Circular Economy principles and furniture design
The Use-It-Wisely project enables European manufacturers to produce products and services capable of adapting to rapidly changing markets and customer goals by demonstrating the state of the art methods, which enables life-long adaptation of high investment product-service. The focus on life-long adaptation combined with services is the backbone of the collaboration of Gispen within the project. Gispen believes in circular principles and the reuse of existing products. The research conducted in Use-It-Wisely (UIW) created the opportunity to put circular principles into practice.
Circular Economy as a concept
Within 10 to 20 years from now our society will be faced with a raw materials shortage, unless we start rethinking our ways today. A linear economy is based on four simple steps Take-Make-Use-Dispose. Adapting this linear process to a closed loop system of reuse and redeployment contributes to preventing a raw material shortage, in the most sustainable way. This is what we call circular economy. Sustainable use of products needs to become more valuable than ownership.
A general definition of this way of reasoning is: “A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times”.
As a designer, producer and supplier of furniture we believe it is necessary to participate in a circular economy and take responsibility towards our future. Our old ‘linear’ ways creates waste whereas life-long adaptation provides a sustainable solution.
For Gispen this change in approach means a systemic change, a transition that requires a clear ambition: “For the furnishing of (work) environments, production of the products and reuse of furniture, as well as managing the company no resources or materials are consumed”.
In order to realise this ambition it became necessary to further develop the concept towards a more practical approach. This required research, available in the UIW project, and resulted in guidelines and methods for a closed loop system.
Research, benefits and collaboration UIW
A large and diverse group of professionals and companies provide the benefits of developing methods and procedures evaluated from various perspectives. Prolonging and adapting the lifespan of a product can be done in various ways and the development of a tool requires a holistic view. A Design Framework for circular design and a Life Cycle Assessment that calculates the impact of reuse scenarios compiles Gispen contribution to this platform.