S-1500 by Snøhetta (Image: snohetta.com)
A few weeks ago, I shared some facts about this chair on The Courtauldian’s Instagram page as a part of the weekly segment ‘Wednesday Wisdoms’. I thought my mention of it would be enough to get it off my mind, done and dusted. I was wrong. Snøhetta’s S-1500 chair has been plaguing me for months, and so I decided to elaborate on my feelings about it.
I'll start off by admitting that the global warming crisis is one of my most persistent anxieties. Sitting right between a monstrous fear of failure and being attacked by pigeons in public, it is one of those feelings of dread that seems to never leave you. It is also continually relevant, given the current state of our planet and recent Extinction Rebellion events in London. What really struck me, amidst all this worrying, is the unfathomable amounts of plastic that must go towards producing chairs all over the world, a thought I never thought I'd have to deal with before. We are currently living on a very odd timeline: although everything is crashing and burning, efforts can be made to save the earth from this doom, and it is interesting to see these budding ideas pop up surrounding the matter.
Snøhetta revealed the S-1500 earlier this year at Stockholm Design Week, and I instantly fell in love. The Norwegian company collaborated with Nordic Comfort Products, their aim was creating a sustainable chair out of materials from Norwegian fish farming companies. Although fish farming is already damaging to the environment, its impact is even more preposterous if one considers the equipment being discarded afterwards, like nets and pipes. Thus, utilising items that exist already as opposed to sourcing completely new plastic gives another life to items which are otherwise useless.
Aside from being sustainable, I think the chair is really beautiful. The marble-like surface, matte finish and deep bottle-green colour combined result in an extremely desirable chair (that I’d love to own myself), each pattern entirely original despite being mass-produced. Snøhetta’s website reveals the model has been inspired by Bendt Winge’s R-48 chair, a product also manufactured by Nordic Comfort Products.
I really hope this is the future for chairs in public spaces. Given that Snøhetta’s main aim is to deliver to institutions, it could make an important statement on sustainable design, particularly with Snøhetta being a heavyweight in the architecture and design industry. It is crucial for big companies to revise their methods of production if we’re aiming for a significant reduction of our collective carbon footprint. Perhaps the best way for this is questioning how objects of daily use could be made more sustainable. As with anything they do, I applaud Snøhetta for this breakthrough: design may actually save the world. I hope everyone has a lovely week, and remember your three R’s - reduce, reuse, recycle.