Attention to the environment is an intrinsic feature of many Nordic companies, well before it became a global urgency. It is a strategic and systemic concept, which concerns the longevity and design of products and the search for innovation within an always recognizable style

Especially from the 1950s to the 1970s, Nordic design produced some of the best-known icons in the world, present in the main international design museums, generating a recognizable style and an approach to design which, ante litteram, represents the much sought-after ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) pillars.

In other words, many of the Nordic design companies, even before sustainability became a planetary urgency, engaged in business management attentive to the environmental and social impact of production and related sustainable development.

One feature of the timeless classics of Nordic design is certainly longevity, which translates not only into the style capable of passing through times and fashions, but also in the construction of pieces designed to be repaired.

A goal that has always been pursued, thanks to the easily disassembled design, made with a few distinct materials and born from the manufacturing awareness of craftsmanship, later transferred to industrial processes.

An example of this is the Wishbone Chair by Hans J. Wegner, since 1949, continuously in the catalog of Carl Hansen & Søn, which is designed to be repaired over time and which uses only natural, sustainably managed and biodegradable materials.

Longevity, therefore, also means 'reconditioning, re-entering the used product on the market, in order to limit its disposal.

Since 2011, the Artek 2nd Cycle platform of the Finnish company Artek has been collecting, repairing and reselling second-hand furniture from its catalogue, preserving its quality and promoting a more conscious type of consumption.

The Copenhagen company Mater launched a series of chairs designed in 1958 by Børge Mogensen, making them in a new material: the seat and backrest use a composite deriving from recycled fibers and plastic waste mixed with sawdust obtained from the processing of the strictly FSC wooden parts of the chair itself.

The new material is designed to be recycled and transformed up to five times with a view to circular production circular.

This also applies to the material developed by Kvadrat Really, the brand founded in 2013 by the Danish company Kvadrat to experiment with solutions that respond to the global waste problem.

Textile Tabletop, Textile Board and Textile Felt are three products made with end-of-life cotton and wool from the fashion and textile industries. In particular, Textile Tabletop is a plug-and-play solution for all types of tabletop frames, with a top made of 70% recycled fabrics and 30% of a two-component binder a low impact and a transparent melamine foil on the surface.

It can be supplied as a semi-finished product in standard sizes to build worktops, or finished with oak, lacquered or ABS edges.

After one life cycle, the material can be ground and recycled back into composites from the same company.

Nordic design seems to suggest that a large part of the design process consists of reflecting on materials, their quality, durability, origin, environmental impact and life cycle.

Plastic is not set aside as an impacting material, but its technological potential is exploited in terms of recycling and upcycling of secondary raw materials.

This is the case of the polypropylene of the Allez chairs, designed by Simon Legald for Normann Copenhagen, implemented in the technologies and in the production process to eliminate waste as much as possible from its production site.

It is made of recycled, virgin polypropylene and a mix of the two with high resistance – so much so as to make the chair suitable for intensive use in high-density public areas – and capable of generating little energy consumption during injection molding.

Also in the case of Allez, the seven-component structure allows easy disassembly and replacement of individual pieces.

A new material that comes from usually discarded materials is also present in the Stoop outdoor collection, designed by the Belgian Julien De Smedt for the Norwegian Vestre.

The table tops and benches use the patented Kebony wood, which is derived from the untreated knots and heartwood of the FSC certified Pinus Sylvestris, blended with a bio-based liquid that modifies the cell walls of the wood, giving it the technical characteristics of hard wood on one hand, and an intense brown color on the other, avoiding surface colouring.

The Woodio composite is also born from waste from the wood industry, the first waterproof material made with wood shavings and resins of natural origin which can replace traditional ceramics.

In this material, the Finnish company of the same name creates collections of washbasins, the suspended Block sanitary ware and the freestanding Flow bathtub.

Since 2020, the Copenhagen Takt company has been certified as a B-Corp and for two consecutive years it has been awarded the Best for the World nomination as one of the most virtuous companies in terms of good social and environmental practices.

The approach to design, therefore, does not concern so much the solutions of a single product, but a systemic approach to sustainability that goes from the flat packaging of the furnishings to the disassembly and repairability of the components, to the pursuit of longevity of products, to the effort to calculate the CO2 footprint for each piece of furniture, offsetting its emissions through the partnership with the Puro accreditation platform.

All Takt products are certified with the EU Ecolabel and use only FSC certified wood.

But above all the furnishings, such as the Arc extendable dining table designed by Danish Depping & Jørgensen, are designed to respond to the changing needs of the home, to multifunctionality and to the increasingly hybrid condition of living spaces.

Flexibility, decomposability and recyclability are recurring keywords in Scandinavian products.

Even if interpreted by non-local designers: this is the case of Formafantasma who make their debut with the Swedish Hem. T Shelf is an open system in extruded aluminum which borrows large-scale industrial production techniques.

It organizes itself through the simple, slim T-profile, which allows for long spans and a clean, minimalist look with no exposed joints.

Thanks to the recyclability and single-material nature of aluminum and the easy disassembly of the system, T Shelf demonstrates responsible use of materials.

The aforementioned principles are also the basis of the latest creation by Luca Nichetto for the Swedish Offecct.

The Phoenix seat features a recycled aluminum Y-profile frame and easily removable and replaceable padded parts. Recycled aluminum is not afraid of down-cycling of technological performance and has much less impact once it enters its life cycle.

The idea behind it is not only the use of sustainable materials and post-production, but above all the 'perpetual cycle of its elements, hence the name of the bird that keeps on rising again.

Available with four different leg bases and in a wide range of colors and finishes, Phoenix covers the needs of different markets, from contract to domestic.