A broad and very subjective list
Compiled by David Bergman
Updated on January 24, 2005
All of the additions in this newest version of the Viridian Furniture
list are in one category, the one that I titled in an obvious moment of
kowtow to our Viridian Pope: "What if Green Design Were Just Good Design."
But that's a good thing (the additions, not the brown nosing). It means
that eco designed furniture is becoming less like what too many people
think all eco furniture looks like. It's breaking out of its crunchy niche
and getting its sustainable teeth into everything. Mainstreamed green
design, though, is not necessarily Viridian design. We still need more
of the type of stuff Bruce saw at the 2001
International Contemporary Furniture Fair, but conceived so that it
doesn't compromise basic eco concepts like using sustainable materials.
Unfortunately, much of the cool stuff -- the things we unrepentant materialists
crave -- isn't really all that green. An incredibly fantastic blobject
made of polyurethane is still petroleum-based.
For the most part, I've not listed things that can't be seen online.
For instance, there's a lot of great stuff to be found via the IDRA website,
but often nothing further to be found about the designer or manufacturer.
Same thing with an interesting new book, Eco-design: the Sourcebook --
further info on most of the items isn't available online.
The disclaimer: With a few exceptions, I haven't checked the designers'
or manufacturers' claims. I'm hoping there's not too much greenwashing
going on here....
Please send your suggestions and additions to
Some general sites
A listing of eco-furniture sources (who paid a few bucks to get listed
Futureproofed Good stuff, if you're
in or near Belgium.
There's a furniture section within.
Oikos Oikos is a great
green building site. This is their furniture index page.
Retail green furnishings.
Within this site for "people who are concerned with natural living" is
this page with links to furniture sources. A lot of the sources, though,
don't mention sustainability. Maybe the redjellyfish editors know more.
The organic-y stuff -- what most people think
of when you say eco-furniture
Airedale Woodworks Furniture
from the wood of old tobacco barns.
ArtiGianni "Useful art," non-endangered woods, natural oils.
Hardwoods Made in Vietnam. Sold in Seattle.
Earthshade.com Natural window shades
made of non-toxic, environmentally sustainable, natural reeds, bamboos,
grasses, and other natural plant fibers.
FoundWood Furniture More
Josswood Furniture Ye olde furniture
from recycled barns and fences.
Natural Tree Furniture The
name says it.
Pajaro Jai Foundation
Sustainably harvested woods and local labor in Panama.
Robert Brandegee Designs
Furniture mainly from hand-hewn logs from early log structures.
Rustic Furniture of Moab
Handmade from recycled wood.
Safe Solutions Furniture
from recycled wood pallets.
Sleepywood Rustic Furniture Adirondack
style pieces from local responsibly harvested woods, natural oil finishes.
Tamalpais NatureWorks Buy the
whole kit or just the hardware and plans.
Tekiah Hemp Co-op Hemp hammocks.
Texas Backroads Furniture
"Custom rustic/Western-style furniture built from reclaimed woods."
The Tree Project A collection
of sculptural furniture (including a Klingon drinking table!) all from
a single 118 year old tree.
Tropical Salvage Custom
traditional-looking stuff from salvaged tropical woods using local labor.
The Wooden Duck Furniture
from reclaimed wood.
Woodwins Outdoor furniture from
recycled wood. SmartWood certified.
To quote the Pope/Emperor: "What if Green Design
Were Just Good Design."
Here's some stuff that doesn't have to live in an Adirondack cabin.
Antiquarius Click on "contemporary
rugs & carpets" to check out their naturally dyed designs on unbleached
Artemide e-light Manufactures
the "e-light," a very low energy use, "recyclable" light to match your
Azcast Furniture and accessories
in cast recycled aluminum.
Baltix Office/home office furniture,
Berkeley Mills Furniture made
of FSC-certified woods. Handsome pieces with a Japanese and Arts &
Blueline A British office furniture
company with all the right ideas (certification, buy-back, packaging reduction,
materials research ...).
Blu Dot Innovative designs that are
sometimes material efficient, sometimes ship flat (saving energy in transportation),
sometimes multi-function. And pretty inexpensive.
has lots of cool stuff by assorted designers, a surprising number of whom
incorporate at least some sustainability in their work. But it's a mixed
bag, and their website has very little info. See Marcel Wanders, Shigeru
Ban, Tom Dixon, Ilkka Suppanen, Jasper Morrison.
Viking Furniture Celtic and Viking inspired furniture from reclaimed
timber. Imagine a Viking interpretation of a tv cabinet -- now there's
Chista Furniture and lighting, much of
it shaped from salvaged Far East woods.
Co-lab Studio An ecologically
and socially conscious company employing "at risk" Detroit residents to
make inventive furniture from found and recycled materials. Some if belongs
in the "down n dirty" category below, but most of it doesn't have a found
CP Lighting Lighting made of hand
colored post-consumer recycled plastic. But incandescent. (C'mon, Chris...)
a fabric; no it's a biodegradable waste product for farms.
Good basic stuff from sustainable wood.
Eco-furniture.com A fairly
wide selection of eco pieces, mostly contemporary.
stuff from recycled plastic lumber. "Made Twice in America."
SoHo furniture utilizing a variety of sustainable materials.
Healthy and ecologically sustainable rugs.
Environmental Language Refined
contemporary designs with eco materials and natural finishes. I wish there
were more specifics about it on the site.
Fire & Water Self plug
from the compiler of this list. Award winning lighting made of sustainable
materials and energy efficient light sources.
Furnature Upholstered furniture
for the chemically sensitive (without looking like it).
Furnucci Children's furniture made
of biofiber and non-toxic finishes.
Gary Weeks Rocking chairs (and
chairs and tables) from mostly certified woods.
Good Girl Goods Part of a growing
movement to make eco cool: "finding eco-savvy style" with a very personal
and personable take. Some of the items are for direct sale, others are
The Green Culture
Assorted eco-pieces including interesting cardboard stuff.
Hardwood Artisans Traditional
designs from certified sustainably grown woods.
Healthy Interiors Carries
a range of eco and healthy home products.
Miller has been incorporating recycled content, as well as design
for disassembly and recyclability, into some of their chair and workstation
designs. The Aeron chair (see below in Ergonomic design) has over 60%
Ikea Air Air-filled
chairs, lounges and stools from Ikea. All we need now is a solar powered
Carpet Tiles Design your modular rug with patterns from sustainably
produced carpet tiles.
Jeffrey Bernett Huelsta Home and
office storage and shelving systems earning the German "Blue Angel" rating.
The Joinery is another Arts &
Crafts/Stickley-influenced company using FSC-certified woods.
Jonas Hauptman cool modern
chairs made from wood alternatives like crushed palm fronds
Klisanin Ross Environmentally conscious
rugs and children's furniture.
Cork furniture. Now you can really be pinned to your seat.
Light Corp. A highly
efficient table lamp designed by the lighting research guys at the Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory. (It's cool, though; they don't seem like
the pocket protector types.)
metaForm studio Cool contemporary
stuff, reinterpreting recycled industrial materials.
Mioculture If you're looking
for that futuristic yet retro look on your walls (think Blade Runner),
check out their 3D modular wallcovering made of molded recycled paper.
Modern Link This multidisciplinary
company includes a line of bamboo and steel tables and cabinets. They
don't emphasize the eco-ness of the line, which may reflect an acknowledgment
that bamboo isn't always as green as we'd like to think.
Nu Collection Modern rug designs,
hand woven in Turkey using vegetable dyes.
Objx Well designed, well made furniture
from sustainable materials.
Olive Designs Furniture intended
for lobbies, but it looks like it might fit in a contemporary type home
too. Lots of recycled/sustainable materials used and they're planning
a take-back program.
Pallet Art "Art furniture" from
discarded pallets. Nicer than it sounds.
Peter Danko Tables and chairs
constructed of highly efficient ply-bent wood.
Starck "Archimoon" task lamp. An energy efficient desk lamp by Phillipe
Starck. It's great to see "name" designers going this direction.
Planet Squared A modular storage/table
system made from high density compressed recycled paper and recycled glass.
Poesis Studio Among
other things, a chair -- a very solid chair -- made from newspaper pulp.
Preform Manufacturing Inc
Office furniture systems made of recycled, bio-based, and sustainable
Q Collection Interior Design
magazine called it "sustainable-chic." Their materials include natural
latex foam, hemp and twine webbing, organic cotton muslin, organic low-impact
dyed cotton upholstery and formaldehyde- and polyurethane-free stains.
Project S.O.H.O. furniture shipped flat and with a recycled material
Scrapile A design collaboration
producing furniture made from scraps from local wood shops in Brooklyn
Contract A line of environmentally sustainable carpet. It's meant
for offices, but don't let that stop you.
shetkaSTONE Makes a product
from ANY type of recycled paper. They then can make it into tables, counters
and other things.
Studio eg Office furniture from
recycled materials. And it doesn't look like it.
Trannon "Trannon is a unique business
fundamentally designed to assist modern forestry, rural employment and
at the same time batch produce exciting furniture."
Treehugger.com This new, ironically
named site is, well, kind of like the Viridian furniture list. But we
like them anyway. There's room for all of us.
Ukao Grass Furniture It apparently
means "way of life" in Swahili. Furniture from bamboo and other grass
products, bio-based textiles, with elements of glass, stone, or steel.
Verde Interior Products Office-type
furniture made of SONOboard (the stuff that used to be called GridCore).
No toxics. "Green to the core."
Vivavi One of a new crop of eco stores
that is trying to escape the eco/green public image. They have clothing
and accessories in addition to contemporary furniture, which includes
several of the lines on this page as well as their own designs.
Whit McCleod Mission style. Yep,
from California. Reclaimed and salvaged materials.
White Lotus Home Futon beds and
such from sustainably harvested woods.
Wiggers Custom Furniture
Individually made contemporary pieces using environmentally sound materials
Xeno Objects From the Pope's
stomping grounds in Austin, a sensuous series of chairs, stools and endtables
made using "a merger of an ancient process of working bamboo fibers with
Down 'n dirty -- found object designs, dumpster
diving for dollars
Jam UK company making things
out of other things.
Resource Revival Tables and things from recycled bicycle parts and
Tiffany Tomato To be fair,
she's way beyond the dumpster diving category. I first saw her "Refocus"
room divider made of recycled film canisters at a Pratt student review.
It's now in production along with other interesting designs like her "Dawn"
hanging lamp made of recycled mini-blinds. Her skirts made from the fabric
of broken umbrellas (my wife's got one) also just won an award in this
Very fun stuff by a very kewl friend of ours.
Universal & Ergonomic design
Ergonomics by itself is not eco-design, but does, by some definitions,
fit into a broader definition of sustainability which encompasses universal
AD AS Adjustable office and home
Miller Herman Miller's Aeron chair dematerialized the standard office
chair by substituting mesh for upholstery. (We like Vitra's
Meda chair better, though. Both are available through Design
Within Reach among other places.)
Humanscale Niels Diffrient's
Freedom chair is perhaps the next ergonomic step after Aeron. It looks
less like it came from the set of Brazil and more like 2001. And it's
supposed to be simpler to adjust. We couldn't find out anything about
it's greenness, though.
Wilkhahn Wilkhahn's Picto
chair was one of the first ergonomic eco office chairs -- designed for
simple repair, disassembly and take back.
Metropolis article on RISD students' designs for objects for "transitional,
" i.e. temporary housing.
Thinking out of the box
There's a lot more out there, but not with a website.
Snowcrash Not sustainable in
terms of materials, but fresh ideas and combinations of functions.
Stokke Chairs of a different color.
Actually, different shapes.
It's hard to be more eco-efficient than buying stuff that's already been
used -- especially if the alternative is it going to a landfill and you
buying something made of newly consumed materials instead. Antique stores,
vintage stores, thrift shops, flea markets, ebay, grandma's attic....
Silicone Valley's lost treasures. At least the tangible ones.
Thrifty Planet "The collective
database of businesses in the United States that sell recycled or previously
owned merchandise. Our planet resources are precious and it is important
to preserve them. I wanted to make it easier for you to reduce, reuse,
and recycle." (I can't tell how big their database is. There was nothing
listed in my zip code.. but then again I'm in the city that just eliminated
half of its recycling.)
In development or conceptual design
Same problem as the "thinking out of the box" category.
Re-f-use It's written with the
"f" crossed out, but you can't do that in HTML. There's not much on the
site yet, but if they get the exhibition on line, there'll be some great
Greener by Design Edwin Datschevsky's "Biothinking" site. Accompanies
his book "The Total Beauty of Sustainable Design."
IDRA The International Design
Resource Awards -- a competition to encourage the commercial development
of new sustainable design.
not all green, but it is all interesting, even if you're not into the
idea of living in a recycled shipping container. And their sink-wall could
go in our dumpster diving section except that you'd never find that many
matching sinks unless you searched an enormous number of dumpsters.
School of Design/Liana Cane A collaboration between the Parsons Product
Design Department and Liana Cane Labs to design producible furniture from
a sustainable material with a local owned company in Guyana.