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A Table Tells a Story of Sustainability

May 31, 2018

Editor-in-Chief Kadie Yale takes a tour of Nienkämper’s Toronto-based factory as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Part of Nienkämper’s 50-year history, celebrated this May, is a story of sustainability. While the company’s commitment to craftsmanship and quality are well-known, it has always looked at sustainability as an important aspect of design, having worked with FSC-certified lumber and recycling more than 80 percent of its materials for years. In fact, it was explained during a recent factory tour in Toronto that if a design had too much material cut away, the company would redesign the piece to eliminate unnecessary waste.

During NeoCon 2018, attendees will see a prime and stunning example of Nienkämper’s ability to rework designs to fulfill its quality and sustainability initiatives—a felled redwood from Northern California that’s been crafted into a grand conference table. The dense rings visible across the tabletop display the tree’s rich life and quality of the wood.

During the design phase, a quality issue arose once the log was milled; it became obvious that something had used the redwood as its nest, having burrowed an unsightly hole in the middle of the slab. Such an unwanted portion of the wood became inspiration.

Noting the need for integrated technology in today’s office furniture, the wood was cut to include a channel straight down the middle, which was fitted with wiring. The raw-edged, enormous table became a modern-day fixture that adds lightness to the design, as well as a necessary component of contemporary office furniture.

About the Author

Kadie Yale | Former Editor-in-Chief

Kadie Yale holds a BA in Industrial Design from San Francisco State University and a MA in Decorative Art History and Theory from Parsons the New School. In her role as editor-in-chief from 2015-2018, she led the interiors+sources team in creating relevant content that touches on sustainability, universal design, science, and the role of design in society.

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