Index of materials
In a logic of production conscious and responsible, it seems to be to have to take a position subject of the materials, and thus favour a furniture made from healthy materials.
Eco-design is the consideration and the reduction, by design, of the impact of the environment through a management responsible for natural resources.
It is a preventive approach that is characterized by a global approach taking into account the entire life cycle of the object: from the extraction of raw materials until its elimination at the end of life and all criteria environmental (consumption of raw materials, water and energy, emissions to water and air, production of waste...).
The lifespan and recycling of our objects are programmed from conception to end of life. This approach is not new at the smarin designer Stéphanie Marin’s. Indeed, in 1990, her first project was in the recycling industry European textile industry and she designed her first production: a very important point of view forerunner in the fashion world.
Deepening the experience, smarin designs objects that best integrate with the environment.
Our expertise allows us to also to meet the standards and ERP fire classification, while guaranteeing the use of materialsand components not harmful to health and the environment. Glues, varnishes and processing treatments or usual finishes give way to the alternative components, free of chemical solvents. This positioning is all the more important since we know that regulatory standards and legislation evolves more slowly than research.
To date the elements at our disposal allow us to predict that toxic substances contained in the products of fireproofing are a danger for people and the environment. The are criticizes their disruptive effects endocrine, and their difficulty in degrade. The same is true for the production of hard plastic furniture or recycled producing nanoparticles that companies do not yet know manage.
The choice of material is very important: the smarin studio has a material library focused on materials research the healthiest. The material library is a place of inspiration and meeting to stimulate and concretize projects oriented towards the discovery of materials most appropriate.
HistoryThe use of algae goes back many centuries, and historical records testify to their importance in various cultures. Asian communities, such as Japan and China, have long incorporated seaweed into their diets and traditional medicine due to its nutritional and health benefits. In recent years, seaweed applications have extended far beyond the culinary realm. The unique properties of algae, notably their high absorption capacity and biodegradability, have led to their incorporation into textiles, bioplastic packaging and even agricultural products.
PropertiesAlgae are naturally abundant in the oceans, making it possible to grow them quickly without depleting limited resources. Seaweed is highly absorbent, making it an effective choice for absorbing moisture and pollutants. What's more, its biodegradability supports sustainable practices, minimizing environmental impact. Its adaptability extends not only to culinary and sanitary applications, but also to bioplastics, fertilizers and cosmetic formulations.
Ecological footprintSeaweed has a convincing ecological footprint that benefits both the environment and industry. Its cultivation requires no fresh water, arable land or synthetic fertilizers, reducing the pressure on terrestrial resources. Algae growth even absorbs excess nutrients from water, offering potential solutions to marine ecosystem problems such as eutrophication. However, careful consideration of cultivation practices is needed to avoid adverse effects on coastal ecosystems. Balancing promising benefits with responsible harvesting methods and regulations can maximize the positive ecological impact of seaweed for sustainable applications.
HistoryAsh wood has been used since prehistoric times to make tools. In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, it was used to make spear and javelin handles. Incidentally, Homer makes Ash the wood of the javelin used by the most terrible warrior of Iliad, Achilles. It is still used to make cheese rings and its foliage is used as pasture for ruminants in dry summers. Its medicinal virtues have been known for a long time. Hippocrates himself prescribed it to his patients. Ash has a purifying quality which is particularly effective against water retention and weight gain.
PropertiesBoth flexible and resistant, ash offers exceptional physical and mechanical properties. Its long fibres give it a high elasticity and strength. It is also known to have numerous medicinal properties: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and antipyretic qualities etc.
Ecological footprintIt is possible to consider that the use of ash as a building material creates a «carbon sink», i.e. the use of ash as a timber can be attributed with having negative emissions. This is because ash contains carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere during its growth. If the carbon contained in the cut trees does not return to the atmosphere but remains in the woodwork, while at the same time other trees start to grow in place of those that have been cut down, man is therefore helping to remove CO2 from the atmosphere instead of adding to it.
HistoryBamboo has a rich history of use across cultures and centuries. Its rapid growth and innate resilience were discovered centuries ago, leading to its integration into various aspects of daily life. Throughout history, various cultures, notably in Asia, South America and Africa, have recognized bamboo's attributes and exploited its qualities for construction, tools and utensils. From ancient China to the indigenous communities of South America, bamboo's resistance and availability have made it an indispensable resource. In contemporary contexts, bamboo's structural strength has found applications in modern architecture, while its flexibility lends itself to textiles and innovative products such as bicycles. Beyond its functional role, bamboo symbolizes resilience and growth, and is an integral part of cultures the world over.
PropertiesBamboo's properties make it a sought-after material. Its impressive strength-to-weight ratio exceeds that of many traditional woods, making it suitable for structural applications requiring durability. Resistant to pests and decay, bamboo products have an extended lifespan, reducing waste and promoting sustainability. Its adaptability translates into a wide range of uses, from sturdy furniture to intricate flooring.
Ecological footprintBamboo is a highly sustainable resource thanks to its rapid growth, minimal water requirements and diverse applications in construction, textiles and other fields. Its ability to replenish itself rapidly, combined with its low need for pesticides and fertilizers, contributes to land restoration and the reduction of deforestation. The long-distance transport of bamboo products can offset its ecological attributes due to the associated emissions. In addition, some industrial treatments involving chemicals pose environmental problems. However, when grown and harvested responsibly, bamboo maintains a low ecological footprint. The results of the life-cycle analysis allow us to conclude that industrial bamboo products, if based on technological best practice, even when used in Europe, can in fact be labelled "CO2 neutral or better". When used in the country of production (China), the results are even more positive. This is because bamboo contains carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere during its growth. If the carbon contained in the cut trees does not return to the atmosphere but remains in the wood, while at the same time other trees begin to grow in place of those that have been cut, it therefore helps to remove CO2 from the atmosphere rather than adding to it. At the end of the product's life, wood can be used to replace fossil fuels. If not burned, the carbon contained in the wood would reach the atmosphere through decomposition without replacing fossil fuels.
It is a tree that is mainly found in temperate and humid forests, which are the dominant formation in Europe.
It is a large tree that can reach 30 to 35 metres in height on fairly fertile land. Its special feature is that it has a thin, smooth bark, which is only found in temperate European plants.
Its wood is naturally hard and varies in colour from a light yellow to pink.
HistoryBeech has been used in many different ways since ancient times.
From the 20th century onwards, it has been used to produce paper pulp by dissolving processes.
Apart from paper, beech is also used in carpentry to manufacture objects or kitchen utensils made of wood.
Furthermore, in industrial joinery, especially in cabinet making, beech is used for the production of furniture. This includes tables, beds, desks, storage furniture, and chairs, etc.
PropertiesThe most important characteristics of beech wood are its strength, hardness, easiness to work with and impregnate.
Ecological footprintThe use of beech as a building material can be considered as a “carbon sink”.
This means that the use of beech as a timber material can be attributed with having negative emissions. This is because beech contains carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere during its growth. If the carbon contained in the cut trees doesn’t return to the atmosphere but remains in the woodwork, while at the same time other trees start to grow in place of those that have been cut down, man is therefore helping to remove CO2 from the atmosphere instead of adding to it.
HistoryBioplastics have evolved from their origins in the early 20th century to become a versatile option in the modern era. Initially limited to niche applications such as biodegradable packaging, their potential has expanded considerably. Today, they're used in a whole range of products, from disposable cutlery to food packaging and electronics casings.
PropertiesBioplastics have properties similar to those of traditional plastics, but are distinguished by their renewable origin. Depending on their composition, bioplastics can feature characteristics such as flexibility, transparency and even biodegradability. Some bioplastics are designed to break down faster than their petroleum-based counterparts, offering potential solutions for reducing plastic waste in specific contexts. Their versatility makes them suitable for a wide range of industries, from agriculture to medical applications.
Ecological footprintBioplastics are derived from renewable sources. However, their environmental impact is complex. While their production can reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it requires agricultural resources and energy, which can lead to habitat conversion and greenhouse gas emissions. Not all bioplastics are biodegradable, and improper disposal can lead to persistent pollution. In addition, their fragmentation into microplastics during degradation raises concerns for aquatic ecosystems. To maximize their benefits and minimize their negative consequences, responsible sourcing, better end-of-life management and enhanced biodegradability are essential for the sustainable use of bioplastics.
Cardboard, Paper, Cellulose
HistoryPayen discovered cellulose in 1838, and its molecular formula was determined to be C6H10O5 by elemental analysis. The structure of this polymer is a linear syndiotactic homopolymer formed of D-anhydroglucopyranose units (AGU), which are linked by glycosidic bonds . Plants such as wood, hemp, cotton and flax are the main source of cellulose, which has been used as an energy source and building material for thousands of years. In addition, cellulose is produced by numerous micro-organisms such as fungi and bacteria, which have the same chemical composition as that studied by Brown in 1886. Over time, its usefulness has expanded to encompass a wide range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, construction and advanced materials. The transformation of rudimentary textiles into complex nanomaterials underlines its adaptability and enduring relevance.
PropertiesCellulose's distinctive properties derive from its complex molecular structure, characterized by chains of glucose molecules. Its exceptional tensile strength, biodegradability and water absorption capacity make it a versatile material. In textiles, cellulose fibers offer breathability and comfort, while the emergence of nanocellulose has led to innovations in biocompatible electronics and sustainable packaging. The possibility of chemically modifying cellulose and integrating it with other materials further amplifies its potential applications.
Ecological footprintCellulose's ecological footprint encompasses a wide range of environmental considerations. Its extraction, particularly for paper production, has been linked to deforestation and energy-intensive processes. However, sustainable forestry practices, the incorporation of recycled cellulose and the use of agricultural by-products help to mitigate these impacts. While the biodegradability of cellulose holds promise for waste reduction, specific applications such as textile production involve chemical treatments that require meticulous management to avoid pollution. By championing responsible sourcing, optimizing extraction methods and adopting circular economy principles, cellulose can support a variety of industries while minimizing its overall environmental footprint.
HistoryIn ancient Egypt, the use of clay was already a custom. It was used for the mummification of bodies. In those days, clay was also used in pharmacopoeia, as evidenced by the papyri that tell the story of mankind. Terracotta, ceramic, and even porcelain are nothing other than a clay which is worked differently. In a more ancestral way, the inhabitants of Mesopotamia used clay as a medium to write on and it also served as a basis for the manufacturing for objects such as kitchen utensils and is still widely used in pottery today.
PropertiesIts main characteristics are: hygroscopic, permeable but breathable, excellent thermal inertia, easy to use and reversible, fire resistant, sound proofing... By nature, it also has many medicinal properties: absorbent, cleansing, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, healing, softening and re-mineralising.
Ecological footprintClay is ecological. When used raw, its manufacturing requires ten times less energy than concrete (for an equivalent quantity). It is locally available everywhere. It is also renewable and recyclable.
HistoryAround the 1st century BC, Ancient Rome took up this technique and improved it with the incorporation of pozzolanic sand or crushed tiles. It creates a form of concrete that is extremely resistant, which can be seen by the many buildings built with this material that still stand. The technique of concrete, which spread in Roman Gaul, was still used in the early Middle Ages, and was democratised after the industrial revolution.
PropertiesIt has an evolutionary behaviour: at first it is fluid, which allows it to take on all possible shapes, then gradually becomes hard and very resistant. It is a material that appears rustic and simple but is in fact very complex and has many qualities: its mechanical strength, durability, fire resistance, thermal and acoustic insulation, and impact resistance.
Ecological footprintMost of the energy consumption of concrete comes from energy-consuming activities that result in varying degrees of CO2: transport (oil derivatives for trucking concrete or raw materials); making (in the case of cement concrete, fuel oil or other fuel to bake the rock into cement); electricity consumption to mechanically mix large quantities of concrete. In the case of cement concrete, the perpetual search for suitable aggregates including sand has led to the over-exploitation of 75% of the world’s beaches, destroying many coastal ecosystems.
HistoryArtifacts of objects made of cork dating back to 3000 BC have been found in China, Egypt, Babylon and Persia. In Italy, among the ancient remains dating from the 4th century BC, objects made of cork such as buoys, bungs for sealing barrels, women’s shoes and pieces of roofing have been discovered. Since then, more than 80% of the world’s cork production has been used to make wine stoppers.
PropertiesCork is a low density, antistatic, flexible, thermal, acoustic and vibratory insulator. Cork is fire resistant, floats in water and decomposes slowly.
Ecological footprintIn addition to being entirely natural and contributing to the preservation of a myriad of species, the extraction of cork requires very little processing. The ecological footprint from extraction to the final product is incredibly small. The reason for such a small ecological footprint lies in of cork’s qualities: it is both recyclable and biodegradable. This means that even during the manufacturing process cork waste is reused and crushed to make agglomerated cork products, which will never be wasted. The cork powder and other chemical components removed during processing can also be recovered, as can fuel sources and by-products.
HistoryCotton has been used to make lightweight clothing for thousands of years in tropical climates. Fragments of cotton have been found dating from 7,000 years ago in caves in the Tehuacán Valley, Mexico. The cotton trade accross the world has contributed to economical globalisation. While the United States remains the world’s largest exporter of cotton, in 2012/13 the Chinese cotton industry began to increase amongst the world’s cotton markets, with Chinese reserves accounting for 63% of global stocks.
PropertiesThus the main characteristics of cotton are: its absorbency - cotton fibres can absorb about 8.5% of their weight in water and insulation - scratching the fabric makes its surface fluffy. It retains the air that comes into contact with the body and helps us to «keep warm». It is also an inexpensive, soft, comfortable and hypoallergenic material.
Ecological footprintCotton has a heavy environmental impact for several reasons : The cotton plant is cultivated using a lot of fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides. The figures are staggering: according to the WHO, cotton cultivation occupies 3% of the world’s cultivated areas, but consumes 25% of the insecticides used in the world. Cotton is a plant that consumes a lot of water, about 10,000 litres are used to produce 1kg of cotton. Roughly 2,500 litres are needed for a t-shirt to provide irrigation water for the intensive cultivation of cotton.
HistoryFir has always been used for carpentry but also for shipbuilding and the fabrication of railway sleepers, hydraulic work or decorative veneer. It was in the 12th century that the fir tradition appeared in Europe, more precisely in Alsace, France where it is mentioned for the first time as a «Christmas tree» around 1521. In 1738 that Marie Leszczynska, the wife of Louis XV, King of France, installed a Christmas tree in the Château de Versailles.
PropertiesThe main characteristic of the fir tree is its very high mechanical strength. It is also recognised as having numerous medicinal properties: antispasmodic antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, healing and calming...
Ecological footprintIt is possible to consider that the use of fir as a building material creates a «carbon sink», i.e. the use of fir as a timber can be attributed with having negative emissions. This is because fir contains carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere during its growth. If the carbon contained in the cut trees does not return to the atmosphere but remains in the woodwork, while at the same time other trees start to grow in place of those that have been cut down, man is therefore helping to remove CO2 from the atmosphere instead of adding to it.
HistoryFlax is historically one of the first cultivated species. The oldest fibres in the world are believed to be twisted and dyed flax fibres found in the Dzudzuana cave in Georgia, dating back 36,000 years, well before the beginning of agriculture in the Neolithic period. From the beginning of the Dynastic period, flax appeared as one of the main seed crops (along with starchy wheat, barley, lentils and peas). The use of flax began to develop: its production, which dates from more than 6,000 years ago, was used to make clothes, funeral cloths, boat sails, ropes and nets. The seeds were consumed for their nutritional qualities. The retting, spinning and weaving of flax are splendidly illustrated on tomb paintings and papyrus.
PropertiesFlax is hypoallergenic, antifungal and antibacterial. It is also recognised for its nutritional and medicinal qualities (extremely rich in fibre, fatty acids and numerous vitamins, it is considered to have remineralising powers for the body).
Ecological footprintFlax contributes to sustainable agriculture as its cultivation requires little nitrogen and therefore does not cause nitrate pollution. It does not require irrigation and grows well with little or no pesticides. Better still, flax is a «zero waste» plant, which can be fully recovered. As the plant is entirely biodegradable, the products made from flax are therefore, in turn, also biodegradable.
HistoryThe term «gouache» first appeared as a name for a painting in the 16th century and comes from the Italian «guazzo», a derivative of the Latin aquatio (literally: a place where water is found) and means a flooded land, a swamp or a pond (according to F. Perego). The term «Tempera» is sometimes wrongly used for gouache, as tempera colours which are made from egg yolk have very different and specific characteristics. Gouache is the «ancestor», if one can say so, of the «Moist Colours»; the name used for watercolours from the 19th century until the 1950s (at that time the term «watercolour» referred to the work produced). It is used by Matisse in his famous «gouaches découpées». The artist covered large sheets of paper with gouache (in his usual colour range). These painted sheets were then cut out, assembled and finally glued together.
PropertiesThe main characteristics of gouache are: opaque and matt colours, brightness of shades and reversibility, and of course its natural formula.
Ecological footprintGouache is a totally biodegradable material and is 100% natural.
HistoryHemp was one of the first plants to be domesticated by humans in the Neolithic times, probably in Asia. Its fibres were used to make clothes in China 600 years BC and in Europe in the Middle Ages. Western royal garments were often made from mixtures of hemp and linen. The first Bible printed by Gutenberg is said to have been printed on hemp paper. At the beginning of the 20th century, hemp fibres were replaced in Europe by cotton, which originated in the United States. For a long time, the fibres were used to make banknotes before being replaced by nettle.
PropertiesHemp is a completely natural material. It is strong and durable, insulating and environmentally friendly. It also has excellent nutritional and medicinal qualities.
Ecological footprintHemp grows by itself, without GMOs or pesticides. It is a plant that grows easily and is not exposed to diseases. The low water requirement makes it particularly profitable to grow. Hemp helps to preserve the soil and makes the work of farmers easier. It can grow up to five metres high, smothering weeds and preventing them from growing. This plant leaves the soil clean and ready for further planting. The roots go so deep that they make it soft and therefore easier to cultivate. Hemp is a «zero waste» plant, which can be fully recovered. The plant is entirely biodegradable, so the products made from the hemp plant will biodegradable in turn.
HistoryAs early as the 19th century, attempts were made to control the coagulation of the rubber tree. In 1929, it was found that natural polymerisation could be initiated by bacteria. From then on, 90% of natural latex production was used for the production of tyres which were filled with carbon black. These tyres are used, for example, in the aerospace and automotive industries. The elasticity of natural latex makes it a popular material in the medical field and in everyday life, as well as in the production of bedding (mattresses and pillows). World production of latex is estimated at around 9.7 million tonnes, of which three countries, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, account for almost three quarters of the total, with Asia producing 95%.
PropertiesDue to its distinct qualities, latex is an irreplaceable product for many of its uses, as it is sticky (as long as it is not vulcanised), bouncy, flexible, very strong, and can be stretched almost at will!
Ecological footprintRubber plantations are carbon sinks: a one-hectare plantation «captures» 250 tonnes of carbon in 30 years». Moreover, at the end of its life, the rubber tree, a good quality wood, can be used to manufacture furniture. Natural rubber production supports 30 million people worldwide and 85% of production comes from small-scale producers.
HistoryThe use of lime dates back to 9000 BC, and the first known use of lime dates back to the epipaleolithic period in the Middle East, where it was used as a glue to make small tools. To date, its use has been distributed approximately as follows :
Iron and steel industry: approx. 30%
Public works, roads, paths: approx. 23%
Agriculture: approx. 10%
Water treatment: approx. 10%
Construction, building: approx. 3%
Carbon dioxide absorption: anaesthesia and emergency breathing equipment.
PropertiesThe advantages of lime are :
an antiseptic, it disinfects and purifies the atmosphere, lets masonry breathe thus reducing humidity and avoids water condensation. Its decorative effect is exceptional, notably from its unique velvety texture inside as well as outside. A lime decoration is «alive» : the material breathes and its mottling varies according to the ambient hygrometry. Finally, it has a surface patina and ages extremely well.