The patchwork aesthetic of reclaimed wood furniture has become something of an eco-cliché. Nevertheless, these charmingly elegant tables by Dutch company Herso are a cut above its peers, thanks to their unusual elliptical forms and quaint materials (apparently the steel used in some of the tables is sourced from old pig enclosures).
In addition to their graceful lines, Herso's tables all use natural collagen-based glues, and VOC-free linseed oil for topcoats and sealant. But using non-toxic and reclaimed materials is not of Herso's main goal.
Besides careful consideration of what goes into each table, in faithful adherence with the "crade-to-cradle" design philosophy (not the questionable "crade-to-cradle" certification mind you), Herso ensures that all byproducts from the furniture-making process is re-used, whether as compost, premium cat litter, industrial alcohol or biofuel, thus closing the loop on a "no-waste" lifecycle of all inputs and outputs.
Herso's conscientious policy also extends to its working hours; for example, since "heavy woodworking cannot be always avoided," to further "ease the burden on the grid," work is sometimes done on Saturdays.
Additionally, all carbon emissions from Herso's operations are offset, according to their website: “Sustainability is not an empty promise but a Herso standard starting point... additionally, for each table made from waste, we plant a new tree on 13 acres of wooded park in Heeswijk, Netherlands.”
Herso's sensible and comprehensive "big picture" approach is something we'd like to see more often, as more and more designers are incorporating reclaimed materials into their work. In the whole scheme of things, "waste" needs to be re-defined as something to be re-used, rather than thrown away, and all aspects of the production process should be re-considered for their ecological impact -- even if it means working on a weekend.