Designed by US architect David Rockwell, built according to WELL Building Standard principles. The Sage Collection by British furniture maker Benchmark is good for humans and the environment.
A healthy and sustainable working environment has a positive effect on physical and mental health. This is common knowledge. And ever since a connection between healthy workplaces and a considerable improvement in corporate performance was proven in a number of studies, offices really have grown healthier. The global WELL Building Standard is the most significant certification in this area and has been awarded to buildings in over 60 countries so far. Needless to say, this calls for furniture with a corresponding eco-label as well. British furniture maker Benchmark has oriented designs for the Sage Collection on the WELL guidelines.
Non-toxic and biodegradable
New shelves, tables, chairs, upholstered furniture and carpets are often made with many different harmful chemicals. The large amount of pollutants released by the plastics, adhesives and lacquers used can result in the interior air frequently being more heavily polluted than the air on our streets. This was concluded by the Munich Environmental Institute back in 2005.
While conventional quality seals usually only certify a reduced use of pollutants, the furniture manufacturer from the English county of Berkshire has gone a step further. Red List Free labelling guarantees that their products are entirely free of harmful toxic chemicals. Instead of conventional foam padding, the upholstered furniture uses biodegradable materials: coir, latex and sheep’s wool.
Benchmark explains their mission: “Our non-toxic furniture is made with natural materials, colours and textures, soft profiles and ergonomic shapes, to create spaces that are more human, welcoming and personal.” Ever since their origins in 1984, the corporate focus has been on sustainability in both material sourcing and production.
Our non-toxic furniture enables us to create spaces that are more human, welcoming and personal.
Benchmark, furniture maker
The management chose to invest in Life Cycle Analysis to examine the sustainability of their core product collections, “to demonstrate the low environmental impact” of their furniture. In keeping with the Cradle to Cradle concept, Benchmark also offers a “Take Back” scheme in the event that a product is no longer needed. The furniture is then restored, re-purposed or donated to charity.
The Sage Collection
Benchmark introduced the Sage Collection at the London Design Festival in 2019. The design of this innovative, sustainable furniture was the responsibility of architect and designer David Rockwell, who has become known for his furnishings for high-end restaurants and also his theatre set designs.
The furniture in the Sage Collection is made entirely from natural, non-toxic materials. It also maximizes ergonomic comfort in line with the WELL Standard. For example, the Sit-Stand Desk – inspired by a drafting desk – is height-adjustable at the touch of a button and allows users to sit or stand while working.
Despite its solid wood design, the desk appears almost delicate. Unattractive cables can also be neatly tidied away in a felt bag. Sage is a collection of workspace furniture, ranging from curved timber-frame sofas and benches to standing-height tables and storage furniture.
Cooperation with Sir Norman Foster
The furniture maker likes to work on designs in collaboration with renowned architects. It was a partnership with Foster + Partners that produced the OVO Collection: timeless, solid timber furniture as pieces that are built to last, to be passed down from one generation to the next, in the knowledge that furniture longevity takes care of the environment as well.
Text: Gertraud Gerst
Translation: Rosemary Bridger-Lippe
that might interest you
Self-sufficiency is no longer a dream reserved for downshifters. The modular building system named The Farmhouse designed by Studio Precht allows residents to grow food in big cities.
Homerton College at the University of Cambridge has chosen the design by Alison Brooks Architects for a pavilion that combines modern timber construction with high-tech facilities. It is expected to be a future-facing answer to their needs.
The Swedish university city of Växjö has been named “the Greenest City in Europe”. Half of all its new buildings have been built with timber. But the city plans to go even further.
The Scandinavians have shown their pioneering strength once again, this time in the design for a new cultural centre. The Sara Kulturhus in Sweden’s Skellefteå is among the world’s tallest high-rise structures built entirely from wood.
When it comes to timber construction engineering, the United States has been lagging behind other countries. Ascent Tower in Milwaukee aims to change this. Topping out as the world’s tallest timber tower at a height of 284 feet, the building uses expertise and structural elements from Austria.
As many as 40,000 pieces of wood had to be fitted together for the gift shop in the National Museum of Qatar. The inspiration behind this award-winning interior design was supplied by a miracle of nature in Qatar’s desert.
Canada’s Earth Tower aims to outshine all existing timber high-rise buildings. Its energy concept means that this 40-storey skyscraper in Vancouver will be the world’s tallest passive house.
On the edge of the tropical rainforest in Mexico, a research museum will explore how nature and progress can be reconciled. Known as Xinatli, its sophisticated design takes a fresh look at circular building materials.
The eco-friendly residential project Roots will be the new landmark of Hamburg’s HafenCity and the tallest timber high-rise in Germany. Architect Jan Störmer reveals what its future residents will have in common.
The Danish office 3XN is planning to build North America’s tallest timber office building in Toronto. Called T3 Bayside, the complex will offer more than 500,000 sq. ft. of next-generation office space when completed.
Oslo was once built entirely of wood. The project chosen to redesign the area around its railway station heralds the return of this traditional building material to the Scandinavian metropolis. A spectacular office tower with an innovative hub is being developed, named Fjordporten.
Dutch architectural firm Gaaga has designed a residential building in Eindhoven that is distinctly people- and environment-friendly. Surrounded by trees, it is situated in the middle of a park.
The redevelopment of an above-ground Nazi-era bunker is Hamburg’s largest building project since the Elbe Philharmonic Concert Hall. With spectacular rooftop gardens and nhow Hamburg design hotel, this new landmark in the heart of the St. Pauli district is sure to become a magnet for visitors.
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and Australian artist Geoff Nees teamed up to design the Botanical Pavilion – a wooden pavilion that is constructed like a 3D puzzle – without using any kind of glue or screws.
The round construction known as TECLA has created quite a stir. Having teamed up as 3D printing pioneers, WASP and Mario Cucinella Architects have produced the first CO₂-free housing prototype printed entirely from raw earth.
Japanese architectural firm UENOA has created a wooden office that has no need for bearing walls. Folded origami-style, the ceiling construction gives a whole new lightness to cross-laminated timber.
Sustainability is a top priority for the Powerhouse Company. In an interview, partner Stefan Prins explains why this means more than just a careful choice of materials and energy efficiency, and how essential it is to consider all the changes brought about by climate change when building.
The Life Cycle Tower One was the first timber high-rise in Austria and the prototype for a new type of serial construction. CREE founder Hubert Rhomberg explains the green building concept and why we have to learn to think in lifecycles.
Researchers at Cambridge University are helping to turn London’s spectacular vision of a wooden skyscraper into reality. The Oakwood Timber Tower is to rise 300 metres into the sky, almost level with the tallest building in the city.
Most people looking for a new home with a sustainable design need to have deep pockets. Rotterdam’s Pendrecht district aims to buck this trend courtesy of timber building Valckensteyn, the brainchild of the architects at Powerhouse Company.
In Düsseldorf, The Cradle is gradually taking shape. The timber hybrid office building is being constructed according to circular economy principles, and these will also govern its future use.
The Dutch city of Eindhoven will soon be home to the world’s highest “plyscraper”. The two towers – 100 and 130 metres high and known as the Dutch Mountains – are to set new standards in high-rise timber construction.
An entire residential complex in Berlin-Kreuzberg is to be built out of timber – vertically. With a planned height of almost 100 metres, WoHo is set to be Germany’s tallest timber building.
A mixed-use project in Sweden’s Gothenburg is being crowned by star architect Dorte Mandrup. The jewel in this crown is its use of timber. The new eco construction is intended to become an icon in sustainable urban architecture.
Swiss urban planning combines prominent architecture with ecological timber construction. Lausanne’s Tilia Tower is setting a high standard in future-proof urban development.
Munich’s Prinz-Eugen-Park is the site of the largest integrated timber settlement in Germany. And that’s not all – the city planners have even more in the pipeline.
Once Europe’s largest freight station, Brussels’ monumental Gare Maritime is now the largest European CLT project. Neutelings Riedijk Architects have transformed the historic structure into a covered district, giving it a sustainable new lease of life using cross-laminated timber.
The plans just unveiled for the new, 180-metre-high timber tower designed for the Sydney-based software giant Atlassian represent a milestone in environmentally friendly construction using this renewable raw material.