ICFF Wrap Up: Evolving From Sustainable Materials to Sustainable Design
CaraGreen just returned from the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York where we make the annual pilgrimage to scout for new and notable sustainable design trends. This year, we saw an impressive display of sustainable materials being used in contemporary furniture design – much more than in previous years. Other themes included urban farming solutions, LED lighting advancements, and attention to carbon footprint and end of life use of furnishings.
Here are our favorite examples of thoughtful furniture and lighting that incorporate materials that are recycled, rapidly renewable, reclaimed, and/or sustainably-harvested from the show:
- Furniture using 100% recycled paper panels from Token – very durable and beautiful
- Recycled cardboard lights from Graypants
- Recycled beer bottles recast into light fixtures by iQEnvironments
- Used skateboards recycled into colorful tiles with tons of character by Art of Board
An unexpected treat…As New Yorker’s embrace the local food movement, there is a market for urban chicken coops. RAAD design has set the standard, creating a modern, luxury, solar powered hen house. It ships flat-packed and is easily assembled. Not just for roof-top farmers!
LED lighting continues to gain momentum as bulb and color options expand and as prices come down. Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs reduces energy consumption by 85% - very sustainable. One light design takes sustainability even further. Designer Magnus Wästberg used Durapulp, a mix of wood pulp and a thermoplastic made from corn or sugarcane, and low-voltage LEDs, to create the DuraPulp lamp (in picture). The LEDs reduce the voltage and amps needed so minimal wires are required, allowing them to be safely embedded in paper. This product moves beyond sustainable materials to sustainable solutions at every phase of the supply chain. A lumber company finds another use for the pulp that is often a byproduct of softwood lumber production. A chemist creates a plastic made from biomaterial versus petroleum. A designer manipulates the material for strength and form. The result is a beautifully design, energy saving, affordable, product that is compostable at the end of its life.
Another example of the evolution of sustainable design was forefront in the University of Oregon’s exhibition, 'The Shape of Sustainability is...Flat?'. This project explores flat pack furniture and life cycle analysis of furniture designed by students. The University of Oregon Product Design Program challenges current understandings of sustainable design, researches new possibilities, and defines new methods. Each student’s design embodied traditional design principles while quantifying environmental impacts from harvest through end of life.It is exciting to see sustainable design and life cycle thinking incorporated from design education to commercial products. We are already looking forward to next years offerings!
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