Cool Vespas Resurrected as Office Chairs.


Image © Bel & Bel.

Office furniture that’s been around the block doesn’t usually generate a lot of consumer demand. But what about office furniture that’s been recycled from classic scooters?

Watch out for Spanish design house Bel & Bel’s new creations in your local cubicle farm: super-classy hand-made leather office chairs, made primarily from Italian Vespa scooters. The Vespa’s front shield creates a perfect silhouette for an office chair back rest – combined with a few key spare parts, these make office chairs that make an incredible visual impact.

Also, given the variety of colors that old Vespas came in, you’ll probably find a Vespa chair that suits your office, no problem.

In the old days, Vespa scooters were a symbol of carefree Continental lifestyles, immortalized in movies from the Sixties. But the Vespa’s air-cooled two-stroke engine is dirty and bad for the environment; the proliferation of cheap two-stroke cycles around the world accounts for much of the air pollution in developing countries.

“In the cities of many developing countries, the pollution is horrific,” says acting director of the Energy Efficiency Center at the University of California at Davis Daniel Sperling. “Two-stroke engines are a big part of the problem.”

But Vespa is still tres cool for so many retro-maniacs. Sure, old Vespas kill the Earth a little for every mile they run, but that’s no reason to hate them completely, right? So Bel y Bel made the leap from Vespa scooters to office furniture – rejuvenating Vespa retro cool and rehabilitating its polluting former life at the same time.

Office Furniture: Re-used or Remanufactured?

Office furniture being the expensive, long-term investment that it is, it behooves you to figure out how you can get the biggest bang for your office buck.

Brand new office furniture might burn you in more ways than one – you might end up paying top dollar for chairs, desks and cubicles that just won’t get the kind of use that justifies the expense. (Especially during these parlous economic times.) When your big operation cuts its workforce, what are you going to do with all that extra office furniture?

Consider alternative number one: used office furniture. With office closures being far too common these days, it’s a buyers’ market for used office furniture: barely used, and much cheaper than their brand new counterparts.

How much should you expect to pay for used office furniture? It depends on what’s available, and how much of it you need. Of course, quality will be highly variable, and you can’t expect to get exactly the color or make you want.

Now consider alternative number two: remanufactured office furniture. What’s the difference? Remanufactured office furniture comes from previously-used office furniture, but put through a remanufacturing process that strips off the old surfaces, refurbishes the structure, and refinishes the surface so the whole thing looks practically brand new – despite prices that may be up to 80% cheaper than comparable brand new furniture!     (read more)

Recycling Becomes Remembering – Steel from Ground Zero Becomes Part of New Warship.

Partly made from recycled steel salvaged from ground zero, the USS New York steams toward the Big Apple for its commissioning
Image courtesy of the US Navy; public domain.

Sometimes recycling isn’t just about being kind to the earth – it’s about sanctifying recent history.

Case in point – the USS New York, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport. More than seven tons of steel in its bow stem comes from scrap recycled from the smoldering ruins of Ground Zero, the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

In the wake of the September attacks, New York Governor George E. Pataki requested that the Navy name one of its ships USS New York, to commemorate the victims of the tragedy.     (read more)

Junk Mail – Green (Environment) or Green (Money)?

The era of the green office was supposed to bring us more eco-friendly business processes, recycled office furnishings, and smaller footprints overall. But we’ve yet to find a way to integrate junk mail into the era of the green workplace.

Junk mail is a paradox – more than 40% of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but without junk mail, we’d never be able to afford postal service. Take it from the Postmaster General of the US Postal Service, John Potter -

“Somehow, they think a sale offer coming through the mail — as opposed to a newspaper, a magazine, TV, radio or the Internet — is a bad thing. Ads pay for the Internet, as well as broadcast TV and radio programs,” [Potter] said during a speech at the National Press Club. “So, too, ad mail helps pay for universal mail service in America.”

(read more)

This Week in Weird Cubicle Design…

Jurgen Bey believes that the cubicle concept shouldn’t be limited to the four walls of one’s office. Set the cubicle free!

Bey’s “Slow Car” concept takes an ordinary office cubicle and puts it on wheels. The concept gives a new twist to the phrase “cubicle jockeys”; one can sit down to work on the road, unfettered by the office, claiming the highway for your company! read more

"Clean and Green" makes headway in office furnishing

If you think “doing green business” is just a passing fashion, you’ve got another think coming – green trends have created a $227 billion a year marketplace for sustainable products and services, a figure estimated to hit the $1 trillion mark by 2020.

This is a large (and growing) market – and their clout is making itself felt in the $10-billion-dollar office furniture industry. Increasing attention is being paid to how the process of creating office furniture impacts the environment.

For example, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during the production process may contribute to air pollution and health problems down the road.

Also, the average 10-year lifespan of office furniture raises concerns that a great volume of furnishings are sent to the landfills long before they’re due.

As a result, remanufactured furniture is looking better and better. New techniques in refurbishing office furniture create a whole new world of possibilities for environment-conscious companies.

Remanufacturing companies take previously used cubicles and other office furniture, replace the fabrics and work surfaces, and reassemble them again, the end result costing up to 70% less than equivalent brand-new furniture. A whole office can be remodeled this way, at a fraction of the cost of using new cubicles.

Cubicles.com’s line of cubicles takes this idea of value engineering for the earth’s sake and runs with it. By sticking to a simple yet all-encompassing philosophy of reducing, reusing, and recycling as much as possible from the original material, Cubicles.com manages to reuse up to 85% of the source into its remanufactured furniture.

Cubicles.com offers a wide range of pre-owned models sourced from respected brands like Herman Miller, Knoll & Steelcase. The look, feel, and function are almost indistinguishable from brand-new cubicles – you wouldn’t even know it was remanufactured, green furniture if you weren’t told it was.

Saving the earth isn’t just a feel-good platitude; it’s good business. As more workers wake up to the impact their enterprises are making on the Earth, companies like Cubicles.com are stepping up to help them do their part for the environment, and save big in the process.