I have recently embarked on a new career, very similar to my old one but very different. After thirteen years of working in a variety of roles within the design industry, I have finally taken the plunge and set up my own business, Tane Furniture Design.
The main underpinning philosophy of the furniture design studio is to produce well designed products, which have a minimal impact on our environment. Through responsible choices of material, extended life of a product and also the ease in which it can be disassembled and recycled back into the materials loop.
I don’t pretend to know all things about the sustainability of products and best practices to ensure that all the products we produce will embody this philosophy 100%, but I firmly feel that I have taken the first steps on the ‘right path’ to my re-education.
This ethical stance does not however come easily as I am finding. It takes a whole lot longer to source the right sustainable products for the job. Especially when you have set the parameters that it must all be from local manufacturers and suppliers. Unfortunately a big chunk of this time comes from trying to dissect the information provided by some companies, to find out the ‘truth’, actually how green is the product? ‘Greenwash’ is a major time waster.
The other main hurdle I am finding is sourcing the right manufacturers to produce designs from ‘new’ sustainable materials, e.g. chair frames using FSC timber, or bamboo panels like the beautiful LETObamboo range, instead of traditional hardwoods and plywood. This problem is confounded by the fact that we are a start up company. However as we start to build relationships with our suppliers this will hopefully change.
As stated the furniture design studio is still very much in its infancy, but the first steps to change have been taken. This wasn’t an easy change but it is definitely the right one!
Written by Gary Pennington