A Beginner’s Guide To Alternative Furniture

Is alternative furniture the future?

Maybe it is!

I know, I know… I had my reservations, too. So, what changed my mind?

Futuristic furniture designs are often lightweight, affordable, stylish, and compact yet durable. Plus, whether you’re a student looking for a cheaper alternative or an interior design aficionado hopping on the next trend, there’s an affordable and fashionable option for all. 

But, beyond aesthetics and practicality, most up-and-coming alternative furniture designers have considered sustainability and the eco-friendliness of their designs. From using recyclable or recycled fabrics, to needing less materials to create products, this trend seems to be the way forward if you’re concerned about your impact on the environment as a consumer.

Have I piqued your interest? Here is my beginner’s guide to alternative furniture:

Cardboard Furniture

Designers at Room In A Box and Nordwerk Design are using cardboard as an alternative material for their furniture designs. While consumers may be concerned that their purchases will crumple and fold within minutes of assembly, the CEO of Room In A Box – Gerald Dissen – assures that each of their pieces has a lifespan of approximately ten years.

The corrugated cardboards are made up from strong kraft papers, which are durable and stop liquid spills turning the furniture to mulch. Equally, the designs themselves use systems and structures inspired from architecture to provide stability. Furthermore, the companies use environmentally friendly adhesives and construct their designs by hand, making them more sustainable than other brands.

While cardboard seems like an odd choice for sleek and sophisticated interior design, the pieces available are stunningly simple – perfect for fans of modern art and minimalism.

Did you know: The switch to furniture made from recycled cardboards can ease your mind from the guilt of the environmental impact of wooden furniture. The rate at which wood is harvested for furniture contributes to an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, which impacts climate change. 

Origami Pop-Up Furniture

Last year, Sergio Roca, designed the FLUP rug that uses the concept of origami to pop-up into a structure that can be used as a seat, nightstand, footrest, and more. At the same time, former SpaceX employee Brian Ignaut (Degrees of Freedom), also launched his own collapsible furniture range, whose centrepiece is an incredible foldable table. The folding elements are artistic and move almost hypnotically, plus the collection is limited edition. As a result, the furniture comes with a heftier price tag.

Origami furniture is a perfect space-saving option for those living in smaller homes. If you can find multi-functional items, even better!

It’s not the first time that designers have experimented with the idea of origami. In 2013, Ying Zhang and Ida Thonsgaard fused Asian and Scandinavian cultures in a furniture collection called “Playtime”. They used tessellated triangles and Nordic materials to design flat boards which folded into various furniture formations and secured themselves with strong magnets. 

Puzzle Furniture

Developers of a no-tools, hassle-free, flat-pack furniture collection, Staxxiom, based their products on the concept of simplicity and sustainability. To demonstrate this point, the company’s Kickstarter video shows young children slotting the furniture together with ease. Modern, sleek designs meet functionality and the manufacturing process maximises the use of materials to reduce wastage.

Moreover, the high-quality, environmentally-friendly materials, crossed with clever structural design, offers strength and durability.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to live a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle, but still care about interior design, it’s worth checking out alternative furniture designers. This trend is most suitable for those who enjoy the simplicity of minimalism, but even those who prefer a cosier interior can dress up these designs with throws and other soft furnishings. 

Posted on October 20th 2021

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