Set against the backdrop of the Pyrenees, nestling in a valley at the foot of the mountains is the village of Itsasu and the Alki workshop. Surrounded by nature, this is a unique environment in which it is a privilege to work and one which we strive to protect by seeking out new and integrated methods of production.
We are very much aware that everything we do, whether as individuals or groups, has a direct impact on the surrounding environment. This is why the oak we use comes from sustainably managed forests and most of our upholstery is made from 100% natural materials (wool, natural fibres, linoleum, etc.). Our approach to this new project is no different.
We decided that the collection we are presenting today, Kuskoa Bi, had to be a comfortable, enveloping chair and to achieve this we opted for a semi-concave shell. The material that best enables this shape to be created is plastic. However, the production of plastic not only depletes the world’s diminishing fossil resources, it is also a pollutant that harms the environment and is therefore contrary to our fundamental principles on sustainable development. To find a solution to this dilemma, we carried out in-depth investigative research and found a new material: bioplastic.
Bioplastic is a polymer with similar characteristics and properties to plastics made from non-renewable fossil fuels. It can be injected, extruded and thermoformed but it is made from 100% plant-based renewable resources (beet, corn starch, sugarcane, etc.). This biobased polymer is fully recyclable and its organic properties mean that, when subjected to an industrial process, it is biodegradable. Moreover, another significant environmental aspect lies in its reduced carbon footprint as bioplastic production results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The use of bioplastic is currently being researched in a number of different industrial sectors, including the automotive industry. True to our principles, we wanted to participate in this sustainable development approach by breaking new ground with the pioneering manufacture of a bioplastic chair.
Source: Alki, press release, 2015-01-19.