Montana proves sustainability can come in many colours – 42, to be exact

London – When I bumped into Skagerak CEO Jesper Panduro outside the Eco Townhouse at the London Design Festival, he was wearing a Patagonia cap. That was rather appropriate: it was a literal tip of the hat from Skagerak to the sustainability and ethical practices of the California-based outdoors brand. As Panduro explained, both companies are part of the B Corp, a certification for benefit corporations that meet the highest standards for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

So it was no surprise that the Danish homewares brand was chosen by lifestyle retailer Skandium, along with the equally-minded Montana, to outfit its four-storey townhouse with a selection of sustainably made products.

Companies are the most powerful drivers in terms of making the world a better place

Montana’s own story is also one of green accountability: CEO Joakim Lassen was an environmental consultant for over 10 years, constantly producing reports for factories on how to improve their sustainability practices. In 1999 he took over the family-owned company in Haarby and was able to apply every single lesson learned on his previous job. ‘I finally got the chance to build my own factory, and everything there is produced under fair working conditions for our employees, and in a way that does not harm our world,’ he explained. That included making their own set of environmental accounts in conjunction with the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. ‘We know how much waste we produce in one year, and how much pollution will end up in the air. By doing this, we are conscious about the impact of our production. In the end, companies are the most powerful drivers in terms of making the world a better place.’

What makes Montana’s production so outstanding is that, even with these controls in place, they prove that sustainability can come in many colours – 42, to be exact. The interior at the Eco Townhouse, designed by Helena Laursen, is not the typical setup that comes to mind when thinking of eco-friendly interiors. Laursen, the head of spatial designs at Montana, showcased a selection of the rich, timeless water-based shades in their collection – that’s no coincidence, considering the fact that Montana was the winner of the 2018 Frame Award for best use of colour at the Milan Design Week.

Their other concern, though, is that these furniture items are timeless in more ways than one: any new colour they produce has to match the current collection, so people don’t feel the need to replace the pieces, but instead mix-and-match their interiors with smaller additions. ‘Our furniture will survive from generation to generation, and can be moved from room to room as the home’s needs change,’ Lassen said. A good example of that is the new IV collection, a modular open-storage system with soft adjustable fabric panels – via fellow Danes Kvadrat.

Skagerak, on the other hand, is focusing on a more transparent supply chain. Known for its wooden furniture, the company has created an interactive world map that shows where every bit of the material was sourced from – keeping in mind the balance between the production and depletion rate of each forest. They are also producing certain pieces with social inclusivity in mind. For example, Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm’s Vent stool, on display at the house, was made by hand by visually impaired craftsmen from local NGO Blindes Arbejde.

During this year’s London Design Festival, the theme at the Brompton Design District was Material Consequences. To see furniture brands such as Montana and Skagerak, who manage and address not just the consequences, but the causes of consumption, is a more than positive harbinger of future change. They are also living proof that, in this time of questioning and transitioning with ingenuity, there isn’t a single right way to produce sustainably – there are many. ‘The important thing is to do something,’ Lassen added.

Location The Skandium Townhouse, 31 Thurloe Place, London SW7 2HQ

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