Snøhetta Recycles a Classic Chair Design and a Lot of Old Fishing Nets

©. Snøhetta

A square chair for a circular economy.

The circular economy, as defined by the Ellen MacArthur foundation, "entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system." It is based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems
Now Snøhetta has designed what might be called a circular chair, made from recycled plastic and steel.
The aim has been to understand plastic as a material, its journey and footprint in the value chain, as well as its inherent qualities. A key ambition is to shift the public’s attitude toward used plastic, from regarding it as waste to seeing it as a valuable resource that should be employed in new ways once it has served its original purpose.
The material used in the production of the S-1500 chair is provided by local fish farming companies like Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett and Nova Sea, that supply NCP with worn-out fish nets, ropes and pipes from their operations. Once these components are worn out they can be collected, processed and subsequently grinded [sic] into a granulate that can be injected into formwork, generating endless of possibilities for developing new objects. In this way, the project contributes to building a local, circular economy, as it employs plastic waste from the local industry to produce chairs in the same area.
Snohetta S1500 chair straight on

© SnøhettaThe circular chair has a rectangular hole, because it is a homage to Norwegian modernist Bendt Winge’s classic R-48 chair from the late sixties. Because it is made from recycled plastic, there is an almost marble-like pattern in the dark green surface. You are not going to get the bright orange or other colours that you get in a new chair. But this is something we should get used to.

In order to reduce the need to produce new, virgin plastic, consumers and industry need to acknowledge the value inherent in used plastic and find ways to substitute virgin plastic with recycled material. With the development of the S-1500 chair, Snøhetta hopes to inspire people to employ waste material in new and sustainable ways through innovation and design.

Snohetta S1500 chair

© SnøhettaI am hoping that this will become a new design aesthetic, a patina of age built right into the new, a message that this product was something else before it became a chair.