“No new office desk need ever be made”

September 16, 2021

When Annie Leonsson moved back to Gothenburg after seven years in Sydney, she landed on her feet. The role of interior designer at White Arkitekter, which even back then applied reuse to furnishing projects, suited Annie perfectly. Eleven years later, Annie is more passionate than ever about reuse, both at work and at home. “I’m currently trying to persuade my family that my grandmother’s old 1920s sofa can actually be cool!”

Why is it so important to reuse?

Calculations have shown that no new office desk or office chair need ever be made, as there are far more than enough already! That gives an indication of just how much new stuff is made. And 60–80 % of a product’s climate impact comes from production. This means that the biggest environmental gains can be made by prolonging the life of a product or material. White Arkitekter plays an important part here.

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We need to talk about reuse early on in the process, and when we bring it up with a client they’re often very much on board. They end up feeling proud of the end results and doing something good for the environment.

What needs to be done to make reuse even more widespread?

We reuse in all our projects, and every client really is on board. So it’s already widespread in that way. Even so, there are still challenges. For example, we don’t know what’s on the market when we start on a project. Something that would make the whole process a lot smoother is a system where suppliers can label everything they’re selling. That way we could easily check the furniture’s chain of custody and know the environmental impact straight away. That would also be useful for inventory, when a product is being reused.

 

How do you currently work with reuse in interior design projects?

I think that the job has evolved a lot from how it used to be, and it’s an exciting challenge! We manage the project, plan the logistics, manage the costs and coordinate everything. We have to ascertain the level of ambition early on, and then set common goals with the client. A clearly defined process is crucial to a successful reuse project. I work far more hands on, I’m at the site, touching and feeling the furnishings in a way that isn’t done in a conventional project. It demands more of me in the creative process. It calls for flexibility and being prepared to make changes along the way.

 

Why are you so passionate about reuse?

For me, reuse is necessary, but it’s also fun and challenging! Also, as a representative of my profession, I need to feel proud that I’m doing what I can to slow down consumption.

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I’m proud to be at White Arkitekter working actively with reuse and circular processes. White Arkitekter is making a major contribution to the industry.

How would you define that contribution?

One good example of White Arkitekter’s impact in the area is its work on the research project Business Model Innovation for Circular Furniture Flows. It was started with the aim of showing, in a concrete way, how a sector can transition to a more circular economy by inspiring action, collaboration and development projects, so that producers, clients, distributors, architects, designers, researchers, business developers and industry organisations can shape visions, identify risks and opportunities, and act individually and jointly to shape and also prepare for a circular society in 2030.

Contact Person

Annie Leonsson

Annie Leonsson

Group manager

Interior architect

Göteborg

annie.leonsson@white.se

+46 31 60 87 85

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