hen a company starts its life with an eye towards the future, innovation invariably becomes part of its genetic makeup. This was true for Kartell, one of the most iconic brands on the contemporary Italian design scene that from 1949 has challenged and revolutionised the world of design. And it continues to do so.
The latest venture (presented at the Salone del Mobile di Milano 2018) is called bioplastic: a vegetable polymer, made from sugar cane waste, the result of a two-year long research.
Throughout the years, Kartell has come to represent the world of plastic furniture (this is the same brand that pioneered furniture in clear polycarbonate), so it’s only natural that the brand’s conscious effort towards sustainability might have slipped under the radar. A couple of years ago in fact, Kartell began to focus its design, philosophy and packaging too on cutting edge research and recycling. By doing so, Kartell has taken a further step in safeguarding the environment; this was done by focusing on pure innovation as well as reinventing plastic by transforming it into an eco-friendly material.
It’s no coincidence that last December, Kartell started a partnership with Bio-On, a company from Bologna that’s one of the main players in the field of sustainable chemistry. This partnership has given life to a new collection in bioplastic that includes pieces such as the Bio Chair designer by Antonio Citterio. This is a durable and practical chair in every respect, it has similar thermo-mechanical properties to its cousins in standard plastic, yet it’s extremely green as it’s made from a vegetable, sustainable and biodegradable material.
From ski racks in synthetic polymer to the first plastic furniture, from the innovative chairs in carbon fibre (in this instance Kartell was record-breaking too with the Piuma chair designed by Piero Lissoni) to pieces in polycarbonate and polyurethane, Kartell’s history is shaped by constant research on cutting edge materials. This forward thinking brand is currently working on Biodura, a new vegetable polymer: making over iconic designs as well as taking another “natural” step towards tomorrow.