Danish design brand Reform is a really interesting company. It was founded back in 2014 by Jeppe Christensen and Michael Andersen who had noticed a growing interest in custom-made wooden kitchens. However, they were also aware of the fact that such kitchens are not particularly affordable and are often over budget for most people. They set up Reform as a way of offering extraordinary design at a reasonable price.
In order to do this they have designed unique kitchen fronts and countertops that are easy to combine with IKEA’s basic and most popular modules. Reform collaborates with internationally acclaimed architects and designers to challenge the traditional kitchen industry and create new ‘Everyday Classics’. They have so far collaborated with the likes of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Cecilie Manz, Norm Architects, Afteroom, and Note Design Studio. There are also plans to work with Faye Toogood, Jean Nouvel and Inga Sempé in the coming year.
But for it’s latest design, Reform has collaborated with Lendager Group, one of the world’s top architecture firms when it comes to sustainable buildings and the circular economy. They chose to work with Lendager Group as it has exclusive rights to use the surplus wood from Dinesen. Dinesen is a world-renowned Danish manufacturer of high-end plank flooring that supplies galleries, restaurants, mansions etc. These customer specific projects generate a lot of residual wood which is now being used by Reform to create the new UP kitchen design.
A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems and business models.
This collaboration is an important milestone for Reform’s founders who have had a long-held wish to offer a sustainable kitchen design. It not only has a positive impact on the environment but it also enriches the story of the design.
I really like the idea of this sustainable kitchen design so I wanted to dig a little bit deeper to get a better understanding of the story and the product. I put some questions to Jeppe Christensen and Michael Andersen and here is what they had to say.
Can you tell us about the UP Collection?
UP is a high-quality circular kitchen using recycled wood from the exclusive and world-renowned flooring manufacturer Dinesen. We want to emphasize the unique and organic nature of the material, which is an integral part of the UP collection’s design. Therefore, Lendager has designed a minimalist kitchen inspired by the classic craftsman kitchen with respect for the materials and our environment; it uses high-quality surplus material from Dinesen – or simply put in other words, Dinesen offcuts.
What prompted Reform to create a sustainable kitchen?
Since the beginning of Reform back in 2014, it has been a wish for us to offer a sustainable kitchen design. Given that we we want to bring timeless appeal of furniture to the cooking areas of our homes, we not only want design that can stand the test of time, but also using materials that offer the same possibilities – we believe it gives the design an additional purpose.
Can you explain how the collaboration between Reform, Dinesen and Lendager Group works exactly?
Lendager Group are Danish architects that only works with sustainability in their architecture around the world and who have designed the kitchen. Dinesen delivers the wood, whereafter Reform processes the wood and produces the kitchen. To create a sustainable kitchen has meant a lot to all three of us as companies, which made this collaboration something very spectacular and durable.
And how did the collaboration come about? Who initiated it?
As mentioned, we’ve wanted to offer a sustainable kitchen for many years now, and since Lendager Group offer an innovative approach to sustainable architecture and explore new business models where there is increased focus on creating a regenerative design, we found them to be an ideal collaboration partner to make our wish come true.
Can you tell us how the off cuts are used to make the kitchen? How does it work in practice?
The UP collection is an upcycled kitchen made of solid, reclaimed Douglas fir from Dinesen. The boards are 13-15 cm wide and vary in width from front to front to ensure minimal waste. The fronts are finished with either light or dark oil, and variation in grain, colour, and shine can be expected as this is a natural, reclaimed material. These subtle differences contribute to the unique nature of this design, and bring out the organic nature of the material. We use the same wax that Dinesen does to repair any holes, cracking, or other small irregularities. Knots are an essential characteristic of reclaimed wood and can cause some variation on the fronts.
The collaboration is based on the circular economy. Can you explain what this is?
To design a kitchen that is based on a circular economy is, in our viewpoint, when you have an increased focus on creating a regenerative design – meaning that you of course want it to be aesthetic, but at the same time are helping to solve existing global issues. Therefore, the natural qualities and recycling possibilities of materials have been essential to the UP-design.
How important do you think material reuse and regenerative design is with regards to architecture and design?
Its very important today, and we are really happy to be a part of the wave offering sustainable solutions in one way or another. Reuse in general is the future in many different ways, also when it comes to design and architecture; not only food, clothes and all that. In our UP kitchen, the very simple and strong impression fits well in many places and can bring a naturalness and humanity to the raw or somewhat cold environments in a very unique way.
So what do you guys think about this collaboration to produce a sustainable kitchen design? I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment below!