Normann Copenhagen Unveils Chairs Manufactured from Eelgrass, Hemp

Stockholm Design Week 2024 has seen companies launch various products, among them Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen, which launched a new collection of plant-base furniture in collaboration with Normann Copenhagen. The collection comprises of a pair of chairs, one of which combines hemp with eelgrass and another made purely from hemp. Eelgrass is a plant similar to seaweed.

To create shells, the design duo preferred to use the aforementioned biomaterials instead of injection-molded plastic. They used hemp stems sourced from farms that discarded the stems as a waste product. For their eelgrass chair, they combined dried eelgrass that washed up on the Danish coast with hemp fibers.

During production, the milled eelgrass and hemp fibers were turned into sheet material by mixing the fibers using a bico binder, because this would make the chairs easily recyclable. Once this is done, a specially developed compression machine is used to shape the material, and then it is cut.

It should be noted that different mixes of fiber provide different colors. For instance, the eelgrass chair had a brown shade while the hemp chair has a tone similar to oak. For a smooth finish, the material is hand sanded then a VOC-free linseed oil is used as a finish. It is important to note that the design and production process for the furniture support a zero-waste approach.

CEO and cofounder of Normann Copenhagen, Jan Andersen, stated that the Mat chairs marked the company’s efforts to venture into a world of plastics based on biomaterials. He also revealed that company officials were curious when Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen approached them with their hemp chair project.

Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen’s cofounder, Peter Hiort-Lorenzen, began using plant fibers as a plastic substitute for furniture in the 1990s. In 2005, the furniture and product design company presented its first prototype of a chair made from plant fibers. Three years later, it began testing out hemp as a substitute for plastic for furniture.

Now, over a decade later, the company has launched furniture made from hemp material. Hiort-Lorenzen noted that the hemp material used in its furniture is sturdier, more responsible and has a higher aesthetic appeal, in comparison to its prior prototypes.

Hemp specialists from the Danish Technological Institute aided in the development of Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen’s new furniture collection. Normann Copenhagen hopes to, in the future, look into how other biomaterials can be used in furniture design and production.

It is commendable that while companies focus on producing non-THC cannabis products, innovators such as Lorenzen are taking the waste from such facilities and making high-quality household items.

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