The relationship between design and the natural world has always been fertile ground for exploration, but in the age of climate change, resource depletion, and habitat degradation, designers seem to be examining the link more explicitly than ever. Take this year’s Exhibition of La Triennale di Milano, where eco-conscious furniture-makers Humanscale will unveil three new sustainable stool concepts—one made from naturally grown materials, one that incorporates unused municipal waste, and one that implements biomimicry. They’re all included in the exhibition’s American pavilion, titled RECKONstruct, and should fit in well with the fair’s broader theme of restorative design and the human/nature connection.
Designed by Paul Sukphisit of Humanscale alongside Evocative Design, the above stool incorporates naturally grown materials—bio-fabricated mycelium mushroom and agricultural waste—into its design.
The second stool (pictured above), designed by Sergio Silva, exemplifies circular-economy design, using mostly UBQ Materials from non-recyclable municipal waste.
The third stool, which incorporates biomimicry, was inspired by the Venus Flower Basket sea sponge and designed by Humanscale’s Jacob Turetsky. It can be 3D-printed, minimizing its carbon footprint by simplifying and localizing production.
“As a pioneer in sustainable design and manufacturing, Humanscale is honored to represent the United States in the important global movement reshaping mass production,” says Jane Abernethy, Chief Sustainability Officer of Humanscale and a curator of RECKONstruct, in a release. “Sustainability is the ultimate design challenge and our concept work on display at the Triennale’s “Broken Nature” [exhibition] presents the range and beauty of sustainable solutions inspired by nature.”
Along with Humanscale, RECKONstruct was developed by a handful of environment-focused organizations, including engineering firm Arup and MIT’s SHINE (Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise) Program. The pavilion, which runs through September 1, is lit by Stickbulb, a New York-based lighting manufacturer that salvages materials from demolished and decommissioned structures and fallen trees for their designs.