History In 19th-century Britain, rural craftspeople began making simple, economical chairs from local wood species. These "sustainability pioneers" included British chairmakers Ernest Gimson and Philip Clissett, who crafted their ladderback and Windsor chairs in ash, beech and elm from surrounding natural woodlands.
Clissett in his workshop in about 1910 (1)
A drive rope attached to a bent sampling powered the lathe and candles provided light — no electricity required. No by-product waste accumulated as the furniture makers sold the shavings (for kindling) and larger scraps (for firewood) to the local community. As early eco-warriors, they inspired the UK's Arts and Craft Movement (led by William Morris) that decried the rampant pollution, waste and indulgence of the Industrial Revolution.
Green Furniture Award
Sponsored by Malmö-based Swedish furniture manufacturer Green Furniture Concept. Held from 2009-2015 entries could not have been in production.
One Good Chair Award
Sponsored by Edenton, NC–based Sustainable Furnishings Council. Held in 2008, 2009 and 2010 the design briefs for the award varied.
Alternate solutions The costs and levels of bureaucracy of large-scale, multi-national and corporate global sustainability programs often discourage the SME sector. Fortunately, many designers and designer/makers still implement in-house eco furniture initiatives. Pennsylvania-based furniture designer Peter Danko encourages us to honour "our balance with nature and our position as stewards of this amazing planet." However, he warns that "the shift to a sustainable culture is not going to happen by tweaking the status quo. It is not going to happen until our values are expressed by choosing design that is visually sustainable."
Below, furniturelink shows examples of contemporary sustainable furniture and welcomes your suggestions for additions.
(1) Image courtesy of Terry Rowell who publishes an excellent website about the British chairmaker Philip Clissett.
© furniturelink 2016 (text), images © of each designer