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Outdoor furniture: old becomes new

31 Mar 2021

Als „Go Green“-Version erhältlich: Lady B Chair (Design: Studio Zetass) © S CAB Design

Als „Go Green“-Version erhältlich: Lady B Chair (Design: Studio Zetass) © S CAB Design

Furniture for the terrace or balcony is increasingly being made from recycled materials. This looks good and saves resources.

Sustainable Gardens is a future-oriented focus topic at spoga+gafa. Exhibitors at the world's largest garden fair are increasingly relying on sustainability in the outdoor area. For example, manufacturers of outdoor furniture are producing new models from recycled materials. Used natural wood and recycled plastic from the sea are used as well as leftover textiles or organic waste. The collections are called “Greenline” or “Go Green” and thus already refer in its names to a resource-conserving production. The demand for such products is increasing, as more conscious living has become a sustained trend in the course of the climate debate.

Old wood for new furniture

Zebra was one of the first outdoor furniture brands to combine its design with recycling. For over ten years, the "Greenline" collection has been produced from recycled teak and new furniture is constantly being added. The starting material is wood from old huts, bridges or boats from Indonesia. Other manufacturers also use used wood in their outdoor furniture. The range of German company Ploß includes tables and chairs made from old window frames, doors or floor boards, for example, to which the reclaimed wood lends a special flair. Skagerak from Denmark invites to recycle furniture with its "Reclassic" program: customers can return discarded garden furniture to the manufacturer, who reconditions and resells it.

Reclassic furniture programm by Skagerak © Skagerak

Reclassic furniture programm by Skagerak © Skagerak

Plastic goes green

Plastic is currently celebrating a renaissance in garden furniture. Increasingly, recycled plastic is being used that comes from the oceans or household waste. For example, the Danish company Houe offers a new dining chair with lamellas made from 97 percent plastic waste. Italian label S CAB Design has introduced "Go Green", a series that reprocesses used plastics for chair production. The company's bestsellers are already available in this "green" version and the series is to be expanded further. Also from Italian production is Nardi's recycled furniture. The company has specifically launched a project for the regeneration of used plastic with the University of Padua. Topics such as circular economy are being investigated and cost-benefit analyses are being prepared.

Dinning chair ReClips by Houe © Houe

Dinning chair ReClips by Houe © Houe

Designing with residual materials

Possibilities for reuse are also found in residues from the production of furniture. Sunbrella, a specialist in outdoor textiles, for example, processes fabric waste that is generated during the cutting process for upholstered furniture. The resulting "Renaissance yarns" consist of 50 percent recycled material and have a special look thanks to natural color variations. Newly recycled cotton or used fishing nets are further examples of textile recycling. In contrast, the material Resysta, which has the appearance of natural tropical wood, is created from a waste product of rice cultivation. The material, which consists mainly of rice husks, is weatherproof and is used as an alternative to real wood for garden furniture.

Today, many people want to express their closeness to nature with “green” products in the garden. The resource-saving production of outdoor furniture is therefore increasingly a sales argument. Recycled furniture has long since lost its original eco-look. Current models are of very high quality in terms of design and durability. We can therefore look forward to further developments.

Author: Leif Hallerbach