to become a sustainable furniture manufacturer demands a careful step-by-step approach to avoid greenwashing.
Trine is the expert for ensuring Muuto products not only meet the standards of international well-being certifications but also that by working closely with manufacturers and suppliers, Muuto's own brand standards are always upheld. She shed light on the greater interest of end clients to fit out spaces with sustainably produced furniture, why virgin plastic can not be phased out completely just now (it’d shorten the durability) and how the current global scarcity of recycled plastics slows down the roll-out of more products made from this material.
We also learned that replacing virgin plastic with recycled plastic affects the colours and textures of the relaunched Fiber chair. Design Manager Silke elaborated how the switch to recycled plastic impacted the colour range. The wood components used in the Fiber Armchair and Side Chair without upholstery enhance the dusty quality of colours, while the grainy texture makes the shell softer to touch.
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