Circular Economy Design and Sustainable Architecture

Circular Economy Design and Sustainable Architecture

March 2022 | News

Actiu's showroom in Madrid has hosted the third of the events organised by the company for the Madrid Design Festival. At the event, which focused on the circular economy, sustainability and new ways of working, Actiu presented its new chair, designed by the Italian firm Archirivolto Design. Also in attendance were Carlos Lamela (Co-Founder and President of Estudio Lamela) and the ESNE University School of Design.

Creating versatile and sustainable furnishing solutions, based on innovative manufacturing processes, investing in moulds and eliminating formaldehyde from their boards: these are some of the principles which have been guiding Actiu's work for years. 

It is a philosophy which, as pointed out by its Board Member and Head of Brand Reputation, Soledat Berbegal, “takes centre stage at the Actiu Business Park in Castalla, where we suggest another way of designing, manufacturing and producing, from the perspective of industry.”

Timeless, versatile, robust, scalable and, above all, sustainable (both in terms of material and concept), the Fluit chair, from the designer Matilde Sessolo and the senior architect Giacomo Fimia, of Archirivolto Design, the studio founded almost 40 years ago by Marco Pocci and Claudio Dondoli in Colle di Val d'Elsa, was unveiled. 

The fundamental principle behind the design of this chair is sustainability, very much in line with the philosophy of the Actiu Technology Park and the working philosophy of a company that cares about the materials it uses and takes technological innovation very much into account,” says Matilde Sessolo.

She also points out the difference between being "ecological" and "eco-sustainable", and the importance of creating products which are sustainable throughout their design and manufacturing process, as well as in their use and subsequent reuse.

The design and manufacture of the Fluit chair involved some very interesting research as regards the materials to be used, beginning with waste from the sea, and ultimately ending up with boxes of discarded fruit from an area near Actiu's head office. This is very much in line with Actiu's philosophy of local production based on recovered materials,” explains Giacomo Fimia, for whom it is essential that products are created which last over time and which are of sustainable origin.

As a result of Actiu's commitment to new talent through partnerships between companies and design schools, the Fluit chair has been reinterpreted by ESNE students through a set design that recreates its origin and creation process. 

Led by the subject teacher Carlos Vivó, the project of the team made up of Alejandro Guede, Marta Sanz, Marta Mesquida and María Menéndez was chosen from among all the proposals submitted by the students of the Scenography subject of the Degree in Interior Design at ESNE. "Initiatives such as these allow students to face real challenges, which they can put into practice and in which they realise how tight the times are", emphasises Rocío Sancho Alambillaga, spokesperson and Director of the Master's Degree in Interior Design at ESNE.

To conclude the event, Soledat Berbegal spoke with Carlos Lamela, for whom design is all-encompassing, from small everyday objects such as a spoon, to a large entity such as a city. He spoke about how back in the 1970s his father, the studio's founder, had already begun to talk about air quality and various other issues which nobody cared about back then.

In an era when people had yet to begin talking about the environment, my father was a committed environmentalist. He used the term "naturalist" and wrote an essay entitled 'Cosmoism and Geosim',” says the architect.

He also says that this worldview has greatly influenced the decisions taken by a firm which considers carefully the relationship between business and architecture. It also values teamwork where, as Lamela himself points out, “new technologies mean people can work remotely in a very productive way and working models can involve much greater flexibility, both in terms of organisation and scheduling, as well as in terms of the space.

The pandemic has forced us to address issues which we have been thinking about for a long time, both as regards new ways of living and working, as well as regarding other sustainability-related habits which we had already lost, such as natural ventilation,” adds Lamela.

Carlos Lamela highlights a shift within society towards more natural environments, outdoor spaces, better air quality, greater flexibility and cleaner modes of transport around cities.

Vicente Berbegal, President and Founder of Actiu, wrapped up the event in which, in his own words, “we have tried to convey the perspective of a sustainable process, from a manufacturing concept to real life.”

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