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Sustainability in Recent Projects

March 24, 2011

I like trees. Do you like trees? I also like things like clean air, renewable energy, compost. You know, SUSTAINABILITY! I want to take a hot second and update you about the environmentally sustainable qualities of some of our recent projects.

We chose to approach sustainability in our projects by focusing on sustainably sourced woods, durable and timeless products, and low/no VOC finishes.

KALA Studios Console (photo taken by Kate Hauschka).

In all of our projects we had at least one piece from local furniture designer Kaleo Kala (KALA Studios) or from Structured Green. Both designers use FSC certified wood in their furniture.

What’s FSC?

Great question. FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organization that certifies the responsibly management of forests. In other words, they make sure that you get wood from a source that will be around for generations to come, and not simply clear cutting a forest for immediate demands.

Structured Green's Weave Credenza (Photo taken by Kate Hauschka).

In our culture of consumption, quality tends to get lost in products. Industrialization and mass production allows furniture to be made on the cheap, which leads to short life spans and frequent turnover. When was the last time you saw a dovetail joint in the drawer of a Target dresser? Anyone?

Um, I don’t think I have.

You’re right–you just don’t see quality anymore. That is, unless, you purchase your furniture from someplace like KALA Studios, Structured Green, or MASHstudios, like this LAXseries table we chose for Adam’s place.

MASHstudios, LAXseries Edge Dining Table (Photo taken by Kate Hauschka)

While quality is important, so too is a degree of timelessness. The pieces we selected for our clients definitely have a look, but their look isn’t so specific that it will be dated in 5 years. Timeless quality is an under-appreciated quality of sustainable design.

Structured Green's Jump Table (Photo taken by Kate Hauschka)

Finally, we selected low-emitting products containing low or no VOCs.

What’s a VOC?

Another great question! VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which are the leading cause of sick building syndrome. Basically, they are natural and synthetic compounds often found in paints, stains, wood protectors (varnish, shellac, etc.) and also the binders of engineered wood products. KALA Studios, Structured Green, and MASHstudios all use natural oils instead of stains. Additionally, KALA Studios uses formaldehyde-free plywood made with soy-based glue.

One great VOC-free paint that we love is Benjamin Moore’s Natura. Not only does the paint lack VOCs, but the colorants used to tint the base are water-based (as opposed to glycol) which results in a completely zero-VOC paint regardless of the color.

These are just an overview of how we incorporated environmentally sustainable qualities in our projects. It is also a lesson that being green doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of green.

Feel free to share your green stories below!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2011 9:42 am

    I love the look of the painted Stefan chairs! Such a fresh take on a black chair.

    • March 25, 2011 6:08 pm

      Thanks! We were looking for a cost effective and fun way to update the clients’ existing chairs. We’re so happy they went with our color suggestion!

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