Designing for planetary boundaries with Emma Olbers
Emma Olbers is a Swedish designer with more than 20 years’ experience in the field. She has her own Stockholm-based design studio named Emma Olbers Design, and has received several awards and acknowledgments for her work with sustainable design.
Olbers believes that sustainability and product lifecycles are key concerns, and she strives to incorporate these considerations into her work. Olbers wants to design good products – good in all aspects, including being good for our planet. She tries to design products with as low carbon emissions as possible, preferably made from renewable or recycled materials, carefully produced to last for a long time. Values that are well aligned with Vestre’s.
Olbers’ design method is based on the article Planetary Boundaries, A Safe Operating Space for Humanity (Rockström, J., Steffen, W. et al, 2009). She has chosen to focus on the climate, partly because, it along with biodiversity, are of central importance to our survival. Here, the minimization of greenhouse gas emissions and circular design are of vital importance. When it comes to furniture in general, about 50 per cent of emissions come from the materials used, so she puts a lot of thought into the choice of materials. This makes her the perfect designer for the new Vestre bench in fossil-free steel.
Emma Olbers’ Design Principles: • Use recycled, reused & low impact materials • Use minimal material, while maintaining durability • Make furniture easy to maintain & repair, using standard screws & maintainable coatings • Design emotionally & functionally durable furniture that's long-lasting• Design for reuse & recycling (easily separated components & materials) • Power everything with renewable energy