Monday, September 5, 2011

Stuart Faulkner: Musing on a sustainable practice

‘Felix’ a stool with nine lives
As an educator and furniture designer/maker I am aware of the issues surrounding sustainable and ethical design that have gained prominence and significance over the past few years. First exhibited in the Splinter Workshop Exhibition at the Tin Shed Gallery in 2009 ‘FELIX’ was developed as a project to explore ideas on a number of related topics such as eco, sustainable, socially responsible design and design for disassembly (DfD). Research conducted into these topics led to the creation of a brief which featured the 3R’s; reduce, reuse and recycle.

Reduce: the timber elements in the stool were designed to minimise wastage. The stool uses small size timber sections which means these could come from fast growing plantation timbers, reclaimed 4” x 2” hardwood framing or manufactured sheet material ie. FSC Certified Plywood or bamboo sheet material. Having DfD as a core feature means the stool can be flat packed to minimise transportation costs associated with delivery.

Reuse: ‘Felix’ is designed for disassembly so that elements can be easily returned for exchange.
This means seat colours can be changed, also the timber frames. The facility to exchange elements allows the customer flexibility to accommodate changes in interior style. The returned elements can then be refurbished and resold. The timber elements will be sanded and finished and the seat elements can be sandblasted and powder coated. Replacing damaged elements or reconditioning elements ensures an extended life span for the product.

Recycle: At end of life ‘Felix’ can be disassembled into pure waste streams. If the timber elements can no longer be refurbished they can be chipped for use in the garden. The Aluminium and Steel parts can simply be recycled. Recycling ensures there is no waste to go landfill unlike many other furniture items.

Sturt School for Wood website 
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