Take a look around you. How many of the furnishings you see incorporate waste material? In ten years' time, the likelihood that that number is substantially higher is probable. As new technologies afford greater material innovation, so open the possibilities to expand the boundaries of design. Here are seven seats which prove just that.

Photo: Annegien van Doorn

REX

Ineke Hans

Although Dutch industrial designer Ineke Hans designed Rex to last a lifetime, the fully recyclable chair – which is made from nylon recycled from the likes of fishing nets, carpets and office chair components – can be returned at any stage for a partial refund. The product’s manufacturer, Circuform – a new brand that aims to minimize the use of raw materials and to maximize reuse – is responsible for giving Rex a second life. 

FIBER CHAIR RECYCLED

Muuto

With its own name meaning ‘new perspective’ in Finnish, Muuto holds exactly that with the relaunch of the now iconic Fiber Armchair and Side Chair, originally designed by Iskos-Berlin, in a lower impact rendition. Having initially launched the plastic shell chairs in 2014, the studio has reinterpreted the design, namely its materials: the shells of the chairs utilize a composite material consisting of a minimum 80 per cent recycled plastic – recovered post-industrial waste from eyewear manufacturing.

ERMIS CHAIR 

The New Raw

Seeing potential to harness plastic waste generated in their Rotterdam facilities, the team at The New Raw brought a limited-edition run of their Ermis Chair to fruition. Waste in a variety of colours is combined to give the seats their distinctive look, which are 3D-printed from a single-spiral plastic thread, eliminating the need for toxic glues and varnishes. After use the 100 per cent-recyclable chairs are meant to be crushed and shredded to eventually end up as new design pieces. 

Photo: Raffaele Merler

COUCH-19

Atelier Tobia Zambotti 

Cigarette butts, food and drink . . . single-use face masks – the protective gear has quickly become a common form of litter. Despite being made of layers of plastic, medical waste masks can’t be recycled in conventional facilities. So Atelier Tobia Zambotti visualized a way this pollution could be utilized in design. Couch-19 is an iceberg-shaped pouf that shows a means of repurposing discarded, disinfected masks: using them as stuffing.

X-CHAIR

Out

Constructed from 100 per cent recycled polypropylene dyed matte black, Out’s X-Chair is the work of Hermann August Weizenegger. The sleek, multifunctional X-Chair, designed in parallel to the opening of a solo exhibition focused on Weizenegger at the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts, is envisioned for indoor and outdoor use. After use, a consumer can return the piece to Out for it to be shredded into granulate, which is then put back into production.

Photo: Arne Jennard

RICHARD

EcoBirdy 

Available in a black and neutral tone, the Richard armchair by EcoBirdy raises awareness about plastic waste originating from household trash. Design duo Vanessa Yuan and Joris Vanbriel envisaged an ergonomic set suited for indoor or outdoor and private or public use. The armchair – which can support a user during work or extended seating – is accompanied by Judy, a side table.

HOW TO BE AT REST

Christopher Joshua Benton 

Artist Christopher Joshua Benton sourced used chairs from industrial neighbourhoods in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah for his exhibition How to Be at Rest. Benton’s aim was to celebrate vernacular design by highlighting craftsmanship and the use of simple materials, encouraging the audience to think about what the chairs say about the makers and their surroundings while asking what can be learnt from the objects and what they can teach us about sustainability.