Amongst the hundreds of exciting events that have been kicking off at London Design Festival 2017, it’s probably no surprise that the launch of Pentatonic‘s eco friendly furniture immediately caught my attention. As you can see for yourself at their pop-up showroom on Chance Street, Shoreditch, Pentatonic have created an innovative range of products made from post-consumer waste, including plastic bottles and smart phone glass. But it doesn’t end there.
One thing that makes a product unfit for recycling, is that when materials are mixed together, it can be very difficult to extract one from the other. Pentatonic addresses this problem by making their furniture pieces modular, with each component made from one single material. This means that individual parts can be replaced when necessary. Redundant components can then be sold back to Pentatonic where they are recycled and end up back in the supply chain, several times over. Nothing needs to end up in landfill.
Each component also has its own unique ID number, so that it can be easily tracked throughout its entire lifecycle. All of the information about that piece is logged on to a database, so that you can find out exactly where it was made and which batch of trash it came from.
Jamie Hall and Johann Boedecker are behind the start up which is based in Berlin and London. The duo are working with strategic investor Miniwiz and have received £4.3 million in fundraising. They say,
Our engineers and designers have over 15 years’ experience in creating revolutionary material solutions; planet-saving, design-led alternatives to virgin materials. Man has already produced enough plastic and glass to fulfil our needs forever – it’s all out there, it’s just a case of reincarnating rather than burying it. And with enough creativity, each incarnation can be better than the last – with less impact.
Aesthetically, the team deliberately chose a radical design for a radical idea, marking their concept as a turning point in the evolution of furniture manufacturing, with the hope of setting an example to others.
Inspired by aeronautical design, the Airtool Foil Table has a tabletop made from recycled aluminium and rests on an Airtool base. This is made using the same gas-assisted manufacturing techniques used to make complex car parts. The parts are also hollow which makes them lighter and means less material is needed. The same system is used for the Airtool chairs whereby legs can be adjusted to different heights. The table is £850 with customisable colour options.
Smart phone glass is incredibly strong but rarely gets recycled. For their glassware range, Pentatonic chose to reuse this valuable material to make bowls and tumblers with a pentagon-shaped design.
The furniture, including the upholstered armchairs, are also transported in their individual parts, which means they can be flat packed and take up much less space during transportation. Parts have also been designed so that there is no need for tools when assembling the product and there is also no glue used.
Pentatonic’s pop-up showroom in Shoreditch also showcases collaborations with other designers such as eco-conscious clothing brand Eileen Fisher, as well as an armchair made from Starbucks coffee cups. In addition, they exhibited at Somerset House a solar-powered upcycling machine called Trashpresso which turns trash into building tiles.
Pentatonic’s products have a distinct futuristic style and it will be interesting to see what kind of interiors they would work best with, as well as the different ways in which they could be combined with old and existing furniture. Nonetheless, it certainly marks an amazing step forward towards a circular economy. Could this be the future of furniture?
See Pentatonic’s pop-up showroom at 2, Chance Street until 12th October