Luxury Sustainable Furniture Maker: Van De Sant
By Andrea Bell
Those who have been watching the design industries with hope for the past two decades, looking for signs of the eco-niche finally hitting the mainstream, know that while fashion is finally seeing its day, it is in many ways far behind the world of industrial and home design. Long has been the debate of solar roofing being economically feasible, strawbale being a better build, and gray water systems worth installing. In design however, furnishings and finishes have been striving toward eco for some time now.
With programs like LEED and FSC Certification hitting the building industry decades ago, of course, the finishing touches would follow suit. What we haven’t seen a lot of however, is stunning modern furniture that can fit most decor styles in a luxury sense.
Enter Van de Sant, a company founded in South America, that puts equal focus on sustainability and fabulous design. The minimalist structure and high-end feel of these indoor/outdoor pieces are set to transform the impression of eco ergonomics. While we are used to “environmental design” really encompassing wood in a
Scandinavian sense, the Van De Sant lines are sleek, shiny and an altogether different level.
Utilizing the practice of a circular economy, Van de Sant creates an invisible body structure that is 100% made from plastic waste out of the ocean and their pieces, on the whole, are about 75% post-consumer content.
The materials are collected using recycling programs from the very litter that pollutes the small island nation of Curacao, where Van de Sant operates, showing that creating a solution for seemingly overwhelming world issues can start with literally looking in one’s backyard. With the current backlash regarding textiles such as recycled polyester that are actually causing more damage than good, the frames and core of the pieces are an excellent alternative for recycled plastic use, and the company hopes others will follow suit.
When you have a top of the line product and a great message, you are not afraid of the competition following your well-pioneered tracks.
“We made a real product from plastic waste, something that we are proud of and something we believe can be done in much more industries. Our impact might be small in the furniture industry, but if we can help the industry become more innovative, we have reached our goal. A billion tons of plastic and a billion trees have been cut – the furniture industry can do something about that. We clean up, first, what we have all left behind, and make people realize that recycling is attractive.”
–Robert Milder, Founder Van de Sant
One of the things that the furniture brand has done that set a fine example for other manufacturers is that they have opened a second outlet in Holland, negating the need for shipping overseas and the carbon footprint that would create. They are intent on collaborating both within their own industry as well as with complementary entities in fashion and construction aiming to share research and resources to move the eco factors overall forward. Recognition for the work the company does has come in many forms.
From endorsement by the US Secretary of Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment at the Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C. to being written up for Sir
Richard Branson’s Virgin.com website. It is the strength of design and stylish presence however that has created such a success for them.
With sleek lines, strong, clean shapes and pleasing colorways the various collections offer beautiful choices for anyone looking for stunning furniture, regardless of their interest in the ethos the company abides by.
Luxury meets sustainability, reducing plastic waste and working to stop deforestation while offering a great looking and versatile product makes Van de Sant a stand out company.