Sustainability Mission - Abroad
We manufacture our products around the world, and make every effort to bring exciting designs to market that are as environmentally responsible as possible. This is not only a consideration of material but also construction, packaging and efficient ordering processes. To us, sustainability goes beyond the product. It also considers the community. In that regard, we feel we are making a positive impact in each community we operate. Our partner factories are thriving, and that means they are able to hire more employees, infusing the local economy and bringing a higher quality of life to the artisans. With our investment, they are able to constantly improve their own systems; from raw material acquisition to material efficiency, all the way through to how the manage their inventory and package the goods for shipment. Below we have highlighted just a handful of ways we feel we are making a positive impact abroad.
ORIGINS COLLECTION: The biggest achievement of our company has been in the creation of our Origins Collection. We find and work with the roots of long-ago felled trees and fashion them into exquisite furnishings for homes, hotels, restaurants and other properties around the world. These pieces are crafted from the massive root systems of the trees and turn them into console, coffee and tables, as well as stools, reception desks and so much more. We use every part of the tree. The stump becomes a dining table base, the crown; a console. The branches and roots are carved into sculptures which we mount on stands.
We work with the longer sections of the truck to create live-edge dining tables, a look popularized by the famous Japanese-American woodworker George Nakashima. We acquire these trunks—sometimes up to 30-feet long—through naturally felled trees as well as through working with the governments of Thailand and Indonesia. When a road needs to be widened or a plot cleared for infrastructure projects—the building of a hospitality or university—we pay for the right to obtain those pieces that have beautiful imperfections. What is unacceptable for lumber and telephone pole companies is what we find the most desirable. We want the pieces that others reject.
SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS: There are many choices to be made when we design and develop a product. Of those, the most important is always what material we choose to work with. There are so many exciting opportunities to work with renewable resources. When selecting woods, we often source fruit-bearing trees like mango and banana wood. These trees reach maturity at around 10-15 years, and the farmers have to fell the trees and plant new ones to continue the process of harvesting fruit. We have created some amazing collections using these woods, as well as working with found vines and branches, fast-growing woods like acacia, and of course bamboo.
RECLAIMED MATERIALS: This is where it starts getting fun. We take discarded materials and give them a new life as sophisticated furniture, wall décor, sculpture and so much more. You’d be hard-pressed to find a company that does more with decommissioned oil drums than we! We make our award-winning oil drum discs from reclaimed 55-gallon drums, from which we are able to yield eleven 22” discs. We mount these at various depths off the wall to create dimensional wall sculptures. Upon touring the factory in Thailand where we product these, we found a large pile of discarded rims from the drums—two from each drum at the top and bottom—and we decided there must be some way to work with them. Thus, our Olympic Collection was born. We upcycle other materials like…bicycle rims! And we work with crushed paint cans, pulverized stone and even scraps of denim from old blue jeans.
SUSTAINABLE FURNISHINGS COUNCIL: We are founding members of the Sustainabile Furnishings Council, which was established in 2006 to raise awareness of the environmental impact of the furniture industry. Manufacturers, importers, retailers and even interior designers who want to join the organization need to fill out an extensive application form which includes vetting from the executive committee. We have long-lobbied for transparency in the industry, and practice what we preach. Anyone can say they are eco-friendly, but by working with such a thorough organization, we have made the decision to expose our systems to the industry, and have learned so much along the way. There were things we were doing that were efficient that we didn’t even realize. There were other hurdles we had to overcome to ensure we were doing everything possible to minimize our environmental impact. So much of what we learned has been implemented not only abroad, but also locally.
SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT: Designing a product that uses eco-friendly and responsibly-sourced materials is not enough. You have to create efficiencies in packing, finishing and managing raw materials and finished product inventory. At a factory-level, if they buy too much wood or cardboard, it has a risk of getting damages or absorbing too much moisture, creating wasteful inefficiencies. The way boxes are packed is an area of constant refinement. Building a box too large reduces how many boxes can be loaded onto a container. Overpacking the boxes with too much paper or bubble wrap is wasteful. Wrapping the pieces before they have adequate time to cure damages the finish. Poorly packed items can get damaged in shipping. All of this needs to be constantly addressed and refined, because there is nothing more wasteful than an eco-friendly product arriving broken. It is a complete loss. We have invested in building warehouses at our largest partner factories to ensure our ready goods has proper humidity control and don’t get shipped without proper inspection and quality control. Our agents around the world work diligently to ensure the products we design are built to the highest quality standards, ensuring that they will endure for many years to come.
FINISHING DEPARTMENT: We sell furniture of all shapes and sizes, including our award-winning, eco-friendly Origins Collection of large, live-edge slabs and root consoles. These tables require deluxe finishes and we require our partner factories to work with water-based stains and low VOC sealers and topcoats to ensure minimal environmental impact. Even our spray equipment is considered for maximum yield of surface coverage, resulting in dramatic reduction of the material required to finish each piece.