Sustainability and manufacturing
Wood is renewable, reusable and bio- degradable. Svenskt Tenn has worked with wood since the 1930s and the material is also one of the most dominant in the company’s production today. But for wood to be a really good material from an environmental point of view, it should come from responsibly managed forests.
All of Svenskt Tenn’s furniture suppliers and their wood suppliers are subject to the EU’s Timber Regulation, which has strict rules for the wood trade. This is to deal with the global problem of illegal logging and to counter trafficking in illegal timber and wooden goods within the EU.
This is how Chair P4 is made
Chair P4 is manufactured at Gemla, Sweden’s oldest furniture factory. There are 8-10 people involved in the advanced process of making a chair. It undergoes everything from material development, turning, bending and milling to polishing, assembly and surface treatment.
The chair is made from beechwood with the right moisture content. It is the wood traditionally used for bentwood furniture, and one of the few woods suitable for steam bending. Making furniture in steam-bent wood is a difficult art to master and a craft that requires experience and accuracy as well as technique and strength.
Every curved detail on the chair was originally straight. By first turning the wood to round rods and then steaming each part for a few hours, it becomes somewhat flexible. From the moment a round rod is removed from the steam chamber the bending master has only a couple of minutes to manually force it into a metal mould using specially adapted tools, where it will then rest for several days and solidify into a new shape. If the bending master is too slow or uses the wrong technique, the wood can crack.
After a few days, when the wood has dried, it is removed from the metal mould and continues to be processed. Only now can a new rod be bent in the metal mould. This makes for a slow production process, but in return, the construction of the chair is both strong and light.
The manufacture of templates and bending moulds is also a complicated and time-consuming process in addition to the challenges with the art of bending wood. Enormous demands are placed on understanding how wood will behave after bending in order to manufacture pieces that adapt to the changes in the material.
Sustainability in focus
Read more about Svenskt Tenn's Sustainability Philosophy below.