Dutch furniture brand Circuform has launched a recycled plastic chair designed by Ineke Hans, with the promise that customers can return the product after extended use and receive a partial refund.
Hans unveiled REX during Dutch Design Week. The chair is designed to have as little environmental impact as possible, through innovations at both the start and end of the product lifecycle.
It is made using recycled plastic from fishing nets, toothbrushes, office chair components and other industrial waste.
The retail price includes a €20 deposit, which Circuform will refund to the customer if they return the chair after use. Old chairs can then be either repaired and reused, or recycled to create new chairs.
To make the concept easy to understand, Hans has staged a series of photographs detailing each stage in the process.
“It is a chair that will basically last a lifetime, but the reality is our society doesn’t work like that,” she told Dezeen.
“Sometimes people only need it for six months,” she said, pointing to temporary offies and events as examples. “We need a world where we deal with second-hand too.”
Hans first developed the design more a decade ago, launching it in 2010 as the Ahrend 380.
While the original version was also made of recycled materials, Hans felt the design was never fully resolved.
“Now it is finally done as it was meant to be,” said Hans.
REX is injection-moulded using a specific type of recycled plastic, PA6. This nylon-based thermoplastic offers good durability and is easy to source, as it is widely used.
The main body of the chair is manufactured in two parts. “Otherwise you don’t get the flexibility that you need,” said Hans.
The seat and legs are produced in one piece. The backrest is made separately, but slots easily into a gap in the rear of the seat. Armrests can also be added.
“We wanted to make a chair that works for everyone,” said Hans. “It’s very flexible, for fat people, thin people, tall people, or short people.”
The chair is also designed to be stackable.
REX is the second chair design that Circuform has relaunched under a deposit model, following a design by another Dutch designer, Ton Haas. The brand is also planning to relaunch a 1950s design, according to Hans.
The brand’s philosophy is rooted in the circular economy, the concept of a production and use model that designs out waste and puts minimal strain on natural resources.
“Finding companies who want to do this is a task in itself,” said Hans.
The company has set up a series of deposit stations around the Netherlands, to make the process of returning old chairs straightforward for customers.
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