The Airbag is the name of the unique cushion design from the Icelandic interior and lifestyle brand, FÒLK Reykjavik. In essence, it is a circular product where a total of 96% of the materials used in the product consist of industrial waste materials or recycled materials.
As the name suggests, airbags are the cornerstone of this design, and it turns out that these airbags are actually in beautiful pastel colors with colorful embroidery. This design project involves Salling Autogenbrug as a crucial partner since, through THE UPCYCL, they supply FÒLK Reykjavik with these airbags. Salling Autogenbrug and FÒLK Reykjavik are both members of THE UPCYCL and were matched through the platform.
Our collaboration actually started with these airbags, which were not initially a material known to THE UPCYCL, but they immediately started looking for it," says Mette Moesgaard, Production Director at FÒLK Reykjavik, and continues:
The entire The Airbag project began with FÓLK sending designers from Studio Flétta, a part of FÓLK's design team, to local auto parts stores to find materials that were not being resold or reused by the dealers at that time. Studio Flétta discovered airbags among the waste at the auto parts store and proposed the idea of transforming this waste into beautiful upcycled cushions.
Then THE UPCYCL became involved. To realize the new design and create a product collection, it was crucial to have a reliable source of supply for the materials. Therefore, FÒLK reached out to THE UPCYCL to make it practically possible to create a design product from continuous, uniform, and reliable residual materials.
The Airbag design is a clear example of a transparent transformation from linear to circular production, where design thinking opens up new possibilities by using readily available materials.
"Right now, there is a lot of focus on circular economy in furniture and lifestyle products, and slowly it will move into consumers' awareness. Currently, the focus is more in our sector where we design and produce, so we are fully focused on it. It will be like ripples in the water, slowly spreading until it reaches the consumers, and they become more aware of it. I think it will slowly become more solidly implemented, and consumers will also have it in the back of their minds as an expectation for the products in the end," says Mette Moesgaard, Production Director of FÒLK Reykjavik.
The Airbag is a round-shaped cushion with a diameter of 60 cm. Each individual airbag is unique because the material is upcycled. The color of the airbag and the handle may vary, but a preferred color can be specified when ordering.
The inner cushion cover is made from textile waste in various compositions received by Huset Venture from various external companies. This textile waste comes from different sources, such as bedding, curtains from IKEA, or banner fabric from local kayak clubs.
The filling inside the inner cushion is leftover power-fill from 66°North. When 66°North produces jackets and other outdoor clothing, there is excess power-fill left.
The handles are purchased from Paracord.eu in Holland and consist of 48 double-braided nylon strings produced in the EU. This is the only part of the product that does not come from a circular source.
The information label is textile printed on a blend of cotton and polyester and is produced in Denmark.
After sorting, the airbags are sent to the Kruse Vask cleaning laundry, which uses Swan-labeled enzymes and focuses on reducing water consumption.
After cleaning, the airbags are sent to Huset Venture, a socio-economic non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with mental, physical, or social barriers in the workplace. Here, the airbags are sorted, and the most useful ones are used to create The Airbag cushions, while the less useful ones are cut into trim parts for the drawstring tunnel and inner covers.