Sustainable furniture

By Laura TomassiniLex KlerenPit Reding Switch to German for original article

Unhealthy chemicals, long transport routes, illegal logging - buying new furniture rarely does anything good for the environment. Second-hand furniture and locally produced furnishings offer an alternative for which buyers do not necessarily have to dig deeper into their wallets.

"Fast furniture" is the trend of the last generations, because where grandma and grandpa used to inherit beds, kitchen cabinets and the like made of solid oak from their parents and furnished their homes with them for the rest of their lives, today people prefer to buy Ikea furniture, which usually doesn't survive a single move. Buying behaviors have changed: things should be cheap and quickly accessible, from former craftsmanship to simple design, which is ready for pick-up in the warehouse and which everyone can afford.

However, more and more buyers are looking for alternatives, because the effects of climate change are perceptible, even in Europe. The industry itself also has to rethink, because the pressure on furniture manufacturers is constantly increasing. As part of the 21st UN Climate Conference in Paris in 2015, the German Furniture Quality Association, or DGM for short, launched the Climate Pact for the Furniture Industry in 2016, for example. This is intended to take on their goal of contributing to the defined limitation of man-made global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees by 2100.

Converting instead of throwing away

The calculations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in March of this year show that we may be struggling to actually stay within this limitation. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, we need to become greener, be it in the production, purchase or disposal of furniture. Ruth Lorang has been concerned with the impact of the furniture industry on the climate for some time. In mid-May, the designer presented her first flexibly combinable and sustainable furniture set, which is not only made with environmentally friendly materials, but is also intended to be usable in the long term.

"It all started with the 'Anouk' changing table, which can be given a second life as secretary furniture, " Ruth explains the idea behind her designs. After her sister became a mother, the designer realized that many pieces of furniture for children are only used temporarily and then end up either in the attic or in the bulky waste. The idea of creating furniture that can be used in multiple ways and thus does not become a disposable object resulted in the production of "Fabienne", a set of stools and tables that can be combined with each other in any way.

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