Using marble is generally not very eco-friendly; you have to dig it out, leaving a dead hole in the landscape, it takes plenty of water and energy to cut it, and, is very heavy to transport. Moreover, the marble industry creates tonnes of waste when cutting and processing the stones. Nutcreatives, a Spanish design studio, have solved the latter problem locally, killing two birds with one stone. The solution? -A bench called Relaja, which means 'relax' in Spanish.
The urban furniture system has been developed directly for a marble producer on the Canary Islands, in order to use the marble off-cuts that derive during the production process, and prevent them from turning into landfill. The company throws out 1 ton a day! At the same time the island was looking to import benches so it was obvious to the designers what they needed to turn the marble waste into.
The main objective of the design project was to keep everything local: materials, manufacturing, and use, in order to avoid more material being transported around. The final design is simple and doesn't hide the recycled material. To the contrary, since the broken marble pieces are of high quality, the designers decided to show the material. Moreover, the production process is simple, manual and low-cost, with the idea that anyone can manufacture them, creating jobs, especially for young people in the north of Grand Canary. The marble pieces are simply held together by a steel mesh, eliminating the need for adhesives or cement.
Relaja is a modular system of three different elements that, together with FSC-certified wooden planks, can be assembled in many different ways in order to fit the urban surroundings and social needs.
Even though we should avoid the use of marble in general, the Relaja bench is a good example of how design can create sustainable development if it's applied locally. ::Nutcreatives