In times of climate change and energy change, sustainable design is the new norm in the furniture industry. Barbara Benz, CEO of the architectural design firm, explains the innovative paths companies like Walter Knoll, Arco and Kvadrat go with in terms of climate-neutral production.
Stuttgart – Sustainability is now an integral part of the development of new design concepts and has long since left the eco-corner. It goes without saying that manufacturers are concerned about the ecological and social impact of their products. “It’s good,” says Barbara Benz, CEO of interior design firm Architare. For them and their customers, “green awareness” plays a crucial role when buying furniture. “Because in times when many things are losing value faster and faster, it’s important to add value.”
Arco: The Dutch company focuses on sustainable wood management
“The furniture brands that we have in stock at architare also deal responsibly with the topic of sustainability,” explains Barbara Benz, citing the Dutch family company Arco as the first example. Arco is known for its grandiose dining and conference tables, some of which are over three feet high, which are considered timeless statement pieces. For its Local Wood collection, Arco only uses wood from the Netherlands and West Germany. An equivalent FSC and PEFC certification is a matter of course.
Unlike many other furniture manufacturers, Arco is also dependent on the shortest possible production chain. “That’s why we’re looking for partners nearby,” explains Arco CEO Jorre van Ast, the fourth generation to run the family business. “This means that the transport routes are shorter, and we help to reduce CO emissions. For a company, transport has a great impact on the environment. A table whose wood comes from the Netherlands or Germany, and which is also manufactured there, must of course have a different price than furniture made in Asia, ”explains Barbara Benz. But the origin of the furniture that they often surround themselves with for decades is also very important to many of their customers.
The ecopass provides information on the origin of the materials
To make the sustainable production of the furniture transparent to customers, Arco has introduced an Eco Passport. This provides information on the origin of all materials and the material composition of each piece of furniture. Next stage: In 2023, 40 percent of the Arco collection will be produced in a circular way through recycling, renovation and repair. That means: Like many companies in the design industry today, Arco thinks sustainability to the end.
Square: How new and high-quality fabrics are made from textile waste
Since 2017, the Danish textile company Kvadrat has also worked intensively with the goal of a circular economy. Kvadrat already produces its innovative and high-quality fabrics partly from textile waste such as recycled wool and cotton or from PET bottles. “The so-called circular economy therefore requires a completely different way of thinking,” explains Barbara Benz, “because what is thrown away is not seen as waste, but as a valuable resource.” In this case, sustainable design is much more than just creating a single product, it is an all-encompassing process that takes the whole system into account. And in the process, as in the case of Kvadrat, unbelievably beautiful fabrics are also created.
Walter Knoll: Sustainability and value as a fire promise
“Today, of course, sustainability must also include climate-neutral production,” says Barbara Benz. “Our partner company Walter Knoll has worked at the company’s headquarters in Herrenberg near Stuttgart since 2016 and has been certified climate neutral. In addition, Walter Knoll uses only the best materials. The fabrics, leather and wood used are durable and environmentally friendly. Your commitment is reduced to what is needed. . ”
The Bauhaus principle: one of the most sustainable design schools of all
For Walter Knoll, however, these considerations are not an innovation. The family business sees itself as a modern furniture brand. Minimalism and economic use of resources are in its DNA. Walter Knoll follows the Bauhaus principle “less is more” and thus one of the most sustainable design schools of all. Collaborating partners from the surrounding area, who ensure short distances, round off the sustainability concept.
Of course, the principle of longevity applies not only to the materials but also to the aesthetics. “In the Walter Knoll collection, you will find many design icons that you can not get enough of,” explains Barbara Benz. For example, the FK chair. Designed in the 1960s, the armchair has not lost any of its elegance to this day. In some families, the design classic is passed down from generation to generation, according to the architect’s CEO.
Value is what lasts
Sustainable furniture should therefore not only be robustly constructed of the best materials. Your design is also characterized by a visual permanence, so that it – like an impressive work of art – will continue to delight people for many years to come. For what lasts long and delights, creates a little waste and thus automatically leads to an economic exploitation of natural resources. Value is what lasts – Walter Knoll and many other premium brands managed by architare fulfill this brand promise 100 percent. Barbara Benz and her team will be happy to provide you with more information.
Sustainable, visionary furniture and textiles are in image gallery to discover.