Eco Design: Emma Olbers Conversation

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At De La Espada, we celebrate the home and the meaningful objects that are physical manifestations of the owners’ experiences. Furniture that lasts a lifetime is not only more meaningful, it is kinder to the environment.

We value interiors and well-being, along with a responsibility to the very pressing needs imposed by climate change. In this spirit, we are sharing a conversation between De La Espada founder Luis De Oliveira and Swedish furniture designer Emma Olbers, who was named Designer of the Year 2019 by magazine RUM Design for her “strong commitment to environmentally friendly and sustainable design,” and was named Environmental Profile of the Year 2018 by Residence Stora Formpris for her environmentally sensitive interior design of the Nationalmuseum library in Stockholm.

Find an excerpt of the conversation below.

Read the full article via pdf download here

Emma: ...when the Swedish Environmental Institute helped me rank my materials and counted out the carbon footprint...the most surprising, I think, it was...that the difference were so big in between —

Luis: The spread, as we say — between the most effective and the most ineffective.

Emma: Yeah, so it was, like, for soft wood, that is, birch and —

Luis: Yes, pine, for example.

Emma: Pine, yeah. To... leather. 300 times. So that helps me a lot when I choose a seat.

Luis: Hey, wait, you need to stop for a second. You said 300 times difference.

Emma: 300 times!

Luis: In impact.

Emma: Yeah.

Luis: So this is measured, like, per kilo of material, right? And so if I have a kilo of leather — I don’t want to pick on leather, make it the bad guy of the gang—

Emma: Yeah, but kind of it is.

Luis: But I’ve got the soft woods on the other side, it’s a factor of 300.

Emma: Yeah, or even kind of more if you have seagrass, like the chair I’m sitting on. You have the seat...and then a lot of designers, you think you’re just choosing the look: “Leather or seagrass?” And then you choose; you don’t really think about it.

Luis: I like leather.

Emma: Yeah, but then that chair has to last 300 times longer.

Luis: To be able to compensate for its higher cost of —

Emma: Yeah and seagrass at least lasts for 20 years. So that would make it 600 years for the leather chairs.

Read the full the article via pdf download here

Photo credit: Neni Studio