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Furniture Made From Hemp For Sustainable Design

Many people are now enjoying the medical benefits of the marijuana plant and still other parts are enjoying its high. And the design world is seeing a resurgence of interest in using hemp, the fibers from the plant, in various ways including for making furniture. 

Why Would We Want To Use Hemp In Furniture? 

It appears that the first cultivated marijuana/hemp plants originate in what is now modern China some 6,000 years ago. 

Hemp is a great plant from a growing perspective. It’s hardy with no real problems with cold or heat. It’s also very economical when it comes to water usage with just 3-500 liters required to produce a kilo of fiber. That’s about 1/20th of what it takes to make a kilo of cotton.

It also grows at a rapid rate and has natural pesticides that suppress other weeds which cuts down on the amount of chemicals required to grow the plant. 

In short, hemp is an eco-friendly material that can be considered as “sustainable” as any other natural material. 

How Is Hemp Being Used In The Furniture Industry?

The main use for hemp, currently, is as a textile product for covers. As hemp is not the softest of materials it can be blended to create a softer fabric with silk or cotton. 

While hemp does soften over time, there’s no real incentive to make a cover out of pure hemp as it is harder to work with (and thus, more expensive) than working with a blended fabric.

The company ATRA, for example, uses hemp in the coverings for its modular sofa system. TFS (The Futon Shop) uses Hemp as covers and mattresses for futons. And Crate & Barrel has started making duvet covers out of hemp too. 

Materials Made From Hemp

There are other ways to use hemp in furniture production. Hemp-crete is popular, a form of hemp-based concrete that is highly durable, more flexible than regular concrete and which can be fully recycled at end-of-life. 

There’s also the way that Vepa harnesses a different hemp composite to make warm, comfortable chairs that are completely recyclable but which also contain no chemicals and have a negative overall carbon footprint! 

And there are many other materials in the research phase that can lead to other developments in the future. 

Are Hemp-Based Materials The Sustainable Future Of Design?

No. Hemp is definitely a very useful substance and has a minimal impact on the planet but it’s not, yet, flexible enough to supply all of our furnishing needs. 

However, there’s no doubt that hemp-based materials are surely a part of the sustainable future of design. 

Given that hemp is easy to grow, it’s kind to the planet to grow hemp compared to other crops and the end products are biodegradable, there’s a lot to like about the idea of using hemp fibers in furniture. 

Of course, to some extent, fashion tastes dictate what materials are popular in furniture but with more and more people choosing eco-friendly options in their lives, it’s entirely possible that hemp will become the most desirable material of them all in the long run.