When it comes to furniture design (or design in general), Green Prophet has consistently been a fan of the sustainable variety – which comes in many shapes and sizes. Sustainable furniture can be upcycled and made out of repurposed materials, such as old doors and shutters. It can also be made out of recycled materials altogether (like Amir Zinaburg’s chairs made out of recycled soda cans). We’ve also seen very stylish and durable furniture made of cardboard – a recycled and easily recyclable material. But to date we have not seen much multifunctional furniture design, which is sustainable because it frees people to require less furniture (and therefore fewer resources).
Israeli designer Assaf Wexler and his partner, Santiago Restrepo, of Dosuno Design in Bogota, Colombia, create many multifunctional furniture pieces and we decided to have a chat with them.
Please describe yourselves, how you came to found Dosuno Designs, and tell us a little about what the studio does. I understand that Dosuno Design has a multidisciplinary approach and designs a variety of objects, but is there a type of object that you are more drawn to?
My name is Assaf Wexler. I was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1982. I studied Industrial Design in H.I.T Holon Institute of Technology and later in the Instituto Europeo di Design Barcelona (IED) where I first had the opportunity to work with Santiago Restrepo, my partner in DOSUNO DESIGN.
In November last year (2009), after finishing our carriers and some internships around Europe, we decided to open our own studio – DOSUNO DESIGN. Our studio has a multidisciplinary approach, which specializes in providing 360 degrees solutions. Through an analytical method that takes into consideration Function, Context, Resources and Time, we optimize the design and production process and focus the results to the real needs of our clients. We are characterized by a high level of exigency in our processes and outputs.
Some of your furniture pieces, such as the Deckstool (above and below) and Rubix (below in two different functions) pieces, can transform to serve a variety of functions and are therefore more eco-friendly. Was this a consideration when designing those pieces?
Absolutely yes, the RUBIX project which made with Asaf Greenspan (http://www.lasercut4.com/) had a clear brief which sought to reduce material and space occupation in small habitats. The furniture transforms from dining state to living room state and backwards with maximum simplicity.
The DECKSTOOL design was based on the concept of “disappearing when not in use”. The furniture gives the users the benefit of having an open space and a place to sit/host at the same time. We thought that in an ideal world you would have no furniture, you would just pick up surfaces from the space, walls, floor etc. and they will become exactly what you need to accomplish the function, in this case a seat. When you finish using the furniture it will just melt back and integrate in your space again.
Please tell me a little more about your Earthbrick modular compressed dirt constructive system.
The earthbrick system is part of a conceptual design developed for the ceramic industry, the project was initially to create a ceramic product however we started investigating about the waste output of this industry and in that investigation we realized that it was a very good opportunity to present an upcycled product. It is based on the need for non invasive bio-colonizable structures for public spaces that invite its natural surroundings to absorb the furniture itself, it had to be able to be easily produced, locally with little technical knowledge. It is based on a very old building technique which relies on compressed material. The modular shape proposed was created thinking about building and piling up in every direction.
Are ecological considerations a factor when deciding what materials to use in your designs?
It would be more wholesome to talk about sustainability instead of ecology. Sustainability which is now very fashionable amongst designers because of the context we live in, is not a new concept at all, since Buckminster Fuller passing trough Bruno Munari, great designers have always taking in to consideration the impact their products might have on the environment, the economy and the social factor, which are the pillars of sustainability. We do not focus necessarily on making eco-friendly products however we are very aware of what processes and materials we use, what is the social and environmental impact of our production and design methods. Sadly it is still quite expensive and time consuming trying to be “0 impact”, hopefully/necessarily all design and business in the future will be guided by sustainable parameters.
What eco-friendly design solution would you like to see in your old hometown, Tel Aviv?
In general I think that for a country that invests so much in the security industry, naturally, the eco-friendly issue takes a very low priority. Tel-Aviv has a long way to go in order to become an eco-friendly city. One of the main things I think should change as fast as possible is the private and public transportation systems. It has too many cars, a very polluting public transportation which unfortunately is not very effective either. Another scenario that is very common, because of the lack of support for this particular area, is that the main applications of new creative ideas regarding sustainability, which are developed by Israelis, are more often seen outside of Israel. I know Israel is full of great minds and hopefully someday they will focus their efforts in order to create a more sustainable environment.
Read more about sustainable furniture design::
Studio Mesila is Paving the Track to Sustainable Design
Amir Zinaburg’s Recycled Designs Can-Can
Krooom Makes Recycled and Recyclable Cardboard Furniture For Kids of All Ages