The environmental care of brands rests on several main pillars. These are careful selection of materials and sources, an emphasis on quality over quantity and timelessness.
Icons that don't age
It doesn't have to be just aesthetics that timelessness translates into, and equally it doesn't have to be design icons that have been around for generations. It can also be a particular chair or lamp. Not only in Finland, valuable pieces of furniture are often inherited from ancestors. Brands are therefore trying to make this tradition possible for families by producing the most durable pieces of furniture possible.
As a result, Nordic design is rich in iconic pieces that have been sold for decades without time making them obsolete. Examples include Arne Jacobsen's designs such as the Egg chair from 1958 or the Ant chair designed in 1952, the world-famous Eames Chair designed by the Eames couple in the 1950s, or the iconic Savoy collection of vases designed by designer Alvar Aalto in 1936.
The longevity of the chairs and lamps has also given rise to the Artek initiative , which has been buying up its products at flea markets and reselling them since 2006. It gives chairs a new lease of life and design fans a chance to snap up pieces with a story. For example, you can buy the iconic Artek 60 stool from the early years of its production.
Emphasis on materials
For most brands, the comfort of the occupants of the home comes first. The benefit of such a principle often goes hand in hand with being environmentally friendly. Take wood, for example. The trees that craftsmen use to make a chair or table come from non-endangered species and sustainably managed forests.
Consideration for the environment often permeates the entire production process, from the judicious sourcing to the emphasis on certified manufacturing processes to the final finishing and treatment of each piece. The sustainable approach is also reflected in the packaging of the products themselves. In addition, high-quality natural materials, whether wood, fabric or marble, ensure the aforementioned longevity of the products.
Scandinavian design does not only refer to a certain style or origin of its creators. It's also about where the design pieces come to life, so part of the sustainable approach is the emphasis on using local resources and environmentally friendly production that takes place in local factories with a long tradition. For example, did you know that most of Artek's pieces are still made in Turku, Finland, where designer and founder Alvar Aalto's furniture has been manufactured since the 1920s?
Recycled and sustainable
The Muuto brand set out to work not only on a fresh approach to Scandinavian design but also on innovations towards sustainability. This has been reflected in particular in products such as the Restore storage baskets and the Under the Bell pendant lamps, which Muuto manufactures from fibres made from recycled PET bottles. Another example of such an initiative is the Fiber chair collection. Every single chair is made up of a quarter wood fibre, the use of which reduces the need to use newly manufactured plastic.
But consideration for the environment doesn't just stop with the judicious choice of materials. Its treatment is also important. Along with the Visu and Nerd collections, the Muuto brand has also introduced a water-based lacquer that is kinder to both the people in the home and the environment.
And other brands are not lagging behind. Danish brand Bolia, for example, offers upholstery fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles or residual materials, plus they are made with zero water consumption.
Being in touch with nature is an integral part of the Scandinavian design philosophy. Thus, the idea of sustainability is at the beginning of every design piece and accompanies it on its journey from the choice of material through the production process to its long service in the home. Give quality and responsibility a priority too!