As we’ve all become more conscious of our planet, a product’s life cycle, and our role in the process, the design world has unavoidably shifted toward sustainable production and design. We could say that we are in the midst of an eco-renaissance, with improved supply chain transparency as well as local and ethical sourcing. Thus, it brings us the increased popularity in the use of upcycled parts and natural materials.

High-concept furniture designers, in particular, are getting in on the act, inventing new ways to create products that are not only good for the environment but also look great. Upcycling ocean plastic and rethinking post-consumer waste are two of the most popular ways that these innovative thinkers are embracing sustainability and enabling a more circular economy. Unfortunately, the majority of these pieces are currently made to order and require a significant investment.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to live in a world where responsive design is the norm rather than the exception. The following products, all winners in different categories of the SIT Furniture Design Award, are taking upcycling to the next level. 

1. Fasswerk Hämmerle – Maximus the dining table from used wine barrels

Prize: Winner in Dining Table / Company/Firm: Fasswerk Hämmerle / Designer: Remo Hämmerle / Lead Designer(Other): Nadine Ledergerber / Location: Blumenfeldstrasse 22, 9403 Goldach, Switzerland

Each oak barrel tells its own story where it is handmade and refined in the best wineries to perfection. The design breathes new life into age-old oak barrels. They are carefully prepared and processed into unique barrels, tables, and wooden works in expert hands. We combine Swiss craftsmanship with modern design and sustainable upcycling. Each piece of furniture gets its own personality and becomes a unique piece handcrafted to our customer’s wishes.

The Maximus is aesthetically elegant, where the dining table has symmetrically arranged barrel staves and is framed in solid oak. With its striking feature, it can easily fill every dining room with true elegance. 

Maximus is made from barrel staves of 3 used red wine burgundy barrels from the regional winery Davaz in Graubünden, Switzerland. The barrel staves are framed in solid Swiss oak wood. The spaces between are filled with epoxy resin in black, and the table legs, modeled on the shape of the barrel stave, are handmade of solid steel. The entire dining table is designed and handcrafted in Switzerland.

Old oak barrels have great potential for furniture design. Their shape and design radiate something venerable that should be preserved. For us, every barrel is full of possibilities and inspiration. It offers room for ever new creations and ideas. Together with high-quality solid wood, the barrel becomes an innovative combination of classic craftsmanship and modern design. The results are works which we always develop in close collaboration with our customers.

2. Leonardo Disain Oü – Chair KATARINA/Uprolls

Prize Winner in Armchair / Company/Firm: Leonardo Disain Oü /  Designer: Leonardo Meigas / Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Borne from the dreams and needs as designers aspire to make the world a better place. There is an urgent need to reduce the burden on our home planet to keep the Earth clean and green for our children.

The upcycled chairs carry the new environmental philosophy. In this day and age of resource depletion, recycling and upcycling have become the norm. We discovered valuable raw materials among the industrial waste that is routinely disposed of in landfills.

These were upcycled heavy-duty cardboard rolls that were originally used to transport steel roof sheets. The rolls are given new life in Uprolls’ design and production facility, where they are transformed into chairs, poufs, tables, lamps, pet furniture, and other items. Furthermore, the fabrics used in production are sourced from waste materials from the furniture industry, from which we select high-quality textiles.

Uprolls help to save material and energy that would otherwise be used to manufacture elements for similar products. Additionally, the upcycling process lowers industrial waste disposal costs.

3. Flow by Yasmine Mahmoudieh – 3D printing chair made of recycled water bottles

Prize: Winner in Smart Furniture: Technology integration or Smart Usage /  Company: Yasmine Mahmoudieh /  Designer: Yasmine Mahmoudieh /  Lead Designer(Other): Leonard Pulsford /  Producer: Nagami / Photo Credit: Christian Aller

The ‘Flow’ chair is the result of Yasmine Mahmoudieh’s substantial ongoing research of innovative materials and fabrication methods. The ‘Flow’ chair is 3D printed using plastic recycled water bottles from the ocean or plastic waste that is completely non-toxic. The chair is one of the first pieces of a collection built over time, adaptable for residential or commercial use.

Yasmine has accumulated a vast library of recycled and sustainable and natural materials over decades. The ‘Flow’ chair is amongst the first furniture pieces of our own production with her partner ‘Nagami,’ bringing them to life through 3D printing robotic technology.

What is the SIT Furniture Design Award? 

The SIT Furniture Design Award was created to recognize and share the outstanding work of furniture designers and those who incorporate furniture into their projects. The creativity, innovative vision, and accessibility in the furniture design community are celebrated and widely shared around the world.

The SIT Design Awards is a sibling program of the LIT Lighting Design Award (LIT), The BLT Built Design Awards (BLT), the FIT Sport Design Awards (FIT) and The LIV Hospitality Design Awards (LIV) which have emerged as some of the most well-known Design Prize today.

The SIT Furniture Design Award is a program of the 3C Awards, a global organization that curates and promotes design. The company exemplifies today’s diversity and innovation in Lighting Design, Furniture Design, Sport design Interior Design, and Architecture. Each brand is a global symbol of design excellence, showcasing the work of Professional and Emerging designers to a jury of over 100 experts.

3C Awards is a member of the World Design Organization. 

Registration for the SIT Design Award is now open and will close on February 28th, 2023. 

Contact Information: 

Astrid Hébert / Program Director:

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