Johan Berhin, founder and designer of Green Furniture Concept, talks about natural design as a symbol of safety and the importance of modularity and circularity for interiors in public places
Interview with Johan Berhin, Founder & Designer
Leaf Lamp Pendant | © Green Furniture Concept
Author: House of Eden
Green Furniture Concept designs seating and lighting for public interiors. Modular seating gives the flexibility to create configurations with the potential to offer room for both interaction and privacy. Configurations that can take any creative formation, follow the lines of the building and lead the flow of people. The design can be found in places like Dublin Airport, Topanga Mall in L.A. and Stockholm Central Station.
In an Interview with Haus von Eden Johan Berhin, Founder and Designer at Green Furniture Concepts explains why biophilic design, post-pandemic, can bring back the feeling of safety to our society as well as the importance of modularity and circularity of furniture for public areas.
"The pandemic has made people feel insecure in public places, and this confidence needs to be restored. The places need to feel nice and safe, not only technical safety measures are needed for this"
Johan Berhin | © Green Furniture Concept
Public places symbolise the joy of travelling
Public spaces, take railway stations as an example, were once great experiences where the excitement of travelling started. This has degraded over time, as impersonal, vandal-proof concrete and steel have taken over public interior .
Green Furniture Concept is aiming to change that, by making great public interiors. So that public spaces become community hubs again and at the same time represent the sustainable values of our society. Therefore they use natural materials and soft shapes.
“We make big installations with impact, at places where hundreds of thousands people pass every day. If we can make people feel better, and show an example of sustainability, I believe this really can make the world a little bit better”, explains Johan Berhin.
Studies have proved an increase of passenger satisfaction from below 30% to over 80% before and after installing Green Furniture Concept at London's Victoria Station.
Nova C Series Stockholm Central Station | © Green Furniture Concept
Soft interiors make people respect their surroundings
Interior for public spaces are challenged by the use of the masses. But can public interior be beautiful and robust at the same time? Green Furniture Connect has found a solution for that by using natural materials and natural shapes, that are also resistant and maintainable.
“The big challenge is to make something nice and that can stand the wear and tear of the masses. The exciting thing here though is that we see that if you make a nice place people will also be nicer to the place. Just like hard places have made people hard, this can go the other way - soft places make people respect their surrounding”, says the designer.
Seamless Design Ascent Beam Seat | © Green Furniture Concept
A fast changing world requires flexible design
inclusion and emotional languages are important to be integrated into public spaces. Modularity plays a role in this too, as modular interior provides the possibility to adapt places to the needs of the audience. Giving options for diverse use cases guarantees a longer lifetime for the design.
“There should be a place for everyone. There should be places to sit together, and to sit alone. And I think it is important not to have border lines, but rather have a seamless line where you can sit wherever you want, and keep the distance that you feel comfortable with”, explains the founder.
Biophilic design brings back the feeling of safety to public spaces
A mega trend in public spaces is Biophilic Design which brings Nature to public areas. Green Furniture Concept picks up on this by using natural materials, applying natural shapes, including greenery. They design for a natural and smooth flow through and around the places.
“People get happy when in nature and with our designs we want to be as close to this feeling as possible. The pandemic has made people feel insecure in public places, and this confidence needs to be restored. The places need to feel nice and safe, not only technical safety measures are needed for this”, explains the engineer from Holland.
Hoek3 Office Atrium Amersfoort | © Green Furniture Concept
Creating good looking, functional and sustainable furniture
The company has set four sustainability cornerstones. First of all comes chemical awareness, which means to make pollution-free furniture not harmful to users nor to the people producing them.
“When I first started to make furniture I was shocked of how smelly the furniture world was. Physically stinking, with bad chemicals in paints, glues and upholstery. I decided to make a change, and show the world ways of making both good looking, functional and sustainable furniture ”, says the industrial designer.
Second cornerstone is design & resources in the means of being smart and efficient with materials as well as designing timeless pieces. “Using only natural materials or 'technical' materials that fully are part of a life cycle, like 100% recycled ocean plastic”, says Johan Berhin.
Followed by reforestation as in building up more forest than used, and capturing more CO2 than emitted. Last but not least comes post sales responsibility, realised by supporting circularity with buy back and reuse schemes.
“Circular economy is the future, and the solution to the climate, and in a way that also brings humanity and the quality of life forward. Perfect circularity should be fully non-fossile. Before the world gets to this level, we need to capture the emitted CO2, in our case by planting trees in areas that currently lack forests, and in that way be net zero emitters“, says the designer of the Nova C series.
In future the company is striving to do more than creating emission-free furniture and being climate positive. “We are going all the way to be Planet positive - the world should be better off with us than without us. And we aim to share our sustainable knowledge and inspire also the rest of the furniture industry to hop on the Green train. Like that, we can all really make a change to this place."
Thank you for the interview Johan Berhin