From providing job training for disadvantaged groups to recycling materials that don’t sit well in landfills, these products embody social and environmental responsibility—from hand-woven carpets, to locally sourced wood, and to a composite material composed of recycled milk jugs.
Losanges III, Nanimarquina
The Spanish carpet maker collaborated with French designers Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec on Losanges, a trio of area rugs. The latest addition to the series, Losanges III, repeats a rhombus shape to form a geometric lattice in red and white colorways. The rug is hand-woven from hand-spun wool by craftsmen in northern Pakistan using a process emulating that of traditional kilims and resulting in slight variations in color and arrangement with each iteration.
Modular System DIY Bookcase Kit, RX Made
Chicago salvage operation Rebuilding Exchange offers job training to disadvantaged groups via its RX Made shop. Workers use locally sourced materials to craft furnishings such as a modular bookshelf (shown) whose kit of parts includes a powdercoated steel base and risers.
Paper Vase Cover, Pepe Heykoop
A project by Dutch designer Pepe Heykoop, with the goal of providing skilled jobs and socioeconomic mobility to members of an impoverished community in India by 2020, Paper Vase Covers are made of coated paper that can be rolled up or down to cover a variety of vessel types and sizes. Available in white, black, green, silver, and blue colorways.
Arrow Lamp, Rose & Fitzgerald
Crafted by artisans in Uganda from locally sourced mugavu and teak, the Arrow Lamp from Rose & Fitzgerald is a product of an enterprise that aims to foster sustainable sourcing and manufacturing while fueling local industry. The luminaire’s base measures 6" wide and 12" tall. A drum shade, offered in black linen and cotton, measures 15" wide and 8" tall.
HoneyCor ESP, Noble Environmental Technologies
To create a sustainable alternative to wood and composite panels, Noble Environmental Technologies mixed post-consumer recycled and bio-based cellulose fibers with water, turned up the heat, and compressed the material into rigid, structural forms. Among its line of Environmental Structural Panels (ESPs) is HoneyCor (shown), which features honeycomb-shaped ESPs nestled between single ESP plys. Offered in ½" to 2" thicknesses.
Full Circle, 3Form
Architectural surfaces maker 3Form is growing its Full Circle series, which was borne from partnerships with artisans worldwide to provide skilled jobs while sourcing eco-friendly materials to insert between sheets of the company’s translucent Varia Ecoresin, which contains 40% pre-consumer recycled content. The two new lines are produced by craft workers in Ndem, Senegal, and include Tribe (shown), which evolves 3Form’s Ensign product with horizontally stitched fabric chains in warm and cool color palettes.
Skinny Planks, Interface
With a legacy of combining healthy materials and high-design, the sustainability-minded carpet manufacturer Interface is adding a new dimension to its collection of modular flooring. The 23cm-wide-by-1m-long plank-style carpet tiles help designers integrate features such as wayfinding and work area demarcations within a floor plan. Skinny Planks join the company’s existing line of modular tiles, which include 50cm-wide-by-1m-long planks, 1m squares, and 50cm squares.
The fabrication of Portland cement–based masonry units is notorious for its CO2 emissions, spurring the development of products and processes that emit fewer air pollutants and VOCs. One of these, BioMason, uses bacteria grown from yeast extract to do the binding work of cement when mixed with an aggregate. The result is a durable masonry unit that hardens in fewer than five days. The product won the inaugural Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge in 2013.
Lollygagger, Loll Designs
Loll Designs crafted its Lollygagger collection of outdoor furniture from composite boards that include post-consumer recycled plastic milk jugs, a UV stabilizer, and a colored pigment. The Duluth, Minn.–based outdoor furniture maker was founded in 2003 by a skate park design/build contractor to reuse leftover materials. The series includes a chaise lounge (shown) and tables.