Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste to make sustainable furniture
Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture

Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture

Swedish design collective Malmö Upcycling Service says "you can't sit with us" unless you rethink the sustainability of your production methods, in an exhibition of furniture made from recycled materials.

You Can't Sit With Us! Unless... features eight chairs and stools, each created by a different designer from repurposed waste materials such as canvas, vinyl, wood, leather and foam.

Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture

On show at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, the exhibition aims to challenge the Scandinavian furniture industry to scrutinise the sustainability of its production methods. Exhibiting brands are asked to complete a questionnaire, rating how high their ambitions are for sustainable production.

As a play on the well-known quote from 2004 American teen comedy film Mean Girls, the designers state "You can't sit with us! Unless... you also work towards circular solutions in your business."

They believe the furniture industry could be more circular by reducing and recycling waste material from production, but also by taking responsibility for products after use.

If a company rates highly in all three of these requirements, it is invited to "take a seat" alongside MUS.

Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture

"In this project and exhibition we wanted to create a lasting impression with the viewer," the designers told Dezeen.

"We knew we needed to get the attention of industry people to really question the role of the designer and producer as well as examine their own production from a sustainability standing point."

"We also wanted to distance ourselves a little from the classic aesthetics of Scandinavian design and create something bold that would stand out."

Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture

The eight designers involved in the exhibition are Sonja Signäs, Linda Claesson, Matilda Ulvbielke, Anna Gudmundsdottir, Ellen Berglund, Oskar Olsson, Maja Lindh and Julia Knutas.

The designs differ, but each one has a modern, blocky aesthetic, finished in red and white.

"As part of our manifesto, we try to combine materials and experiment with the different aesthetics that the material combinations create," said the designers.

"We also think about how to design products for disassembly so materials can be reused or recycled again, minimising our own waste in the design process."

Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture

Malmö Upcycling Service (MUS) produced the furniture collection with the help of local manufacturers in Malmö specialising in the production of various materials, in order to find the best way to refine and process the materials using as little energy as possible.

All props used in the creation of MUS' stand at the design fair were also made from waste materials, in keeping with the studio's ethos.

In addition to taking waste foam from the production of sofas and beds, the designers also used joist and plywood discarded from various construction trades, and leather from a closed shoe workshop in Malmö.

Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture

However most of the materials used in the collection, such as the canvas and vinyl, were sourced from a boat-cover manufacturer. This industry that produces large amounts of waste, said the designer, as it requires large volumes of material.

Designed to be hard-wearing and to endure all types of weather conditions, these materials are high-quality and strong, making them suitable for use in furniture production.

Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture

"We share an unshakable will to challenge and encourage the industry to work in a more sustainable manner, as well as create conditions for circular manufacturing," said the team.

"You Can’t Sit With Us, Unless... puts value on waste material and challenges the way we look at our resources," they continued.

"Most importantly, this collection is an exhortation supporting those who already design in sustainable manners, and an urge for those who must step up their game."

At last year's DesignMarch festival in Iceland, the Swedish studio similarly repurposed waste materials from Swedish brick, glass, acrylic, stone, and sheet metal manufacturers to create a range of decorative home objects, including a coffee table and a circular mirror.

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Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture
Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture
Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture
Malmö Upcycling Service repurposes waste materials to make sustainable furniture