What is sustainable design?

The importance of sustainable furnitureIn this day and age, sustainability has become an invaluable concept. In a world that is increasingly focused on environmentally friendly practices, every production sector is focused on limiting environmental impact by creating environmentally sustainable products. In the field of design and furniture, this awareness has materialized in a marked evolution towards sustainable furniture and eco-design. A prime example of this evolution is Riva 1920, a company that has made eco-design and sustainability the pillars of its production philosophy.

But what is sustainable design?

Sustainable design, often synonymous with eco-friendly design, is an approach to design that places special emphasis on environmental sustainability. This approach aims to minimize the negative impact on the environment through efficient design and careful selection of materials used. The goal is to create products that respect the environment at every stage of their life cycle, from production through use to final disposal. Sustainable design is therefore an essential element in furnishing the home in an environmentally responsible way.

The basic principles of ecodesign

The key to eco-design is to adhere to certain key principles that guide the creation of environmentally and socially responsible products. These principles focus on a more conscious design that considers the entire product life cycle. They are:

  1. Use of environmentally sustainable materials, i.e., the use of environmentally friendly and safe materials that are preferably reusable and recyclable. It also focuses on minimizing the use of toxic substances and reducing the energy required to manufacture, transport and dispose of products.
  2. Waste reduction: this concept includes not only optimizing production processes to minimize waste, but also using raw materials more effectively and consciously so that valuable materials are not wasted. In the context of sustainable furniture, this commitment extends from the physical production phase of the product to the design phase, where critical decisions can have a significant impact on the amount of material used and therefore the amount of waste generated.
  3. Products made to last, which means designing durable and long-lasting products. This not only reduces the need for replacement products, which would have an additional environmental impact, but also provides better value to consumers because products last longer.

Riva 1920 and innovation in reusing materials for furniture

The use of recycled or reclaimed materials in furniture can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the production process and promote a more environmentally friendly product life cycle. Recycled materials can come from a variety of sources and can vary greatly in composition. They can include reclaimed or recycled wood, reclaimed metal, reclaimed plastics and even more unusual materials such as recycled fabric or used glass. Every recycled element used in a piece of furniture helps reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and the use of natural resources to produce new materials.

table with Briccole woodRiva 1920 has developed an innovative application of recycled materials, giving new life to the oak poles, or “Briccole“, used as markers in the Venice lagoon. These poles, eroded over time by water and mollusks called teredini, are periodically replaced. Riva 1920 salvages them and transforms them into unique pieces of sustainable furniture, capable of creating a special atmosphere and conveying the history and charm of the lagoon city.

In addition, the Lebanese cedar used to make Riva 1920’s furniture comes from trees that have fallen as a result of natural events or have been felled for reasons of public safety or the health of the forest ecosystem, which requires the judicious removal of some trees. Cedar wood is characterized by its aromatic and intense fragrance, which comes from the natural oils in the wood. These majestic logs, once recovered, are stored in the large yard in front of the company’s production unit. The use of wood from these trees ensures that no healthy trees are cut down and that there is no waste.

table with kauri woodAnother example of Riva 1920’s design projects involves kauri wood, a unique material not only for its physical and aesthetic qualities, but also for its extraordinary history dating back some 50,000 years. In fact, these trees were felled by natural cataclysms and preserved for millennia in mud and water, retaining the properties of freshly cut wood. Mining from muddy, sagging “deposits” is a challenge, but this endeavor allows Riva 1920 to create unique pieces of furniture that are rich in history and high in environmental value. This innovative use of recycled materials further reinforces Riva 1920’s commitment to sustainability.





Durable furniture for a sustainable home

Choosing furniture that is designed to last is paramount to making your home sustainable. In fact, durable furniture reduces the need for frequent replacement, thereby limiting resource consumption and waste generation. A prime example of this philosophy is Riva’s 1920s wooden furniture. Thanks to the use of quality materials and the craftsmanship with which they are made, these pieces are designed to endure and maintain their beauty over time, fully embodying the ideal of sustainable, eco-friendly furniture. This dedication to longevity and sustainability is eloquently captured in the company’s motto: “Produce to pass on”,a principle that guides every step in the creation of their furniture, from design to production, ensuring that each piece is not only a piece of furniture, but also a legacy to be passed on to future generations.

In addition, Riva 1920 Collection products are made of solid wood from controlled and programmed cuts. In this way, the company ensures the sustainability of its production chain by ensuring that every tree felled is replaced, thus preserving the integrity of forest ecosystems.

We strongly believe in the importance of sustainable furniture. If you are interested in learning more about our products or how they can help create an environmentally friendly space, please contact us.


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