Just Like fast fashion, 'fast furniture' is creating issues for our planet

A pile of trash bags were used to make the sofa. The Trash Bag Sofa was inspired by garbage on the streets of New York and was on display at Design Miami.

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He showed a sofa made from discarded clothes at the fair in 2019. The project drew a line between waste and furniture and commented on the fashion industry's waste problem. The sofa was made from clothes that had been thrown away. James Harris is associated with Design Miami.

At this year's Design Miami, Nuriev said that people have started to treat furniture like a fashion, where they can change their decisions very quickly.

Can the same be said about fast furniture as about fast fashion? The chairs and tables that fill many of our homes and everyday spaces are manufactured on a mass scale, and the cheaper items often end up sitting in a pile of trash.

According to the EPA, Americans threw out over 12 million tons of fashion furniture and furnishings in 2018, up from 2.2 million tons in 1960

Adding to that the carbon emissions caused by manufacturing and shipping and the furniture industry is looking like the next big elephant in the climate crisis room.

It can be expensive to buy furniture, and it can take weeks to arrive. Many of us use cheaper, instant brands, but what is it doing to the planet? In order to maintain low price points, manufacturers of affordable furniture often use less robust materials, such as veneer-covered particle boards, that are more susceptible to damage and harder to recycle. It is more likely that furniture will end up in a landfill if it is not designed for longevity.

The impact of the pledges made by the brands that make fast furniture will be seen. IKEA commits to using only renewable or recycled materials in all of its products by the year 2030. The company launched a "Buyback & Resell" scheme in which unwanted Ikea furniture can be returned, refreshed and given a second life.

Over the last ten years, the concept of circular design has gained traction. In a circular system, furniture products would be made without virgin materials, be designed to last longer and be fully reuse or recycle.

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"Salone-milan-design-week- eco-design"

"Longevity has been a key selling message among more responsible furniture companies for a long time," said a circular design expert over email. We need them to embrace the rest of the circular economy by designing out waste and pollution, offering repair and reupholstery services and take-back schemes to extend lifespans even further.

A person's trash is a person's treasure. Many designers have embraced this idea by turning waste materials into new furniture products, from Bethan Gray's Exploring Eden range, which is made using waste shells and feathers, to James Shaw's Plastic Baroque furniture series made with colorful recycled

Carbon emissions can come from the process of recycling certain materials. Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, who is known for crafting furniture with found materials, said that they focus on the symptoms instead of the solutions. This is bigger than recycling.

Piet Hein Eek made the cabinet. Piet Hein Eek gave credit to The Future Perfect.

Eek is showing a cabinet made from scrap timber. He said that he tries to be as efficient as possible with what the world has to offer, rather than trying to find materials for something. People need to see the beauty of scrap wood, according to him. He said that a person who doesn't respect materials will not recognize the quality of the lumber.

Buying used furniture is one way to embrace circularity. "New furniture releases the highest concentration of volatile organic compounds in the first year of its life, so buying second-hand is not only good for the planet, but good for your health," she said.

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Designers who restore and reuse old items can also be found in the marketplaces for vintage or second-hand products. Yinka Ilori collaborated with Restoration Station to repair and upcycle second-hand chairs into bright, colorful new pieces.

Over email, Ilori said that upcycling creates a unique piece that has its own story. There is a lot of meaning and history in that piece.

Buying second-hand is a great way to get good-quality furniture. Designers like Eek are hoping that by using natural materials, they can create furniture pieces that are more cost-effective in the long run. "If you make something which lasts forever, then, of course, your carbon footprint is less than pieces of furniture which are thrown away one or two years later," he stated. Quality is an important theme for me.

Quality and longevity are the focus of the slow design movement. It also includes celebrating craft and well-being. Is slow design better than fast design?

"'Slow is the new fast' is a phrase I use often," said designer Nada Debs. You really appreciate taking time to do things.

"'Slow is the new fast' is a phrase I use often," said designer Nada Debs. You really appreciate taking time to do things. 

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The designer from Lebanon created a hammam installation for Kohler at this year's fair, made from waste. Natural materials such as straw and hardwood are used in her furniture collection.

Debs collaborated with companies that mass-produced more affordable furniture, which resulted in items that she admitted were a very nice, fast buy. It makes sense to buy a handcrafted object if you want to keep a piece of furniture. It feels like it's real. I think this is sustainable.

If you build an emotional connection with a piece of furniture, you are less likely to throw it out. Ilori said that every piece of furniture he buys comes with him wherever he goes. The object is a collection of memories. I make sure my furniture is well cared for.

Natural materials like straw and hardwood are used to make furniture. The credit is courtesy of Nada Debs. There is a lot to consider when shopping for furniture according to the designers. You should look for pieces made with sustainable materials. Find brands that offer help in the form of repair or buy-back schemes. Repurposing old items is a great way to embrace creativity. Vintage items can be found in second-hand marketplaces.

If you invest in pieces that you will love and keep, they will last longer. "We want something quick and cheap, but it's really worth investing in something that is more expensive, that could last a lifetime, and will bring joy and a unique character to your home."

There are a lot of services out there that will let you rent furniture for as long as you want before you return it to someone else. Furnish, a company that serves select parts of the US, claims to have saved over 260 tons of furniture from landfill in 2011.

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The consumer can't be the only one tasked with tackling fast furniture. Designers such as Nuriev, Eek, Debs and Ilori can champion ideas and innovations, but it's the manufacturers who have the power to make a difference. They should make less.

Eek thinks that scaling down production will be necessary because of rising prices. He said that it will become more expensive in the end to mass-produce furniture because we will have less resources. Producers are able to make low cost pieces because of low material prices. Adding more labor and quality to wood will make it more competitive.

It is possible that environmental crises will force the furniture industry's hand. Companies that aren't leading the charge will soon start feeling the demand for change from their customers.

Keywords: CNN Sign, Francesca Perry, Design Miami, furniture

Source: www.cnn.com