The World’s Most Beloved Furniture Designs Are Being Reimagined With Sustainability in Mind

Helena Madden

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Messing with the work of a revered master is usually considered a bad idea. Yet as environmental concerns become more and more top-of-mind, even the design world’s most beloved pieces have come under the sustainability microscope. We’re not suggesting you toss your prized Transat chair—it wouldn’t be very green of you if you did—but if you’re in the market for a re-edition, consider one that reworks the original with more eco-conscious materials and production.

“These masterpieces are brought back to life by us editing them,” says Lissa Carmona, CEO of Etel, a Brazilian furniture manufacturer that works in sustainable reissues. “It’s faithful to the original project, but updated per contemporary concerns.”

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LC1 Armchair

Few seats are as instantly recognizable as the one created by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand. Cassina’s re-issue of the LC1 armchair improves on the original formula by using trivalent chrome plating instead of traditional hexavalent; the former is a far less toxic process than the latter but still maintains the chair’s signature sheen.

LBB Tea Trolley

Brazilian designers have a tradition of respect for the environment, so it comes as no surprise that the wood used for their re-editions would be sustainably sourced. Etel is a leader on that front, harvesting a tree only after it has produced saplings or died naturally. None of the lumber goes to waste. The dark honey and walnut seen in this reissue of Lina Bo Bardi’s tea trolley follows this process, which helps ensure a forest is never picked clean.

Bulbo57

We’re all for the longevity that LEDs offer, but they’re justifiably criticized for producing a harsher, colder light than incandescent bulbs. Thankfully, some manufacturers have figured out how to create LEDs with a warmer glow. Among them is Flos, with a reissue of Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni’s Bulbo57 lamp that appears to feature the same filaments as when it was first designed in the ’50s. Originally slated for a spring release, it’s been pushed back to the fall.

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