Best Use of Material: Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021

Style, substance and sustainability: these environmentally-friendly and recycled designs are all winners in the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021

Recycled plastic furniture designs
(Image credit: Artwork: Studio Brasch)

In a quest to manufacture better, designers, established brands and start-ups alike have channelled their efforts into material research, pushing toward a more sustainable and circular way of producing furniture. These are our favourite examples.


Recycled plastic armchairs

 ‘Jää’ bench, £7,295, by Jo Wilton and Mirka Gröhn, for &New

(Image credit: andnew)

In its most responsible form, plastic is recycled and recyclable and can be moulded into stackable modular shapes. &New’s ‘Jää’ bench, designed by Jo Wilton and Mirka Gröhn, is made from 100% recycled post-consumer landfill waste.


Recycled plastic furniture

‘Bell’ chair, £67, by Konstantin Grcic, for Magis

(Image credit: magisdesign)

Konstantin Grcic’s monobloc chair for Magis is created out of a patented polypropylene recycled from waste produced by the automotive industry and from the company's own factory, and  its design is ideal for stacking. 


Recycled plastic furniture designs

‘Mother of Pearl’ chair, €5,500, by Plasticiet

(Image credit: plasticiet)

Dutch studio Plasticiet’s bold claim, ‘plastic is the new gold’, is backed up with a collection of building blocks resembling natural stone or mother-of-pearl, made from plastic waste.

Studio ThusThat

Recycled industrial waste furniture

’Sparkly Black’ chair, price on request

(Image credit: Studio ThusThat)

Moving beyond plastic recycling, designers are exploring other alternative ways to fabricate. Studio ThusThat (a collective exploring industrial waste) has been experimenting, among other things, with overlooked copper byproducts, in particular with the impurities that get expelled during the material’s purification process. It created a strong, black geopolymer from slag with a carbon footprint that’s about 77 per cent lower than cement, and can be used to create furniture and objects.

Studio Ryte

Recycled material furniture

‘Triplex’ stool, price on request

(Image credit: Studio Ryte)

Hong Kong-based Studio Ryte’s experimental flax stool uses a material that behaves like carbon fibre while being fully biodegradable. Light and stackable, it was created with modern nomads in mind. They say, ‘Faced with climate change and globalisation in the current era, the world needs new solutions to transform our current way of using resources and using products.’

More from Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021


Recycled plastic stool

‘Afterlife’ crate, £360, by Odd Matter

(Image credit: Supernovas)

Taking plastic recycling one step further is Supernovas, whose recycled plastic objects and furniture (the latest created in collaboration with Odd Matter) are available on a ‘stream’ model, and can be returned at the end of its life, or swapped for alternatives.

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.