BASF’s concept shelf OTTO pioneer of sustainable furniture design

Sustainable furniture is a growing business area with great potential. Customers and companies around the world are looking for products with a low environmental impact for their homes or work environments. Similar to other industries, the focus here is on reducing the carbon footprint, on durability and on recyclability.

High-performance plastics offer enormous advantages in this area; they combine strength and durability with low weight, can be used in a variety of ways and, thanks to alternative raw materials, can contribute significantly to reducing carbon footprint. “We are now demonstrating all this together with the award-winning Spanish design studio Inma Bermúdez in a surprising application, the OTTO concept shelf, which we are presenting for the first time at K 2022,” sayis Albert Camp, Marketing Manager Furniture & Packaging at BASF.

“Sustainability starts right at the beginning of a new product – with the design,” adds Spanish designer Inma Bermúdez, this year’s winner of the Spanish design award Premio Nacional de Diseño. “Sustainable design enables an efficient production process with minimal use of raw materials, which reduces the product’s carbon footprint. By using materials that can be reused, repaired, and easily recycled, we have created a truly sustainable product.”

BASF and Studio Inma Bermúdez succeed in doing just that with the OTTO modular concept shelf. All plastic elements are expandable and interchangeable. The shelf can carry a load of up to 100 kg per shelf. Moreover, in addition to the wooden shelves, the plastics parts of OTTO are made of only one thermoplastic. Both the load-bearing outer structure and all connecting elements are made of a single polyamide, which guarantees optimal recycling of the plastic elements at the end of their life cycle.

In series production, OTTO’s carbon footprint could be further reduced using the biomass balance approach. Here, renewable raw materials replace fossil raw materials in BASF’s production Verbund, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions.

Bermúdez and her partner Moritz Krefter drew their inspiration for the design of OTTO from architecture, specifically bridge construction. To turn this inspiration into reality, they found support from the team at the BASF Creation Center in Ludwigshafen. The Creation Center is staffed by industrial designers, material and simulation experts who accompany customers on the path from design inspiration to design solution.

This was also the case here: “At the beginning, the main idea was to create a sustainable heavy-duty shelf that makes the most of the advantages of high-performance plastics,” says Eva Höfli, industrial designer at the Creation Center Ludwigshafen. “When talking to Studio Inma Bermúdez, it quickly became clear that they not only shared our vision of sustainable furniture design but were also striving for a sophisticated design. To achieve this, we worked closely with our simulation colleagues, material experts and 3D printing colleagues. That’s how we were able to unite everything in OTTO: functionality, sustainability, and design.”