Artek 2ndCycle


Artek has a really fascinating environmental initiative called 2ndCycle.  They are buying back original Alvar Alto furniture and then reselling it again.  No, they are not bothering to refinish it or anything like that.  They are essentially selling it used in whatever disheveled (or not-so-disheveled) state that they found it in.  So what is their angle?  Well, it's a couple of things.  First, they are trying to celebrate the idea of an original.  There is value in older designer furniture.  It is a piece of art.  Secondly, they are reinforcing the quality of their product line.  All of this furniture has held up over time.  The last aspect of their new-to-you story is that the furniture has gained value though use.  You are not just buying some piece of furniture straight off the assembly line.  You are buying something with a story, a history to it.    To play up this aspect of the furniture, each piece comes with an identifier number and an RFID tag that allows you to track and view its history.  I love this idea.  It's much more of a traditional view on furniture than a modern consumerist one.

I attended a talk by Tom Dixon where he spoke about Artek's 2nd Cycle line.  Interestingly, part of the reason that there is so much used Alvar Alto furniture around is that most of it was originally sold to government institutions in Finland such as schools, hospitals and churches which don't spend the money to replace their furniture very often.