Make a difference: support Jo-Anne McArthur’s fundrasing for the coming book ”HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene”, by We Animals Media. Contributions by McArthur as well as thirty acclaimed photojournalists, directing their cameralenses on the use and abuse of animals. WAM is based in Toronto, Canada.
Is Covid-19 the wake-up call we need go cruelty free? We know that killing and eating animals, especially in unsanitary ways, exacerbate the spread of disease. Factory farms and slaughterhouses, live markets and wet markets, livestock transport…These spaces help epidemics thrive. We also do know that lots of ”natural material” used for design objects origin from factory farming and practises harming not only animals but people and nature as well.
End the wild animal trade. End factory farming. Go CFD– Cruelty Free Design. Everywhere. In all countries. Now.
Pics by Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media.
Duck in a Hanoi food market.
Egg factory farming, Spain. A dead bird lies on the egg conveyor belt.
Hens in battery cages on a factory farm, Sweden.
A hen trapped in the bars of a battery cage in an industrial egg-laying barn, Sweden.
Egg-laying hens confined in battery cages on a factory farm, Spain.
A destressed pig gnaws on a metal bar inside a factory farm, Finland.
A sow and her litter, nursing inside a gestation crate in an Italian factory farm.
Line of pigs, confined and isolated by metal bars, Italy.
Young pigs stand on body of dead piglet, Sweden.
An interesting take on sustainability for the every day is Forgo, a new venture from Swedish Design Studio Form Us With Love. The aim of the project is to reconfigure basic personal care products, starting with handwash. As liquid personal care products mostly consists of water, excluding water make a difference when it comes to production and transport. But it also challenges our habits.
”Why ship it around in plastic bags and bottles when it’s possible to do better?” says John Lofgren, Creative Director at Form Us With Love. The pump function is driven by air and air + water is what make the liquid foam. Into a soft formula, easy to apply and with a natural or very discrete scent. Washed off with water it left nothing but comfort. And I was pleased that what goes into the drain makes no harm to nature.
The outer packaging of Forgo is made from recycled paper and cardboard. When ordering a refill it comes with three sachets, in the scents of your choice. One fragrance is distilled from timber yard scraps (wood actually!) and another from leftover peels and pulp from an organic juicing plant.
One sachet contains twelve grams of powder which makes a full bottle of foaming hand wash when adding 250 ml water.
Some handwork before handwash: Add water to the high tech natural soap powder and shake the bottle!
Forgo handwash by Form Us With Love (2020). Comes as powder in three scents. A reusable glass container with pump function is included with first order. Photo copyright Jonas Lindström Studio/Form Us With Love.
Stockholm Design Week is up-and-running and during its first day I was delighted to meet with four longtime favourites dressed up in lots and lots and lots of colour! Bolon, ever so fun and stylish! Montana, the very essence of sophisticated Scandi colour schemes. TAF, as orange and conceptual as ever. And Svenskt Tenn, where maximalism rules and you’re welcome to loose yourself in the eclectic world of Estrid Ericson and Josef Frank. It makes me happy to find contemporary interpretations of colour applied with such love and great skill!
Bolon do not present news this year. Instead they’ve digged into their existing collection and played with it, trying out new ”outfits” and stepping up on an imaginary stage. ”The Art of Performance” (2020) is a magical trip into the curious minds of sisters/third generation owners Annica and Marie Eklund. Inspiration is drawn from fashion, art as well as photography. And the result is an inspiring new take on sustainable flooring. Take a look:
”The Art of Performance” by Bolon (2020). Bolon flooring in new combinations, CO2 neutral production, certified by several environmental standards. Photo and video copyright Bolon.
At the launch at Montana, CEO Joakim Lassen presented Mini, created in collaboration with his father, the late Peter Lassen. With Mini the fab danes make room not only for personality but for accessability to qualitative design. Montana Mini comes with smaller proportions as the regular modular system, and not as many alternative units and colours. ”Today there’s already so many choices to face in our daily life”, says Joakim Lassen. And explains how Montana deals with new customer habits, like online shopping. ”When you’re buying furniture online it is not suitable with, let’s say, several shades of white to choose between”, says Joakim Lassen. ”To make it easier for our clients we’ve created a system of moduls with fewer parts, fewer colours, fewer choices”. Even so, less is as much Montana as ever and Mini cover most needs for storage in a home.
Montana Mini, by Peter and Joakim Lassen (2020). Available in 3 versions (open, closed, shelved), in 10 matching colours. The modules snap together with strong magnets securing that the storage i aligned, and maintaining the sleek, clean lines that is the trademark style of Montana. Photo copyright Montana.
TAF design studio, with founders Gabriella Gustafson and Mattias Ståhlbom, has made a strong interpretation of Svenskt Tenn and the premium segment of handmade furniture from Sweden. The sofa Famna (”Embrace”) is huge and heavy, stands steady on the floor and is a given ”piece of conversation”: Inspired by a generous comfy bed or classic bath-tub, and the feel when you slowly let yourself into the warm and comforting… to relax.
Famna, sofa by TAF for Svenskt Tenn (2020). Handmade construction and upholstering by O.H Sjögrens Furniture Factory in Tranås, Sweden. Comes in several textiles, from classic Brazil by Josef Frank to a luxurious orange velvet. Photo copyright Svenskt Tenn.
My yearlong project to reduce my carbon footprint has come to its end and I’v reached my goal; a total below 1 tons CO2/year. Today 0.7 is my new starting point.* The challenge 2020 will be to keep the footprint at this level. The ”Reducing CO2” has been a follow up on my earlier sustainability projects like ”No Plastic” and ”No Food Waste”. And a possibility for me to go into detail and challenge my own habits.
In my business I’v recognized the beauty of 100% sustainable production, lending transparency and circular thinking into each and every project. Thank you dear clients who believed in me!
* The average CO2 emissions per capita for Sweden is app. 4.47 metric tons (2019).
Frösakull, the summer dwelling of Swedish furniture designer Bruno Mathsson (1907–1988), has been an inspiration for me during my aim to implement a sustainable lifestyle yet cherishing qualitative design and architecture. Simplicity at its best! Photo copyright Bruno Mathsson International.
December is upon us and with only a few hours of daylight good lighting is important. Many Scandi brands use models from their archive alongside creating new design. How nice it is to find my favourite pendant by Alvar Aalto in production again!
Pendant Light A201 by Alvar Aalto for the library of Säynätsalo Town Hall in central Finland (1952). Standard white with brass details. In production by Artek (2019). Photo copyright Artek.
A201 by Alvar Aalto in situ at the the library of Säynätsalo Town Hall in Finland. Standard white with brass details. In production by Artek (2019). Photo copyright Artek.
Relaunching classics is a way to use what you’ve got and bring forth timeless quality. Sustainability in thought and action has always been a trademark of Artek. Pendant Light A201 Red by Alvar Aalto (1952) comes in a limited edition during 2020. Photo copyright Artek.
Last week a live export trade ship carrying 14 600 sheep destined for Saudi Arabia, capsized in Romania. Left to sink with the ship, these gentle animals didn’t stand a chance from the moment they were sold into the live export trade. A few hours after the accident Animals Australia, a non-profit organization working to stop live export, set up a protest online. Add your signature here, and ask the government of Romania and the European Union to end this trade of suffering.
Now you may wonder how this trade is connected to climate change? The answer is very simple: Many countries around the globe is suffering from water shortage which has affected the local raising of cattle, sheep and other animals (breeding cattle is one very water demanding ”business”). Since some years now the demand for meat in (mainly) the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey has made export of live animals into a big business. Huge leather and wool industries are putting profit before an ethical treatment of animals, workers and nature. The result is a suffering almost impossible to comprehend. You can read facts about the trade of live stock in numerous reports. An estimated two million sheep and one million cattle are transported each year from European Union member states to the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. And every year app. 3 million sheep cast off from the wool industry are exported from Australia to the Middle East and North Africa where they’re slaughtered for meat.
By not avoiding the cruel facts of how animals, people and nature are used and abused in the face of climate change you can make a difference. Act on what you learn about the where, how, by whom and of what your design item, clothes and food is ”produced”.
The city of Paris say’s no to wild animals on circus from 2022. Thus following 18 EU countries and lots of cities world wide. The use and abuse of wildlife in captivity is highly questioned today as we’ve learned about the dark side of trading animals for entertainment, labour, experiments and ”production” of ”natural materials” like leather and feather. Part from being an ethical question, the use and abuse of animals for the benefit of humans is connected to sustainability issues. Food production is one huge provider to climate change. The leather trade another. Always ask ”from where, by whom and of what” the design item is made. If a producer/shop cannot give this information to you, you should think twice before buying that handsome chair, blanket, cushion or rug…
Say no to the abuse of wild animals in entertainment! Photo copyright DR/Shutterstock.
Danish Montana is world famous for their colourful shelving system designed by Peter J Lassen who founded the company in 1982. From start he declared the intention to work with a combination of contemporary design and sustainability. Montana became one of the first Danish businesses to run, as Lassen formulated it, ”a cradle-to-grave analyses of the environmental consequences of every given product”. No other Scandi furniture brand has achivied such high standard considering sustainable production, design level, working environmental and worksplace safety etc. In 2007 the brand developed their own, water-based, surface lacquer in collaboration with the Danish government. Earlier this Fall Montana was awarded, the official EU Ecolabel.
In August 2019 Peter J Lassen, shortly before he passed away at the age of 88, recorded this video where he explains how Montana Furniture came into existence and what constitutes the ”design DNA” of the brand. Take a few moments and enjoy! Video copyright Montana.
In 2019 Montana launched a new palette developed in collaboration with colour expert Margrethe Odgaard. Photo copyright Montana.
Montana shelving system palette by Margrethe Odgaard for Montana (2019), certified with EU Ecolabel and the Indoor Climate Label. Here a combination in colours Mushroom and White Oak. The objective of the EU Ecolabel is to reduce the overall environmental impact of the production and consumtion of goods. The label looks at the entire product’s life cycle and the environmental problems that might arise along the way – for the benefit of people, the environment and the earth’s resources. Photo copyright Montana.
Montana uses exclusively PEFC-certified wood in their production, which takes place in Denmark, on the island of Funen.The production is certified according to ISO 14001 (environmental) and OHSAS 18001 (occupational, health and safety). 160 craftsmen work in the hyper tech factory. Photo copyright Montana.
This time of the year my mailbox is bursting with pics of lazy summer life. This because the outdoor furniture of 2020 will soon be presented, at the international furniture fairs in Stockholm, London, Paris and Milan…Let’s indulge in summer beauties from Danish brand Skagerak – a family-owned company founded in 1976, working with the combination of contemporary Nordic design and sustainability. Skagerak is a certified B Corp business since 2016, which mean they strive to keep the utmost quality in three aspects: design, production and their relation to people and the planet.
Gerda table and bench, by Included Middle (Chris L Halstrom and Margrethe Odgaard) for Skagerak (2020). The sleak minimalistic structure in environmental friendly aluminium has got very well drawn details, like the perforated top inspired by the work of Danish weaving pioneer Gerda Henning (1891–1951) who designed textiles for brands like Kaare Klint and Börge Mogensen. Photo copyright Skagerak.
Gerda table and stool, by Included Middle for Skagerak (2020). Aluminium. Photo copyright Skagerak.
Lily series of furniture for outdoor and indoor use. Designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) for Skagerak (2020). FCS-certified teak, stainless steel. Photo copyright Skagerak.
Over time the untreated wood in the Lily series will patinate into a silver-gray colour. During the summer you use the furniture outdoors, then you bring it into your home or office during the winter. I like the double function! Lily is beautifully manufactured and there’s an air of simple summer life about it. Photo copyright Skagerak.
Lily bench by BIG for Skagerak (2020). The bench will last, at least, a lifetime of use, but the design also allows it to be used as a sidetable. The Edge Pot by Stilleben (Ditte Reckweg and Jelena Nordentoft) is hand-thrown in terracotta and comes in both an indoor and outdoor version. Photo copyright Skagerak.
Winter… and it is time to start using the traditional Swedish mittens again. My colleague Jenny Berge runs the fab handicraft shop Svensk Hemslöjd in Stockholm. To celebrate their 120 year anniversary this November, Jenny Berge has produced DIY-sets of mittens (”stickkitt” in Swedish) in three slightly updated traditional patterns. If you have thought about giving knitting a try…this is your opportunity to make your very own handsome handwear! The material is the best quality certified wool from New Zealand, produced by Klippan. Don’t miss out!
Swedish Mittens – DIY knitting set by Jenny Berge for Svensk Hemslöjd (2019). Comes in a set with 100 g natural white wool and 10 g wool in chosen accent colours. Pattern and instruction included (in Swedish). Photo copyright Svensk Hemslöjd.
It is snowing in Old Town and what could be more ”in season” than an iconic Scandi blanket in an updated contemporary colour scheme! Mega Crux is a playful exaggeration in scale and abstraction of the Crux Blanket, designed by Pia Wallén in 1991. As with all design by Pia Wallén there’s an interesting story behind the designprocess, but as for now let’s enjoy the high quality, including sustainable visuality, sustainable production and sustainable materials. The blanket is wowen and mended by gifted craftsmen in Scottland. Scandinavian contemporary design is a magic world of sophisticated colours. It might look simple, but it is a simplicity bringing about a beautiful aesthetic of reduction, which also has become the signum of Pia Wallén. Love it!
Mega Crux Blanket by Pia Wallén (2019). Certified lambswool and cashmere wool. Size 135 x 210 cm. Comes in colours Sand/Offwhite, Yellow/Beige and Brown/Grey. Photo copyright Pia Wallén.
Mega Crux Blanket by Pia Wallén (2019). Photo copyright Pia Wallén.
Mega Crux Blanket by Pia Wallén (2019). Photo copyright Pia Wallén.