A friend of mine recently turned me on to the sublime design of Ella, a new Sacramento, Calif., restaurant, and inadvertently kicked off an obsession. While thumbing through the photos they sent me, I was drawn to these funky little stools in the bar area, which seemed to have been bolted together from nothing less than driftwood. And thus did I become exposed to the furniture design majesty that is Piet Hein Eek.
In the few months since I came across him, Mr. Eek (or so I am thinking he likes to be called, what is Dutch for Mr. anyway?) has gone from somewhat obscure to being a global sensation. His furniture is not only incredibly thoughtfully designed, but incredibly green–being constructed largely from scrap wood or metal–and it seems you can’t click on one of those cool-watching type blogs anymore without someone else jumping on the Eek bandwagon.
What excited me most recently was a new line he’s released called 99.13 percent. It’s a shelving system designed to be fabricated from a single sheet of steel with barely any waste–0.87 percent of waste to be exact, and that waste comes from the holes he drills in it to bolt it together.
I was so floored by the premise of this, by the simplicity and purity of this statement that it had me thinking…How strange is our definition of green in this retail industry we find ourselves in? Where architects take exams to build greener buildings when perhaps we should just build less new structures. Where we claim our big boxes can be green if we put trees on the roof, only to build them so far from peoples homes that thousands of them burn up our ozone visiting them every day. Where our obsession with pretty visuals leads to grocery stores throwing away food ruined by the presentation.
In this odd world, isn’t something like the Piet shelving refreshing? nd shouldn’t we all perhaps start with something like this when we think of the difference we could make?
–Christian Davies, Guest Blogger