With Kata and Mixu, sustainability goes beyond the simple use of ecological materials

When we talk about sustainability in the world of furniture, we generally think of furniture made with particular attention to materials, as if the ecological footprint of a sofa or table depended solely on saving raw materials, reusing waste or waste or from the dismantling and recyclability of the object if we want to get rid of it. All essential aspects, but which do not make a difference if the project is not sustainable, even before the raw materials used, even the approach and mentality with which it was developed.

This circular approach has long characterized Arper, an Italian design excellence that has been using Life Cycle Assessment since 2007 to assess the ecological impact of some collections. A sensitivity also at the basis of the latest creations of the Venetian brand, born from the collaboration with international studios: Kata, designed by Altherr Désile Park, is the first lounge chair by Arper in solid wood and straw, played on the mix of past and technology using a 3D fabric with a delicate weave, specially made; Mixu is the collection of chairs and stools ideal for contract and hotels, born from the meeting between the brand and Gensler and which focuses on customization and versatility, a rare prerogative for a plastic piece of furniture.

In both cases, circularity is not a simple label, but the driver of the project. So, in the case of Kata, not only natural materials (solid oak or locust FSC certified) or recycled (polyester yarn composed of post-consumer plastic: each kilo is the equivalent of 48 PET bottles), but an overall approach ecological: “From the very beginning, the circularity perspective has been an integral part of this collection” explain Kata from Altherr Désile Park, a collective of international designers based in Barcelona. “On the one hand, we wanted to introduce a greater variety of materials into the Arper catalog, using natural wood for its artisan taste. On the other hand, we have chosen 3D weaving technology that contributes to the sustainability of the product at different levels. During the production phase, due to the structure of the fabric, the 3D weave makes it possible to produce exactly the amount of material necessary for the seat, as opposed to a common fabric which involves more waste. This ensures the absence of waste or excess material. Furthermore, the 3D texture conveys the sensation of a foam padded cushion, without the reduction of the material used penalizing comfort. Finally, the 3D texture and padding are made of the same material and therefore the entire seat can be recycled without the need to separate the padding from the fabric ".

The separability of the individual parts at the end of their life is a feature that Kata shares with Mixu, manufactured in five main materials (wood, metal, plastic, leather and fabric upholstery) which can be used in numerous combinations: "Although we like to think that our products will last forever, in reality people move, components wear out, needs change, ”explain from Gensler, the global architecture and design firm headquartered in San Francisco. “We aimed to create something that could be easily disassembled and disassembled. As a consequence of this approach, the design is more sustainable as it is designed to facilitate responsible recycling and recovery. All this has had a significant impact on the design of the junction points, both between the backrest and the seat and between the wooden legs and the metal base. We also reflected on the materials, using post-industrial recycled plastic, FSC-certified woods and sturdy and resistant plastic, which increases the duration of the seat allowing a reduction in waste ”.

And then, of course, there is the style, which contributes to making these furnishings a durable solution over time. Both Altherr Désile Park and Gensler have worked to inject artisan beauty into their creations: in the first case, using technology in a soft key, to refer to the past without indulging in the nostalgia effect; in the other, focusing on customization which is a very rare prerogative when plastic is one of the materials used. This is why Kata is a piece capable of communicating warmth, despite the hi-tech process that is needed to make it, while Mixu enhances versatility thanks to its system divided into three distinct parts - seat, backrest and base - which can be combined by varying shades and textures depending on the contexts, more or less formal.

Photo Save Lopez