Sustainable commercial interiors – our guide to sustainable furniture procurement.
We have previously written about sustainability in the workplace both in terms of commercial interiors and interior design but also in terms of how sustainability can be achieved through office technology. Everywhere we turn, there is an opportunity for each of us to up the ante in our support of sustainability. Now, today, sustainability policies in the workplace are full of intent and lead the way in how many businesses operate. It is so important that sustainability practices dictate procurement, operations, hybrid workforces, and much more.
As a business, we continuously review and implement sustainable practices in how we work. This mindset also shapes how we form decisions on what commercial furniture manufacturers we partner with and represent locally here in Ireland. It was always important to us that our values align with theirs and vice versa.
Adding to that, we are noticing a significant shift in the procurement process, with more and more clients seeking sustainable solutions relating to their furniture requirements. We are really encouraged to see that clients are not solely focusing on the standard processes of reducing waste and recycling, but also taking a strong interest in the manufacturers that we represent. Showing a vested interest in their approach to the design and manufacturing process, how they manage sustainability, and encourage end-users to bring sustainability to the top of their agenda when looking at commercial interiors. Aspects we will look at in more detail, such as the potential life span of each piece of furniture, the opportunities to prolong this life span and so much more.
How to create or upgrade a workspace with sustainability in mind
Our interiors team operates as collaborators with our clients. We consult, we listen, we enquire and ultimately, we prescribe a bespoke furniture solution for each project. This approach is the same no matter the size of the project but results in a tailored and bespoke outcome for each individual client project we work on. Below we outline some of the key elements we focus on when assisting our clients with their furniture requirements.
When looking at sustainably designed furniture, natural materials such as natural wood finishes look stylish and elegant, especially in collaborative spaces seeking to encourage a relaxed atmosphere and welcoming environment for all.
Natural woods offer a beautiful sustainable story – products such as those designed by Parla Design who have certified FSC 100% wood certificates alongside natural wool materials for their beautiful collections including the Atlas collection and Venus Collection.
Personalisation is achieved in the fabrics chosen, be that through colours or textures. With a wide variety of fabrics available, also sustainably produced, our clients can really hone in on materials that have sustainability at their core.
We are huge fans of fabrics such as wool-blast fibres, fabric materials that combat marine plastic pollution, natural materials and recycled wool upholstery, that is just the beginning. Upholstery manufacturers such as Camira fabrics and Kvadrat are very focused on sustainability and maintain a strict green agenda. Kvadrat focuses their design principles on product innovation and take-back systems enabling them to reduce carbon emissions and become a circular business. Camira has designed their fabrics to ensure they are rapidly renewable & compostable.
Wool-bast fibre fabrics are all naturally crib 5 so they don’t need to be treated to meet crib 5 standards. In commercial spaces, all furniture must meet fire prevention regulations. This is a higher flame retardancy recognition than is specified for domestic environments.
With collaborative and break-out spaces showing a strong presence in offices of today, we tend to focus on textiles highlighting key sustainable initiatives, highlighting such materials as outlined above to our clients and showcasing loose furniture from our manufacturers such as Softline Furniture who have a strong focus on innovation, creating furniture pieces with removable covers including their Nevada, Eden and Picolo collections. Hem, another commercial furniture manufacturer we supply, is located in Europe and shares similar sustainability ambitions, ensuring the materials they upholster with are EcoTex or Ecolabel certified, and all foam is REACH certified. Lounge chairs such as the Hai Lounge chair and Puffy Lounge chair are examples of this and both are on display in our Sandyford showroom.
When it comes to task seating, the team in Humanscale fly the flag for sustainable approaches with the declaration that everything they create, from their factories, their company, and their products, must be self-sustaining and have a Net Positive Impact on the environment, helping to protect and preserve the planet.
All Humanscale products have Level 3 certification, the highest standard for sustainability, and they are the only manufacturer to have such accreditation. Developed by BIFMA, Level certification is the sustainability standard for commercial furniture.
The following task chairs, all with LEED certification are among the most comfortable task chairs in the market today. As an authorised dealer partner of Humanscale, we frequently supply & install the following for our clients:
- Smart Ocean
- Freedom Headrest
- Liberty Task
- Diffrient World
- Humanscale monitor arms
Workstations and Meeting tables
Sustainability is achieved in more than the soft furnishings. We lean towards the workstations designed by our friends at Actiu, whom we have represented in Ireland for over 25 years, when we are recommending sustainable solutions for open plan workstations, meeting tables and executive desks.
For example, Actiu’s desks contain 0% chemical compound formaldehyde as standard across its entire product range. Furthermore, all Actiu’s products made with chipboard and hot-melt laminated surfaces are certified in accordance with the US EPA TSCA Title VI and California Air Resources Board (CARB) Phase 2 emission standards). Collections such as the Arkitek collection, Electric sit-stand Mobility desks and the versatile Talent collection are stand-outs for us.
In 2011, Actiu became the first European company in the industry to be awarded the LEED certification and, after several years of hard work and carrying out improvements, it became the fifth company in the world, the second in Europe and the first in Spain to be awarded the WELL Platinum V.2 Certification. Together with receiving an upgrade of the LEED certification in 2017 from Gold to Platinum, this makes Actiu the first company in the world to hold both certifications.
I think it is fair to say we are strongly invested in the need for sustainability in commercial interiors. This passion is one we share with our clients and our manufacturers whom we represent here in Ireland, our team of Interiors experts are on hand to guide you through this concept and selection process for everything relating to commercial interiors.
We are contactable via email: or via 01-2178000