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Kartell, the iconic ‘Made in Italy’ Brand Focusing on Sustainability

Award-winning furniture brand Kartell, is one of those companies that constantly produce trendsetting, aspirational collections - at Urban Lounge Interiors we turn to Kartell for inspirational and timeless pieces. With the recent announcement that The Lunam - a lunar landscape inspired collection of an upholstered sofa, armchair and ottoman, will be arriving in New Zealand in July, we decided to take a further look at the iconic design brand.

Distinction and Innovation

Founded in 1949 by Giulio Castelli, Kartell is synonymous with innovation, distinctive designs and quality, durable pieces made in plastic that add value and epitomise the ‘Made in Italy’ label.

When Giulio’s son-in-law Claudio Luti acquired the company in 1988 it marked a new beginning for Kartell. Drawing on his time at Versace where he had developed his love of perfection and tasteful design, Luti collaborated with designers and architects including Philippe Starck, Ron Arad, Piero Lissoni, Patricia Urquiola and Alberto Meda to create the bold but minimalistic style that Kartell is known for. With a focus on research, technology and pushing materials’ boundaries, in a world first, Kartell used polycarbonate to create La Marie in 1999. The sleek and completely transparent chair went on to inspire the creation of Louis Ghost which remains one of their best sellers.

Kartell Loves the Planet

Today, Luti is joined by his children Lorenza and Federico and the company is still driven by advances they can make with materials by experimenting with new technologies and sustainable materials. The very fact that Kartell products are designed to be timeless and treasured for many years to come already gives them a degree of sustainability. Kartell says that their furniture and lighting is created to add value and that once it has lived out its life as furniture the pieces will end up in museums or the hands of collectors. But Kartell is also dedicated to ensuring they have sustainable practices and in their Kartell Loves the Planet manifesto, they detail how they will continue to commit to the environment.

During Milan Design Week 2019, Kartell revealed Philipe Starck’s A.I chair at Salone del Mobile. The A.I is made with 100% recycled thermoplastic technopolymer from pure scrap material that hasn’t been contaminated by other materials. And the reason that it’s called A.I is because in another first, the A.I was designed by artificial intelligence and an algorithm based on information from Philippe Starck and Kartell.

And then there is Smart Wood, a new collection developed by Philippe Starck which using a special patent, sees wood from certified forests worked with a mould design to give it three dimensions and emphasise the curve of the panel.

Revolutionising Kartell Classics

But it’s not just new products that are sustainable, slowly these new materials will replace the current ones, to ensure that Kartell sticks to its manifesto. Take the Louis Ghost, it is now made with Polycarbonate 2.0 which is produced by sustainable industrial cellulose and paper waste - it’s just like the original polycarbonate except it reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 60%. Or there’s the Componibili Bio - the modular storage unit was designed in 1967 by Anna Castelli Ferrieri and has now been remade in a revolutionary natural material. The USDA certified material is made from waste materials from farm production procedures and has also been certified by institutes such as Vinçotte Belgium as having ‘exclusive properties of biodegradability in water and soil.’

As Kartell designer Christophe Pillet said “Italy and some companies will remain mythical forever and Kartell is definitely one of them.”

We couldn’t agree more.



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