Dezeen Showroom: British furniture brand Another Country has launched the Work Series II table, which combines timber and recycled plastic in a bid to make a more sustainable product for changeable office environments.
Shortlisted in the workplace design category of the Dezeen Awards 2022, the Work Series II table features a frame made from eucalyptus wood with a tabletop insert made entirely from recycled yoghurt pots by Welsh manufacturer Smile Plastics.
The resulting material has a terrazzo-like appearance, with flecks from the foil lids adding metallic hints to the surface.
Another Country designed Work Series II in-house after setting out to create a workplace table that would use recycled and renewable materials, have a minimal carbon footprint, emit no harmful VOCs and would be fit for future disassembly and recycling.
This led the company, which normally manufactures in wood and other natural materials, to work with plastic for the first time.
"We champion natural materials but that doesn't mean that there aren't other solutions that are equally valid, maybe sometimes better," Another Country founder Paul de Zwart told Dezeen.
"You can't really recycle timber," he added. "You can obviously reuse it but if you burn it or dispose of it, you release the carbon that's embedded."
"The workplace has a high turnover of furniture. So inevitably, while we may design for things to last, in an office environment they are unlikely to do so. The amount of office furniture that gets thrown out annually is shocking."
The idea with the removable, recyclable tops is that after five or ten years – when office furniture would often be thrown out – the furniture can instead be freshened up by replacing the tops and keeping the frames.
Smile Plastics would then buy the tops back and recycle them again to form new products.
Another departure for the brand was the use of eucalyptus wood, which was chosen in an attempt to ease the demand for the most popular timbers, which are increasingly in short supply. The wood is also fast-growing and abundant in Portugal, where Another Country manufactures.
According to De Zwart, it was a challenge to get the two materials to cooperate because both react differently to their environments and eucalyptus is more "unstable" than other hardwoods.
But Another Country found a solution by designing their connections so they can be adjusted to make the surfaces sit close to flush with each other.
The Work Series II table is constructed using glue with no added formaldehyde and coated with zero-VOC plant-based finishes.
The design is a follow-up to the brand's previous Work Series furniture collection, launched in 2017 to help make offices feel more warm and domestic.
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