Friday, December 21, 2007

Pli Design: furniture without the MDF and VOCs

We used to love particle board at design school. That and MDF; it was cheap, relatively sturdy, easy to cut, had no grain, and became the source material for everything from quick coffee tables to chair mockups to desktop additions. Of course, back then we also had a professor who smoked cigarettes in class.
Now we all know particle board will kill you; the VOC off-gases leaking out of the laminates can cause everything from cancer to liver damage. Yet manufacturers continue to use PB and MDF, just as that professor's still smoking.
UK-based Pli Design (whom we previously wrote about for making chairs out of recycled game consoles) is now making furniture that would have typically been made from MDF--coffee tables and cabinets--out of a bamboo veneer with a wheat straw-board core. Essentially the ingredients in their Grass line have come from grass rather than wood, and the table is made without VOCs and all that other central-nervous-system-disrupting stuff.
"...Everyone needs to step back and reinvent the idea of modern manufacture," says Pli Product Manager Alex Whitney. "The 'Grass' series and up coming 'Reee' chair range, made using 100% recycled plastic, show where we see the future of product design."
Here's to hoping others get on board, or rather, on grass.
Posted by: hipstomp

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