Wentz presents innovative furniture incorporating ocean plastic waste

The ‘Mar’ collection by Guilherme Wentz is informed by the sea and features computerised 3D-weaving techniques to transform ocean-borne plastic

Wentz studio with Guilherme Wentz looking at textiles
Guilherme Wentz in his studio in Caxias do Sul with some of his We-Knit fabric, as well as his ‘Tubo’ chair and ‘Copa’ lamps
(Image credit: Fran Parente)

In just a few short years, Guilherme Wentz has established himself as one of the most important new Brazilian furniture designers, not by imitating the long line of modern masters that came before him but with his own minimal, contemporary style. His body of work is evolving quickly, becoming more technical and reflective of the designer’s values.

Wentz, who is based in the southern Brazilian city of Caxias do Sul, launched his first line in 2019. The clean, crisp collection didn’t necessarily look like a tribute to nature, but was informed by his time on the beaches surrounding Punta del Este, Uruguay, one of his favourite destinations. Nature, and the ocean in particular, is a passion for Wentz, informing all of his work. But he is quickly progressing from taking inspiration from nature to taking action on the environmental crisis that threatens it.

Mar by Wentz: ‘designing to make a difference’

Wentz table with wave-like ripple in centre, from the Mar collection

‘Onda’ coffee table

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

With his latest collection, titled 'Mar', or ‘sea’ in Portuguese, Wentz is not just taking inspiration from the water; he is harvesting ocean-borne plastic waste to incorporate into the line. The collection comprises the ‘Onda’ and ‘Mare’ coffee tables, elegant marble-topped pieces with wave-inspired details that are unexpected given the choice of material. There is also a special edition of his popular ‘Vidro’ glass side table, but the highlights of the effort are the ‘Canoa’ lounge chair and ‘Tubo’ dining chair.

Tubular blue chair from Wentz Mar collection by Guilherme Wentz

'Tubo' dining chair

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Detail of white chair from Wentz Mar collection by Guilherme Wentz

'Canoa' lounge chair

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Both chairs are upholstered with fabric woven from virgin polyester and recycled ocean plastic using a computerised 3D-weaving technique. Developed by the clothing industry, it allows an entire slipcover to be created in one continuous piece, pre-shaped to match the chair’s form. The pieces are then hand-fitted and finished with thread that is also made of recycled plastic. Wentz has trademarked this innovative process under the name We-Knit, which yields seamless, surprising shapes. It’s hard to imagine either of these chairs being possible without this technology, particularly the intertwined cylindrical shapes of the ‘Tubo’.

Guilherme Wentz's studio in Caxias do Sul

Guilherme Wentz's studio in Caxias do Sul

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

These pieces represent a turning point in Wentz’s career, not just for their intriguing design or innovative fabrication method but because they mark a permanent shift for him and his company. ‘I’ve stopped designing for designers. Now, I’m designing to make a difference. I want to use my craft to make things better for the environment in everything I do,’ he says.

Wentz cites sportswear and fashion industry leaders Patagonia and Osklen as examples to follow. ‘These brands have a different way of thinking, of being, and they create products that respect the Earth. I want to be more than an interiors company. I want to be a new kind of lifestyle brand based on values, one that shows leadership with a new way of working that benefits the environment.’

Wentz is well on his way, not just with his new approach to upholstered furniture but also with lighting and, eventually, accessories. He recently launched a new office, design studio, and manufacturing facility dedicated to lighting production. Here, he plans to evolve the lighting division of his business in the same environmentally conscious way. ‘We are working with recycled aluminium, and LED has made a big difference, but we are looking at other materials and the manufacturing process to meet the new standards we have set with fabrics. We have to do it.’ 


Blue chair from Wentz Mar collection by Guilherme Wentz

‘Canoa’ lounge chair

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Two chairs from Wentz Mar collection by Guilherme Wentz

'Tubo' dining chair and ‘Canoa’ lounge chair

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Scott Mitchem is one of the longest-tenured Wallpaper* contributors, joining the team in 1999 after attending Purdue University and moving to New York City from his hometown of Chicago. He started as an editorial associate, later served as Brazil Editor-at-Large while living in São Paulo, and is currently a contributing editor based in Miami. Scott covers design, architecture, travel, and all things Brazil while working as an executive in design and real estate development and working towards a Master’s Degree at Georgetown University. He has written for many other publications and was one of several authors who recently contributed to The Architecture of Studio MK27, a book by Rizzoli chronicling the history of the acclaimed Brazilian architecture studio founded by Marcio Kogan.