Best Of TH: Sustainable Designers, Part I


TreeHugger spends a lot of time poring over sustainable design websites, books, magazines and the like, and, though a lot of it catches our eye, only a select few can be considered "the best" that we've seen. Over the past sixteen months or so, we've done our darndest to show the world at large that beautiful, breathtaking, sexy design can merge with a sustainable ethos of environmental and social responsibility. Over the next two weeks, we'll bring you our favorite sixteen product designers, retailers and manufacturers working today to make the world a greener place. If your favorite isn't on the designers list today, don't fret! There are 12 more coming, so if you want to be sure we don't miss your favorite, leave it in the comments section below. We'll start today with Peter Danko, Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf, Charlie Lazor and Rogan Gregory. Each may not be a household name, but regular TreeHugger readers are sure to recognize their designs. Read on for the details...

Peter Danko is the braintrust behind the designs of Danko/Persing, which, as far as we're concerned, is the birthplace of eco-modernism and one of the best showcases of sustainable design. Their furniture, ranging from seats to benches to chairs to tables, is largely made with ply-bent wood, recycled materials for seat suspension padding and non-toxic, water-based adhesives. It is simple, yet sophisticated, and Danko's new designs (like the Cricket Chair) have yet to disappoint us. ::Peter Danko
It's difficult for us to mention the words "sustainable design" without thinking of Herman Miller; the Aeron Chair is perhaps the most recognizable (and imitated) of these contemporary designs. Designed by Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf, the chair combines distinctive looks with pioneering ergonomics and is the envy of office workers the world 'round. Aeron is based on the ideas that ergonomically, the chair should do more than just sit there; functionally, it should be as simple and natural as possible, and environmentally, it should be durable, repairable and designed for disassembly and recycling. Made largely of recycled materials, the Aeron chair is designed to last a long time, with parts that get the most wear easily replaced and recycled. Just what we've come to expect in a well thought-out design. ::Chadwick & Stumpf
Charlie Lazor's name graces the list for his versatility and prolific design portfolio. A Partner and Designer at furniture design company Blu Dot, he works with the premise that design should be affordable and daydreams of a better flat-packed world. Blu Dot's pieces are making a splash: seen on the sets of well-known television shows such as "Friends" and "ER," in the permanent collections of several museums, and as winners of numerous national and international awards. Lazor is also responsible for the FlatPak House, one of the first discoveries in our growing love affair with modern pre-fab architecture that is all the rage these days. The FlatPak arrives at the building site in flat pieces to keep cost and environmental impact low, and with modernist customizations abounding, there is no limit to the fab in this pre-fab. ::Lazor's Blu Dot and ::Flatpak House
Rogan Gregory has a good thing going. As the designer behind both Loomstate and Edun, he's mixing hip apparel with organic cotton, fair labor and celebrity to make a tremondous mark on fashion. Loomstate helped set the bar for sustainably-minded designer denim by using only 100% organic cotton and sustainable farming practices. With Edun, along with U2's Bono and Bono's wife, Ali Hewson, Rogan brings the notion of sustainable employment to catwalks across the world and widens the apparel designs from simply denim to everyday casualwear. With both efforts, Rogan Gregory is helping to change the paradigm in the fashion industry and make it possible for "hip," "sustainable" and "fashion" to happily co-exist. ::Rogan Gregory, ::Loomstate, ::Edun