Naughtone, a brand of MillerKnoll, rolled out a collection of upholstered products made to be easily disassembled and recycled at end of life.
Zeeland-based MillerKnoll said earlier this month that its “useful, beautiful” furniture brand naughtone, based in Knaresborough, England, engaged designer Ric Frampton to create a brand-new collection of sustainable seating solutions inspired by naughtone’s popular Always collection.
The result is the Ever Chair and Sofa collection, which now is available for purchase via naughtone dealers.
“It doesn’t matter if a chair lasts for 20 years, 40 years, 100 years — if the designer wasn’t responsible and never considered what happens to the product when it no longer meets a need, it could spend eternity in a landfill,” Frampton said. “Realizing the weight of that responsibility completely changed my outlook and design process.”
According to the European Environment Bureau, 10 million metric tons of furniture are discarded in the European Union each year, with the majority being sent to either a landfill or incinerated. And while recycling rates have improved, remanufacturing accounts for less than 2% of the European Union manufacturing turnover, according to the European Remanufacturing Council.
Frampton’s first step in reshaping his design process was to educate himself on recycling, sustainable design and waste processes. He challenged himself to perceive the materials he was using as “being borrowed,” a perspective he said takes designers on a very different journey during the creation process.
“Too often, furniture designs neglect to consider the deconstruction process, creating a product that is impossible for recycling plants to take apart,” he said.
When he began the project with naughtone, Frampton started with the end in mind. The Ever Chair and Sofa collection is constructed for maximum comfort and quality while boasting a structure easily deconstructed during the recycling process. Instead of requiring specific machines not all recycling facilities are equipped with, the sofa can be broken down and recycled by hand with common tools. Its unique structure is scalable, meaning it is easy to build and, perhaps even more importantly, easy to disassemble for proper end-of-life recycling. And customers won’t need to worry about recycling it themselves — after a sofa reaches the end of its life, the sofa can be returned to naughtone via the company’s take-back program. Naughtone then will handle the rest, making sure each of the sofa’s materials make it to the right place.
The Ever sofa marks the first upholstered product naughtone has intentionally designed for circularity and easily executable end-of-life recycling, the company said.
“This is a pivotal moment for our brand,” said Grace Todd, brand specialist at naughtone. “Sustainability is a key pillar of who we are at naughtone. We are always looking for ways we can improve what we are already doing — whether that’s a new product, material, technique or something in between. We consistently strive to raise expectations and ask ourselves what’s next.”
The sofa collection features three different options, including an armchair, a two-seat love seat, and a three-seat sofa in a variety of fabrics and finishes, all backed by naughtone’s 10-year warranty.
The collection was designed to harmonize with existing naughtone furniture, such as the Always portfolio, and the Ever collection’s curves, angles and color palette are meant to make it a versatile fit for a variety of spaces.
More information about the collection is online.