The Thames table is a coffee table with a smooth, veined material forming its tabletop and legs that looks, at first glance, like marble.
In reality, it is a solid surface material made by Paper Factor from cellulose fibres, or what the company's founder, architect Riccardo Cavaciocchi, dubs "an innovative evolution of papier-mâché".
According to Bentley — which presented the table through its furnishings arm, Bentley Home — it plans to roll out the material more widely throughout its collections in 2023.
Peri designed the table, which has a form that Bentley Home compares to an island atoll, with a contrasting veneered central element in black or burgundy held up by the marble-esque outer sections.
The tables were created by Cavaciocchi by hand in Lecce, South Italy, by layering the pulpy Paper Factor material over a wooden frame, processing it until it was dry and hard, and then sanding it down to a smooth finish.
The material is made from European, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified cellulose fibres, combined with glues and non-toxic, water-based binders and coloured with natural pigments.
According to Cavaciocchi, it completely avoids the use of plastics and fossil fuels and is made using primarily a cold production process, with heat only being required for the drying phase but no emissions being released into the environment. He also reuses the wastewater to make the next round of raw compound.
Although the processing means the material cannot be recycled as paper at the end of its life, Cavaciocchi says products can be returned to Paper Factor for recycling as a secondary raw material.
He says the material is light, durable and very low-waste, especially in comparison to real marble, which requires high energy consumption in its extraction and processing, and for which the desired shape is extracted from a whole block.
"Marble is definitely harder, but that doesn't mean Paper Factor is less durable," Cavaciocchi told Dezeen. "The surfaces are treated with class 1 anti-scratch protective coatings in the same way that wooden furniture is treated."
"Similarly, any surface scratch or damage can be repaired in the same way. In any event, the material is worked out of the mass, and every wear-and-tear mark reveals the signs of age, adding value to any imperfection."
Bentley Home is a partnership between Bentley's design team and the Luxury Living Group. It showed the Thames table along with other new furniture in its 2023 collection at Milan design week.
The luxury car brand describes the Home brand as affirming the design features that its vehicles are known for, with "well-defined lines, the skilful use of wood, iconic curves and contoured shapes".
Other sustainable material innovations showcased at Milan design week included a table made from recycled wind turbines and a children's stool made from recycled olive pits, both part of the Ro Plastic Prize exhibition.