10 July 2020

Sustainable furniture and Circular Design: planning a zero impact by releasing bio-composting properties

The furniture industry ends the circle of wastefulness and opens a new production cycle, made up of recovery, renewable energy and reuse architecture. The true revolution today is to conceive an object whilst focusing on its durability and banking on its reuse.

It is no longer the age of linear economy. Well yes: the development model that sees a product being created, live for a certain period of time (sometimes even too short) and end its path in the non-recyclable waste bin is no longer the market’s reference paradigm.

Circular design - that is, the design approach which focuses on the entire life cycle of the consumer good even before exhausting its consumption - is conquering all product sectors and, finally, the furniture revolution era is upon us.

And if you think that the only positive aspect concerns greater environmental sustainability, you should know that this is not the case: the circular economy pays off, and not just in order to respect the ecosystem.


Circular planning: the secret for a prosperous and sustainable future

Let's get straight to the point. With reason, everyone dwells on the effectiveness of circularity in terms of environmental protection. This is indeed the case, as drawing on the boundless basin of waste undoubtedly reduces our impact on the planet.

Where this is a universally recognised plus, it is also true that recycling always carries the risk of a preconception, the irrational fear that recovering materials should mean less value, reduced functionality and a less gratifying aesthetic appearance.

And this not only does not correspond to reality, but is the exact opposite of what the furniture industry is aiming for: maintaining the same very high standards (economic and functional) as when the furnishing accessory was initially created.

Creating high-level design starting from recovered resources, using them again and avoiding new, polluting and expensive extraction and production operations of raw materials.

Environmental and social responsibility: the green goals of the furniture world

Sustainability is a value that not only addresses what has already been produced, but that has the power to plan and reinvent production processes on a global scale, so that they can regenerate continuously and independently. A bit as if it were an infinite system of renewable energies, capable of relentlessly fuelling our mind-set change.

Placing the ideals to one side, what matters is putting these objectives into practice and this is precisely the thought of FederlegnoArredo, the association that is the reference point of the Italian wood-furniture supply chain which is working to place the issues of environmental and social responsibility at the centre of the sector's development strategies.

Goal? To ensure the sector becomes a world leader in terms of green economy by 2025. 

By analysing the entire life cycle of the furnishing productaccording to the LCA (Life-Cycle Assessment) guidelines, it is possible to quantify the percentages of impact on the environment and health so as to decide to change course towards, for example, the reuse of materials and responsible forest management.

Many certifications move in this direction, just think of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) recognition, specific for woods derived from forests, or of the Leed Compliant brand (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), created to evaluate environmentally sustainable buildings. To obtain these certifications, it is necessary to choose, among other things, energy and water savings, the reduction of CO2 emissions and the most ecological materials.

To achieve, step by step, a virtuous interior design model: refined in its choices as well as in its lines.

Oway and Ellen MacArthur Foundation: profit and non-profit organisations in support of circular design

“Our mission is to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy”. So says the slogan of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a research and charity Organisation that has been trying to inspire global market players towards a circular economic model since 2010.

It bears the name of a woman who in 2005 circumnavigated the planet on a sailing boat, with nothing more than the bare essentials, and who a few years later decided to give a precious tool to companies whose choice of action is to design and produce circularlyThe Circular Design Guide, the guide that places design at the centre, the idea that underlies the product concept, focusing on all aspects of production. With the only gain of laying the foundations for the world it would like.

On the other side, that of industry, Oway is positioned with its Circular Design project in favour of circular furniture (and living). At the basis of this project linked to real sustainability and to high-level plastic-free design, there are some principles strongly connected to the brand's vocation: designing durable furnishings, choosing the most valuable materials and making this choice among the recycled ones, reducing waste during the manufacturing process, preferring interchangeability and facilitating the object’s maintenance.

But that's not all: choosing ecological materials and paints allows constructing an environment as free as possible from toxic compounds, minimising the release of the harmful substances guilty of domestic pollution. Once the circle has been completed, with the relaxing power of natural materials, well-being, health and the "decontamination" of the air we breathe are back at the heart.

An ambitious production model? Certainly, but above all the idea of a new approach: the desire to spread - by practicing it - a different lifestyle.

MODULO: the ecological, modular and customisable design made in Oway

Among the most convinced supporters of this innovative and responsible furnishing concept, yes, you will find us too.

The goal of this journey has already been clear for some time now, but the turning point was in 2017, when we opened the doors of our 0 mile wood workshop Artigiano and transformed this objective from mirage to a real and tangible haven.

We wanted to control the raw material on an actual basis: to be aware of our choices by carving unique pieces of furniture, but also particular types of packaging and exhibition and communication material with a multifunctional, reusable, sustainable and elegant design. To give shape, in essence, to eco-friendly, durable and high-quality furnishings and work tools.

Totally in keeping with the Oway experience gained to date, Artigiano was born to preserve the enormous capital that is offered to us by nature, minimising waste for a real maximisation of product compatibility.

So we achieved MODULO: a modular tailor-made line developed starting from the cornerstones of the Oway Agricosmetics, from the principles of circular design to the advantages of eco-design, from craftsmanship to unique solutions, through total characterisation and the choice of 100% plastic-free sustainable materials.

For salons all over the world, with the aim of fulfilling the dream of the ideal temple of beauty. But above all with the idea of design we believe in: the one capable of reconciling needs, aesthetics, functionality, respect and lifestyle.


Greenwashing: the “feigned environmentalism” that we surely do not need

Proclaiming oneself as eco-friendly and certifying this on the label is the new frontier of misrepresenting zero-impact procedures. A riot of green leaves, a shower of “organic or bio", "green" and "natural" stamps that confuse, obscure and cover up reality. Here's how to recognise the deception and stem the consequences.

Superfluous packaging: the packaging avalanche pouring into the waste bin

In the aftermath of the Holidays, we know for sure that the most received gifts were parcels, external packaging, additional packaging and everything “necessary" to keep the contents intact. Overpackaging is the triumph of single use: an increasingly accentuated phenomenon which has reached senseless usage paradoxes.

Let’s not black out the future. It’s time to consume less and to do it better

Sales days like Black Friday produce a staggering waste of resources. They shape our perception of purchases, they push us to believe that we absolutely must buy, taking advantage of discounts right away, with devastating consequences on the environment. There is no time to change things: we must get back to conscious consumption – and we must do it now.

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