Innovation That Matters

All plastic has been eliminated from the process and design of the seats | Photo source Richard Hutten

Sustainable airport seating completely eliminates plastic

Architecture & Design

A Dutch designer has created airport seating made from recycled materials, and which can be completely recycled itself

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Spotted: Dutch designer Richard Hutten believes in applying circular concepts to all of his work, saying, “If you don’t have a circular business, you won’t have a business”. His latest work consists of new seats for Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, made from the recycling of previous seats. The project, called Blink, was undertaken in conjunction with Dutch furniture makers, Lensvelt.

According to Hutten, Blink is a “radical new way to produce a product”. By recycling the previous seats, Hutten has produced the new ones with 95 per cent fewer carbon emissions than similar projects. The frame is cast from aluminium recovered from the old seats, saving a considerable amount of energy over manufacturing new aluminium.

In addition, all plastic has been eliminated. Instead of a powder coating on the aluminium frame, which is made using polyester or polyurethane, the frame was polished to a shiny finish. The upholstery is made from recycled leather derived from industry offcuts that have been diverted from landfill. The leather is bonded using water pressure rather than chemicals, and 95 per cent of the water is recovered for reuse. The padding in the seat is made from a mixture of coconut fibre and natural latex.

The environmental savings don’t stop with the materials. Hutten has also designed a way to integrate any existing seats that are salvageable into the new system, which is entirely manufactured with 60 miles of the airport, to reduce carbon from transport. Explains Hutten, “Industrial production worldwide is responsible for 40 to 45 per cent of all carbon emissions. Industry pollutes six times more than aviation. So, if global industry manages to reduce its negative impact on the planet by 95 per cent, as I did with Blink, it can make a real difference.”

According to Hutten, it is not enough to develop inspirational design: they must also be useful and practical in order to replace current, unsustainable products. At Springwise, we have seen other sustainable innovations that aim to be practical. These include yarn offcuts recycled into new rugs and biodegradable trainers that can be put into the home compost.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Architecture & Design Innovations | Sustainability Innovations


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