The Big Blue Sofa

MADE FROM SUSTAINABLY SOURCED AND RECYCLABLE MATERIALS

Sustainability Story
British Made Recyclable Materials

Taking waste plastic from our oceans and turning them into a luxurious and sustainable sofa was, up until recently, just a lovely idea rather than a reality. But not any more. The sofa you see here is the work of a leading British furniture designer and manufacturer who has found a way to make every component 100% recyclable and sustainable, from fabric and cushions made from recycled plastic bottles to sustainably sourced wooden feet and timber frames.

Not only does it look beautiful and feel supremely comfortable, it is also bringing huge benefits to our environment and wellbeing.

What's in our sofa...

Pillows
PILLOWS

Made from nothing but recycled plastic bottles.

Timber Frame
TIMBER FRAME

A stable and resilient timber frame sourced from fully sustainable sources.

Wooden Feet
WOODEN FEET

Crafted from sustainably sourced wood with a raw finish and no chemical lacquers or artificial finishes.

Springs
SPRINGS

100% recyclable and designed to offer perfect comfort.

Seat Cushions
SEAT CUSHIONS

Made in co-operation with Plastic Bank® the cushions use fibres from collected plastic waste, which is made into a highquality filling that’s soft and supportive.

Fabric
FABRIC

This soft, supple fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles that are transformed into fibre.

THE SOFA IS 100% FOAM FREE AND WE ALSO DON’T USE ANY MAN MADE CHEMICALS WHATSOEVER

Turning rubbish into relaxation...

For well over a decade, sustainability has been at the heart of Barker and Stonehouse. Whether it’s founding a highly successful reforestation programme in Indonesia, stocking the largest collection of reclaimed furniture in the UK, or ensuring that our stores can run in the most ecofriendly way possible, the team are constantly looking for new and creative ways to champion the environment. The latest initiative is a brand-new sofa collection, made entirely from sustainably sourced and 100% recyclable components and designed and made here in the UK.

Here we chat to the designer, Paul Ainley, to find out more about this amazing sofa.

Paul Ainley

How did the idea come about?

Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and as designers and manufacturers we felt we had a responsibility to look for innovative new ways to make our products more sustainable. Creating an entire sofa from only recycled materials has been a dream of ours for a long time, so the launch of Big Blue is particularly exciting.

Getting the fabric right was the hardest part, and for years the technology wasn’t in place to be able to create recycled fabrics that could work across upholstery, but once this fell into place we knew that our vision was possible.

Fabric

How is the fabric made?

The fabric is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles! Once they’ve been cleaned, the bottles are cut into small chips, melted down and then made into a fibre which can be used to make fabric. People are often worried that fabrics made from recycled plastic might be rigid and rough. In fact, it’s quite the opposite and they’re often softer than most natural fabrics.

What about the rest of the sofa?

The frame is made from fully sustainable European timber and the sofa is 100% foam free, we don’t use any unnecessary man-made chemicals either. The seat cushions are made in collaboration with an incredible social enterprise called Plastic Bank, which is committed to stopping ocean plastic. They also support some of the poorest communities around the world by providing food, education and healthcare in return for plastic waste, which is gathered from beaches and streets.

This waste is then turned into Social Plastic®, which is used to make products, such as our seat cushions.

Plastic Bank not only helps to prevent rubbish from finding its way into the sea, but creates an eco-system of recycling which improves the lives of those who collect it.

How did you go about designing the shape of the sofa?

It was really important to us that the sofa looked and felt like any other sofa. There is often a misconception that recycled products are a bit rough around the edges so creating a design that was both eco-friendly and stylish was key – we’ve proved that you don’t need to compromise.

Ocean plastic is a key issue for our team so the sea is a central theme throughout the collection, hence the name Big Blue. We’ve also reflected this in the flowing lines of the design as well as the wave patterns that can be seen across the scatter cushions.

What does the future hold?

Now that we’ve seen what can be done when a collection of like-minded companies with a shared goal work together, we’d love to see more collaboration across the industry to bring about real change. Barker and Stonehouse has always led the way when it comes to sustainability so we’re delighted to have their full support. It’s hard to imagine just how luxurious and comfortable the Big Blue sofa really is until you’ve tried it for yourself. Visit one of their stores and give it a whirl, we’re sure it will be on many a wish-list this autumn, and know that Barker and Stonehouse would to hear your feedback.

THE SOONER THIS CHANGE HAPPENS THE BETTER FOR OUR PLANET
Fabric

 

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