August 31, 2020
Swurve-ing Towards a Greener Future
Keilhauer launches Swurve, its first fully carbon-neutral chair.
In the quest for greener designs, architects and designers are beginning to take a deeper look not only at the amount of energy their projects use on a daily basis, but the amount of embodied carbon they represent. When it comes to cutting embodied carbon, or the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere in the manufacturing process, carbon-neutral products that offer transparency on how they were made are vital. That’s what led furniture company Keilhauer to develop Swurve, a sleek new office chair that’s 100% carbon neutral.
To conceive Swurve’s five-part, cast aluminum frame, award-winning product designer and architect Andrew Jones looked at how tree branches and bones taper and are shaped by forces and stresses. The chair’s flowing frame subtly changes dimension and direction, and its computer-knitted back—which offers flexibility of movement through Keilhauer’s patented synchro-tilt mechanism—results in no material waste.
Merging elegant design and sustainability, Jones infused Swurve with a softer, rounder form that provides comfort and style. The chair’s gently sloping arms twist slightly out from the body to connect behind the chair, so they seem to grow organically from the seat.
“I’m interested in minimalism that solves problems, and in creating useful products with less material,” explains Jones, and the knitted back does just that. “It’s not like traditional upholstery where the off-cuts have to be recycled or end up in the garbage; it’s knit to an exact shape and fitted over the armature like a sweater.”
To meet its carbon neutrality goal, Keilhauer sourced materials sustainably and continued responsible manufacturing in facilities that produce zero waste to landfill. Electricity used to make the chair was offset with renewable energy credits, and the company invested in carbon reduction and climate change mitigation projects to compensate for carbon emissions, such as those released during transportation. A thoughtful end- of-life protocol was achieved by making materials and components easy to disassemble and separate for recycling. Swurve is being verified by third parties, and the brand anticipates attaining BIFMA level® 2 and SCS Global Services certification for Indoor Air Quality at the Indoor AdvantageTM Gold level.
“Our program is centralized around closed-loop manufacturing, and that Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) cycle, and we’re thrilled to have reached this meaningful milestone with Swurve,” says Josie Abate, the brand’s sustainability officer. “We have concrete data that our strategies are working, and we look forward to applying these findings to our future designs so they can help contribute to more sustainable building projects.”