The contest, titled Nordic Design Competition: Sustainable Chairs, was launched to promote the production of climate-smart furniture in Scandinavia.
A maximum of ten works from each of the Nordic countries – Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland – were shortlisted in the first part of the jury process. Of these ten, one winner was chosen from each country.
The Swedish jury selected David Ericsson's completely recyclable Petite chair as its country's winner. The judges applauded its lightweight deciduous timber design for being "extremely resource efficient" and having a "low CO2 footprint".
Nikolaj Thrane Carlsen won the Danish category with his chair made from seaweed. Inspired by the seaweed roofs found on Læsø in Denmark, the shell of The Coastal Furniture chair is made of a 100 per cent biodegradable seaweed composite.
Made of recyclable materials, of which 50 per cent are recycled post-consumer plastics, Peter Opsvik's HÅG Capisco chair won the Norwegian category. Although originally launched over thirty years ago, the classic office chair has been constantly updated and refined over the years according to users' feedback.
Sölvi Kristjánsson recycled scrap cork and aluminium taken from 14,400 discarded tea lights to create the Kollhrif stool which won the Icelandic category. The stool was designed to create awareness about recycling aluminium in Iceland.
The Clash 331 chair by Samuli Naamanka won over the Finnish jury with its "beautiful and durable design" that is made exclusively in Lahti, Finland using both old woodworking techniques and modern methods of production. The chair's ash seat sits on angular legs that are made from lacquered solid Finnish certified wood.
The competition was announced in September 2018 when the Nordic Council of Ministers put out a call to designers across the Nordic countries to "look at your current portfolio with fresh eyes and check it out from a sustainability perspective."
The winning designs will be presented in December at the Nordic pavilion during the UN's Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice, Poland. After the Summit, the chairs will be moved to Design Werck in Copenhagen where they will be displayed for a year.
The five chairs will also be assessed by a researcher, who will reflect on their relation to the 17 UN sustainable development goals.
The competition has been arranged by the Danish Design Centre, in collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers and its international profiling project, The Nordics.
Organisations promoting design in each country were also involved, including DOGA (Design and Architecture Norway), DDC (Danish Design Centre), Iceland Design Centre and Ornamo Art and Design Finland.
"The global awareness of sustainability is rapidly affecting customer demands," said Tobias Grut, Brand Manager for The Nordics, Nordic Council of Ministers. "In the future, we will need less consumption, less manufacture, less stuff – more circular thinking, more holistic production and more considerate action."
"In a truly democratic way, we have reached out to all Nordic designers to take part in the competition, not just established companies and producers," he continued.
Dezeen will announce the winners of its own Dezeen Awards at a ceremony in London later this month where winning projects will incorporate positive thinking around social impact and sustainability. Judging criteria have been carefully considered to ensure that the winning projects are not only beautiful and innovative but also strive to benefit users and the environment.