Five most sustainable Nordic chairs named at the Nordic Design Competition: Sustainable Chairs

Chairs made from recycled seaweed and tea lights are among the winners of the very first competition dedicated to the design of sustainable Nordic chairs.


The competition, entitled Nordic Design Competition: Sustainable Chairs, was launched to promote the production of climate-smart furniture in Scandinavia.

A maximum of ten works from each of the Nordic countries – Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland – were shortlisted in the first part of the jury process. Among these ten, a winner was chosen in each country.

Finnish Samuli Naamanka made the Clash 331 chair using a mix of traditional and modern techniques

The Swedish jury selected David Ericsson’s fully recyclable Petite chair as his country’s winner. The judges applauded its lightweight hardwood design for being “extremely resource efficient” and having a “low carbon footprint”.

Nikolaj Thrane Carlsen won the Danish category with his seaweed chair. Inspired by the seaweed roofs found in Læsø, Denmark, the shell of the Coastal Furniture chair is made from a 100% biodegradable seaweed composite.

Nordic competition shines the spotlight on the most sustainable chairs from across the region
Sölvi Kristjánsson recycled aluminum from discarded tea lights to create the Kollhrif stool

Made from recyclable materials, 50% of which are post-consumer recycled plastics, the HÅG Capisco chair by Peter Opsvik won the Norwegian category. Although initially launched over thirty years ago, the Classic Office Chair has been constantly updated and refined over the years based on user feedback.

Sölvi Kristjánsson recycled waste cork and aluminum from 14,400 discarded tea lights to create the Kollhrif stool which won the Icelandic category. The stool was designed to raise awareness about aluminum recycling in Iceland.

Samuli Naamanka’s Clash 331 chair wowed the Finnish jury with its “beautiful and sustainable design” which is made exclusively in Lahti, Finland, using both ancient woodworking techniques and modern production methods. The chair’s ash seat rests on angular legs made from certified Finnish lacquered solid wood.

Nordic competition shines the spotlight on the most sustainable chairs from across the region
Peter Opsvik’s update of a classic office chair, HÅG Capisco, won the Norwegian category

The competition was announced in September 2018 when the Nordic Council of Ministers called on designers from the Nordic countries to “take a fresh look at your current portfolio and examine it from a sustainability perspective”.

The winning designs will be presented in December at the Nordic Pavilion during the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice, Poland. After the summit, the chairs will be transferred to Design Werck in Copenhagen where they will be on display for a year.

The five Chairs will also be evaluated by a researcher, who will reflect on their relationship to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The competition was organized by the Danish Design Center, in collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers and its international profiling project, The Nordics.

Organizations promoting design in each country were also involved, including DOGA (Design and Architecture Norway), DDC (Danish Design Center), Iceland Design Center and Ornamo Art and Design Finland.

Nordic competition shines the spotlight on the most sustainable chairs from across the region
David Ericsson’s small fully recyclable chair won the Swedish award

“Global awareness of sustainability is rapidly affecting customer demands,” said Tobias Grut, Nordic brand manager, Nordic Council of Ministers. “In the future, we’ll need less consumption, less manufacturing, less stuff – more circular thinking, more holistic production, and more thoughtful action. “

“In a really democratic way, we reached out to all Nordic designers to participate in the competition, not just established companies and producers,” he continued.

Dezeen will announce the winners of its own Dezeen Awards at a ceremony in London later this month where the winning projects will incorporate positive thinking on social impact and sustainability. The evaluation criteria have been carefully considered to ensure that the winning projects are not only beautiful and innovative, but also strive to benefit users and the environment.

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