Welcome furniture-lovers

The “throwaway” culture of modern society has made flatpack furniture an integral part of contemporary living. However, this constant disposability has a profound impact on the environment and raises questions about future sustainability.

FlatPack It Up aims to make people more alert about eco-friendly options and the value of buying beautiful, long-lasting pieces that will last for life.

 

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Manapan: The hands building Australia’s furniture design landscape

Manapan is a design collective owned and operated by Yolngu, the indigenous people who have lived in Arnhem land (in the Northern Territory) for over 50,000 years.

It was set-up by Mark White, who started the Melbourne-based company specialising in shop fit-outs, who envisioned furniture design that was “beautiful” and “handmade”but still had a hint of luxe. He envisioned the pieces sitting anywhere from a corporate environment to an apartment setting. He also aimed to shed light on the work of Aboriginal Australias, making their work commercially available and nationally recognised. He says “I…wanted the furniture to incorporate indigenous Australian art and showcase the local skills and beautiful materials found in Arnhem Land”.

Manapan is backed by ALPA, a not for profit Aboriginal corporation and largest employer of Aboriginal people in Australia. This funding means it is self-sufficient and self-funding allowing for more freedom in regards to the purpose behind their designs.

Integrating traditional weaving techniques into cabinet-making is just one of the ways the designers at Manapan are reflecting traditional culture through design.

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(Credit: https://www.manapanfurniture.com.au/)

Similarly the “fire sideboard” by Alexsandra Pontonio celebrates the natural bend of the wood and maintains the unique grain whilst also alluding to mid-century modern aesthetic, creating a timeless piece perfect for any home!

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(Credit: https://www.manapanfurniture.com.au/)

Are you as in love with Manapan as we are?

Check them out at https://www.manapanfurniture.com.au/

Heirloom furniture is a thing of the past

The idea of “heirloom” furniture, items that are handed down from generation to generation within a family, is being rejected by millennials who prefer new, trendy and sleek design.

According to second-hand dealers people no longer want the objects that are treasured for most of our lives, adopting a “no thanks” response to taking on furniture from their parents or grandparents.

This marks a significant change in the mentality of consumers which is a direct result of “fast” furniture and mass production. Previous generations bought items with the intention that they would stay with them for life. And objects would “live on” and be a constant reminder of the original person who owned them. This contrasts profoundly to millennial generations who knowingly purchase furniture that lasts a number of years rather than decades.

Yet counterintuitively, millennials (aged 21 to 34) are the most environmentally-conscious generation. A recent Nielsen survey* showed young people are leading the way when making eco-friendly and ethically-conscious purchasing decisions as they are the most likely of all groups to pay extra for sustainable products and check packaging to ensure the products has a positive social and environmental impact.

Despite these patterns, young people seem to move away from recycling, up-cycling habits and (generally) turn their nose up at “pre-loved” furniture.

Why is this?

Trends. Increased commercialism of the furniture industry and fascination with the “spanking new” has created a mentality that deters people from styling vintage, retro or second-hand furniture.

However, furniture styles are constantly recycled and will no doubt feature on the glossy pages of interior design magazines sooner than you think.

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(Credit: Pintrest)

Have you noticed that mid-century modern cabinets are having a moment? Or the iconic woven rattan hanging chairs from the 70s?

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(Credit: Pintrest)

Would you ever purchasing vintage furniture items or have you done in the past? Let us know in the comments!

*Source: https://sourceable.net/sustainable-furniture-matters/

 

Lauren from “Live More With Less” on decluttering your wardrobe

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(Credit: Upcycled Fashion by Liora Lassalle)

Throughout your journey with Flat Pack It Up, you’ve been shown ways you can include eco-friendly materials into your space without costing the earth – by now I’m sure you’re a boss at picking apart the good materials from those you’ll probably need to replace in a few years (or a few months).

But now I’m going to show you how to make your wardrobe last! My name is Lauren and I’m a part of the Live More With Less movement, aiming to educate young Aussies about the detrimental impacts overconsumption and materialism can have on your mind, your home and the environment!

Fast-Fashion churns out 52 “micro-seasons”, as opposed to spring/summer and autumn/winter, a year constantly making us feel our wardrobe is outdated and therefore pressures us to buy buy buy. In order to keep up with this “trend culture” big brands make their garments from synthetic materials which is problematic in regards to environmental and health issues. Read more about this on the blog: https://livemorewithlessmovement.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/microplastic-is-an-issue-and-its-bigger-then-you-think/

One thing I’ll never say enough is how important it is to be informed of where your materials come from and their environmental impact. Its so easy to forget about resources like water and oil that go into the actual production of materials like commercial cotton and polyester, but its also even easier to forget about the implications your garment has once you take it home!

Interested in fast fashion production? Read more here: https://livemorewithlessmovement.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/microplastic-is-an-issue-and-its-bigger-then-you-think/

And if your interested in finding the best eco-friendly materials the next time you shop, check out my top picks here: https://livemorewithlessmovement.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/what-materials-would-you-find-in-an-eco-friendly-wardrobe/

 

Waste Studio: The good that comes out of a “rubbish crisis” in Lebanon

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(Credit: Waste Studio)

In the last two years there has been a “trash crisis” in Lebanon’s capital city Beirut which was triggered by the closure of the country’s main landfill. In 2016 the government insisted they had fixed the problem but just shifted the dumping of waste goods into the sea instead of into landfill. This sparked public outrage as to the health dangers of this waste disposal, particularly contamination of drinking water. Beirut’s 360,000 residents resorted to the disposing their rubbish on the streets instead.

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(Credit: http://www.dw.com/en/lebanon-garbage-crisis-pollutes-mediterranean/a-36234663)

This outcry provoke local designers, such as “Waste Studio”, to respond to this problem on a small scale, converting waste products into aesthetically appealing design objects.

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(Credit: Waste Studio)

In particular, “Waste Studio” recognised the potential of billboards and banners found on the streets of Beirut to be used to make accessories. They also use other scrap materials from the urban environment such as seatbelt material and tire inner tubing. Additionally the designs, much like the chaotic city environment they came from, are unique, as the recycled fabrics and advertising banners used are specifically chosen for each project. The results are graphically engaging and creative designs for backpacks and cushions.

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(Credit: Waste Studio)

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(Credit: Waste Studio)

Are you as much a fan of Waste Studio’s work as we are?

Or can you think of any other innovative and resourceful designers?

Leave us a comment!

 

Tiny Homes: what’s not to love?

Tiny Homes are a recent phenomenon that respond to increasing prices of house properties, particularly in the U.S. Tiny Homes promote simple and efficient living, attempting to allow people to live more fulfilling lives through compact and efficient design. In fact, 68% of tiny house owners have no mortgage compared to just 29% of US homeowners who are debt free.

Tiny houses pride themselves on space efficiency; containing a sleeping loft, kitchen and bathroom. They are generally constructed to facilitate a trailer so they are easily portable therefore eliminating the need for land ownership and encouraging mobile and flexible living.

The average size of a tiny home is 17 square metres but they can be between 9 – 37 square metres. The average tiny home is 11 times the size of the average American home, which are about 195 square metres.

Tiny homes have been designed for several reasons, from providing cheaper housing solutions in poor areas to providing a unique accomodation experience for tourists in rainforests. However, the common denominator is often their sustainable design that balances function and aesthetic.

Check out our favourite tiny houses that promote compact and sustainable living.  

The “Experience” Home

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(Mushroom Cap tiny home, credit: Airbnb)

The “Mushroom Cap” tiny home is Airbnb’s most popular property. Located deep in the woods of California, it provides a unique and memorable travel experience through it’s dome-like features and sky-lights. 

The “Make It Your Own”

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(Tiny Heirloom, credit: tinyheirloom.com)

“Tiny Heirloom’s” sleek and minimalist design is cleverly designed to create an open and airy space. It also includes a rooftop balcony, making use of each inch of space. The company also promotes personalisation and uniqueness of homes through allowing customers to customise their tiny home.

The “Industrial” One

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(Little Lou, credit: https://littleloutinyhouse.com/about/)

“Little Lou” was built by Chrissy Lou who, as a young adult, was sick of living in apartments and wanted a space to call her own. She used reclaimed materials, such as recycled corrugated metal and second-hand bits and pieces, like a metal bathtub found in the bathroom.

The “Eco-God”

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(Revolve House, credit: Joanne H. Lee/Santa Clara University)

Built by University students in California this tiny house is decked out with all the eco-friendly gadgets, creating an emission-reducing energy system. “Revolve House” runs on eight off-the-grid solar panels, stores energy in Cradle-to-Cradle-certified saltwater batteries and can rotate on a solar tracking ring to follow the sun, maximising solar efficiency.

No mortgage or debt? Plus a significantly reduced carbon footprint?

Could you live in a tiny house?

Leave us a comment!

Tips for styling bamboo in your next space

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(Credit: Franco Albini Style Rattan Settee Rattan by VintageandSwoon)

Even though we generally discourage “trends” pieces at FlatPack It Up, and are in favour of more long-term purchases, we cannot help but make an exception for bamboo. Arguably the most sustainable material for furniture making, bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world, comes in all shapes and sizes and can be bent, flattened or woven. So how do we style this sustainable gem of a material?

Add Greenery.

The natural look and feel of bamboo means it pairs perfectly with indoor greenery, such as planters, pots and succulents. To accentuate this “tropical” vibe opt for leafy ferns in mosaic pots. This interior by @carlaypage is the perfect example of how combining bamboo and greenery creates an open, light and inviting space. We love the earth tones of the wood combined with the fresh green of the huge planters.

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(Credit: @carlaypage instagram)

Think 70s. 

It is impossible not to draw on 1970s aesthetic when styling bamboo. “Rattan” sofas, chairs and tables were everywhere during this era. Interiors during the 70s sported a bohemian and messy style that oozed character. Quirky and loud shapes were also popular, pushing the boundaries of furniture’s structural form. Don’t be afraid to relive this trend when styling your next space! We love the the circular bamboo bar cart below (found on http://www.hsbposelki.ru/ideas) that embodies the 70s style, especially paired with a green, mid-century modern sofa and leafy fern. The flower seat below (styled by coastal_style.blogpost.com.au) is also a throwback to the hippie aesthetic of the 70s.

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(Credit: http://www.hsbposelki.ru/ideas)

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(Credit: coastal_style.blogpost.com.au) 

Effortless mess?

Due to its versatility bamboo furniture pieces are often intricate and detailed, meaning they are a feature piece in an interior space. It is important to sport a kind of effortless “mess” that is still minimal – think a blanket casually “thrown” over a sofa arm chair or a “disorganised” clutter of knick-knack items on a cabinet. The key to pulling this off is not to be precious about where things are kept or just over-styling in general. The best spaces constantly change, are effortlessly messy and looked “lived-in”!

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(Credit: http://www.thoughtsfromalice.com/2016/03/eclectic-bohemian-bedroom-reveal.html?m=1)

 

Bamboo: A trend for a good reason?

 

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(Bamboo roof of “Villa Sungai” in Canggu)

(Credit: villa_sungai on Instagram)

It is all very well to say we should all invest in eco-friendly and sustainable furniture but how do we know what we’re looking for?

Keep your eyes pealed for furniture made of bamboo. This “grass” species is the fastest growing plant in the world. It is also versatile and can be used for anything from making clothes to constructing buildings. Not to mention it’s incredibly good looking, with a light, organic feel that fits seamlessly into the whole “Swedish” interior trend that we all love!

So let’s have a look at the Top Four Reasons why your next piece of furniture purchase should be made of bamboo.

  1. It grows really fast

Bamboo holds the Genius World Record for the fastest growing plant in the world. It has even been measured to grow as fast as one metre in one day! This means once cut down it is able to grow back quickly, thus preventing long-term damage to the environment such as soil erosion. Bamboo’s rapid growth means it has a rapid turn-over rate, and can mature (and be cut down for use) in just three to five years.

  1. It’s not fussy

Much like a weed bamboo grows in an array of different conditions and is not very weather or temperature dependent. Ideally bamboo prefers tropical climates and is most commonly found in Asia, Australia, North and South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. A number of the 1500 species of bamboo can survive winter weather as low as -28°C. Some species also grow happily indoors in cooler parts of the world. 

  1. It’s versatile

You can use bamboo to deck out your whole apartment. It can be used to for everything from bamboo cotton cushion covers to two-seater sofas. It is also stronger than steel, with a higher strength-to-weight ratio, so it can hold the weight of your four mates squeezed onto that two-seater sofa, easy!

  1. It’s fairly cheap

Bamboo is by no means the cheapest material on the market, when compared to artificially- manufactured materials like plywood or MDF board, but it is undeniably cheaper than hardwoods and solid timbers like pine or oak.

Save some money, be more eco-friendly and get a finish that looks just as good, if not better, than timber – what’s not to love?

“End of life”: it sounds morbid but I promise when it comes to furniture it doesn’t have to be

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(Credit: TuckBox Design’s Instagram)

The “end of life” of a piece of furniture refers to its deconstruction into individual parts when it is no longer needed for its original purpose.

Many designers will pay particular attention to the life-cycle of their furniture designs. And it is vital as consumers that we check out these elements when looking to buy furniture pieces.

The materials. Designers will often choose materials that have more chance of being recycled or re-purposed for other projects. Solid timber is the best option with the highest chance of being recycled. Most metals are also bio-degradable as they can be crushed and melted down to be used again. However this is only worth it if metal is a main material used and not just used for joins or screws.

The number of parts. Designers will also consider the number of parts involved in the making the piece of furniture. In general the less items or simpler the design the easier it is to take apart and recycle.

The joins. They will also consider the joinery used to construct the chair. For example, plastic foot stoppers, plastic joints or hinges are not bio-degradable. In fact, plastic takes 4000 years to degrade and if it takes that long can we really call it recycling?

The finish. Perhaps an afterthought for many people but the finish not only can completely change the appearance of an object but it has great impacts on its sustainability. Finishes like buffing oils and stains are better than resin-based (plastic) lacquers because they don’t dry as a solid film over the timber. This means it can be sanded back and has a higher chance of being re-used.

Could Drones Save the Environment Before We do?

 

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(Credit: Tech Crunch 2011)

Drone technology is the new “it” technology of our time. And it is rapidly diverging into other areas, including forestation.

Drones were originally developed for use in warfare during the 1980s; in particular Israel used unmanned aircraft against the Russians during the Cold War. The US then developed “The Predator” drone after 9/11 which was remote controlled and could go on autonomous flight operations.

Fast forward to 2014 and drones are used in film productions, with the first drone staring alongside Tom Cruise in “The Edge of Tomorrow”. Drones have facilitated more creative camera angles and made previously difficult aerial and crane shots much easier.

Drone technology is now branching into diverse areas, including most recently forestation. This year, UK-based company, Bio-Carbon Engineering, have developed drones that are able to plant seeds faster than humans.

They operate as a pair of “operators”, with one drone scanning the area and constructing a virtual map and the other that shoots the seeds into the soil.

Together this dynamic duo can plant 100,000 seeds a day.

Bio-Carbon is confident that just 60 operators, 120 drones in total, will be able to plant a billion trees a year.

This provides great hope for future forestation and sustainability as currently there are huge problems in countries like Brazil and India where the sheer scale and pace of deforestation leaves the area barren and malnourished. In particular, the stripping of trees, particularly old ones, leads to soil erosion and an abundance of weeds. There is also a lot of illegally logging taking place in these areas, making it difficult to police the area.

However, it is important to note that planting the seed is just the first step and most of the damage takes place when trees are prematurely logged, cutting their life span short and limiting the amount of CO2 emissions they can absorb. Therefore the proactive and most vital step is leaving them to grow for as long as possible.

To see these drones in action check out this video: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-25/can-drones-help-fight-deforestation/8647736

Top 3 Sydney-based retailers that will let you get your hands on reclaimed furniture

It’s no secret that “recycled timber” or “reclaimed wood” evokes images of worse-for-wear furniture that has attempted to be re-vamped, hidden under the guise of “vintage”. However, I am excited to inform you there are plenty of Sydney-based furniture designers who are using re-purposed timber in innovative ways to create clean, modern and quality designs. 

  1. Temple & Webster

The largest of the three retailers listed here, Temple & Webster are a large Australian furniture retailer, who mainly operate online. They provide a range of different furniture options and styles. In particular many of their designs draw inspiration from mid-century design, think curves, soft forms and tapered legs. Although not everything listed on their website is environmentally friendly they have an extensive range of eco-friendly furniture, just search “recycled” in the search bar, which if often a rare find on large furniture retailer sites. Temple & Webster also offer these environmentally-friendly options for a relatively low price-point; for example the coffee table featured below doesn’t break the bank at $280.

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(Credit: Temple & Webster)

2. Second Origin Furniture.

On the more “boutique” side of the furniture spectrum we have “Second Origin Furniture” who are an exclusively Sydney-based workshop that produce sustainable furniture pieces for custom projects. Their aesthetic is very minimalist, sticking to light/medium shades of timber combined with black metal accents. One of my favourites, and one of their most iconic pieces, is this reclaimed hardwood desk with black hairpin legs.

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(Credit: Pinterest)

3. Timbermill

Lastly we have “Timbermill” who focus on crafting furniture using recycled Australian timber, using a range of specialised hardwoods. They have created a nifty “design your own” dining tables and other furniture pieces, from an online store which can then be delivered to your door or picked up from their Sydney workshop. They have created a simple, step-by-step guide to follow when designing your own piece, giving you the freedom to create your ideal furniture item; this ranges from leg height to counter-tops to materials.

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(Credit: Timbermill)