“When I started making furniture 10 years ago, lacquer and glue odors were overpowering. I wanted to make furniture differently – with high design standards focused on sustainable development,” says designer John Berhin, founder of Green Furniture Concept.
“Sustainability is part of our core business. It makes sense,” says Berhin. “Sustainable products use less energy and material, and require less transportation. Natural products age with dignity. If we use leftover materials the furniture and textiles can become vibrant individuals – prettier, cooler and cheaper.”
Modern furniture classics
It all started with the One C chair in 2007 which overnight became a furniture classic. ‘One’ refers to the use of a single piece of (bent) wood, and ‘C’ stands for chair. Berhin developed the chair in cooperation with AB Åberg and Sons in Lönsboda, specialists in molded plywood details.
The One C has given rise to a family of benches that grace public spaces all over the world. For example, Nova C and Nova Senior furnish the Oasen space at Stockholm’s Central Station. Variants of the chair also decorate airports, universities, hotels and shopping centers. In addition to benches, the company has developed other products including lamps.
“Our furniture is probably perceived as Scandinavian. But the basic design originated in the early European Art Nouveau movement. At the same time we apply green thinking to all design stages, from concept to finished product,” says Berhin.
“We strive to use natural materials, or materials that can be effectively reused, and limit the use of chemicals. For example, our tables are oiled with a hard wax, not painted, which provides both a nice surface finish and good maintenance properties. We are developing product declarations that clearly show the furniture’s composition, like a nutrients declaration on food. For every piece of furniture that is sold, we plant a new birch tree in the vicinity of the production plants in northern Skåne. We started planting in 2008 as one way to ensure the availability of raw materials in the future.”
“We take social responsibility seriously. One example in the supply chain is T-Shirt Chair. It is produced by Yalla Trappan in Rosengård, a Malmö neighborhood, a group active with integrating immigrants into the workforce. The seat upholstery is made of leftover furniture textiles from Bogesunds Väveri,” says Berhin.
Green Furniture Award
“My goal is to develop and manufacture sustainable and quality design which is why I started a global competition to find and highlight the best concepts. The Green Furniture Award has become known and appreciated and our aim is to find new and modern concepts. Two of the winners have already become products in our range: Leaf Lamp (2010) and T-shirt Chair (2011). The jury is highly qualified and an award ceremony will be held at the Milan Furniture Fair,” concludes Berhin.
This article was published in May 2015