The T-shirt Chair by Maria Westerberg Wins the 2011 Green Furniture Award in Sweden (Photos)


The T-shirt Chair by Maria Westerberg

Swedish designer Maria Westerberg's T-shirt Chair won this year's Green Furniture Award. According to the jury, "the chair weaves together a meaningful story using worn textiles. This up-scaling of the classical 'rag rug' becomes an unique way of upholstering. T-shirts from friends together with other textiles such as grandma's curtains, the favourite but now worn out jeans etc, melt together visually to form a colourful symphony of one's personal history". I like the way Green Furniture Sweden explain why they award some designs and honour others, and what those designs are missing that don't make the first prize. Materials, production methods, efficient use of materials and ways of disassembling and recycling play important roles but the jury is also looking for "a piece of furniture to keep and treasure; with a story to tell, that ages in a nice way, that can last beyond current trends and have the potential of becoming a classic". Here are the winner and the honourable mentions with an explanation about why they made it or didn't.1st Prize: The T-shirt Chair by Maria Westerberg

The idea behind this chair is that you use pieces of fabric to upholster the bent wire frame. You can customise the chair using textures and colours you like, but also pieces of old clothes or textiles that have a more emotional meaning to you. Green Furniture Sweden will produce the T-shirt Chair mounted with a selected colour-mix from left-overs from sofa manufacturing, which you can replace if you want to. I like the idea that the chair is continuously evolving and can be easily repaired when some of the fabric becomes dirty or worn out, but I would be interested to know how many people actually go ahead and re-make their chair once they grow tired of it (does it come with instructions?). Maybe the production company could offer a service to re-upholster chairs according to the desires of the user...

Honourable Mention #1: The Svea Lamp by Michael Karlsson

Made from 50% recycled PET bottles and wood, the lamp was honoured due to "its graceful playfulness, utilizing a classical lamp shape that `provides a soft touch". What the jury didn't like was that the moulded polyester fibers only contain 50% of recycled material, which, I would like to add, also prevents it from being upcycled.

Honourable Mention #2: TLOC by La Mamba

This elegant workdesk for home offices or hotels closes up in a smart way in order to hide away the workload. It is made from local wood using biodegradable glue and water based varnish. The part of the life cycle which it doesn't take into consideration (yet?) is the distribution, because it cannot be flat-packed, which would save a lot of emissions and packaging during transportation.

Honourable Mention #3: The 'Rendez-vous' chandelier by Peter Mäkelä

The same happens with designer Peter Mäkela's design: it has to be transported in its full size which makes it quite inefficient. Moreover, the bent wood has a lots of glue added during the manufacturing process. The chandelier however is of a very elegant design and uniqueness.

Honourable Mention #4: 'Keystone' key hanger by Colm Keller

This is a great design and the only reason it didn't qualify for the award is that it is not a piece of furniture, it is a product, which however, is born from the waste from the furniture industry (nice irony!). Hopefully Designer Colm Keller will find a production house soon to turn the wood waste into slick and very practical key hangers, very suitable for hotels I'd say!

Great to see some of the thoughts the jury had while selecting the winners; that way the designers and anyone interested can learn something, and better understand what it takes to make furniture sustainable. We know now that it is not all about the materials. For more information, visit Green Furniture Sweden.

Tags: Awards | Bent Plywood | Chairs | Concepts & Prototypes | Design Competitions | Designers | Do It Yourself | Furniture | Lighting | Recycling | Small Spaces | Sweden | Tables | Upcycling

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