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Arper, the First Design Manufacturer to Integrate PaperShell

Arper, the First Design Manufacturer to Integrate PaperShell
Catifa Carta. Courtesy of Arper.

Arper extends its Catifa 53 line with Catifa Carta, making it the first design manufacturer to incorporate PaperShell into a product.

Italian design manufacturer Arper has unveiled the Catifa Carta, an extension of its renowned Catifa 53 chair. Originally designed by Lievore Altherr Molina in 2001, the Catifa 53 has long been celebrated for its sleek, bi-curved silhouette. Now, in 2024, Arper revolutionized the chair with a new material called PaperShell, marking the first time this eco-friendly composite has been used in the design industry.

PaperShell, developed from composite wood by-products, dramatically reduces the environmental impact of the Catifa Carta. This innovative material comprises 29 layers of responsibly sourced paper bonded with a natural resin binder, providing both the structural integrity and comfort synonymous with the Catifa brand. Notably, PaperShell mimics the carbon sequestration abilities of trees, capturing CO2 throughout its lifecycle and converting it to biochar at the end of its use, thus preventing carbon release and enriching soil health.

The introduction of Catifa Carta underscores Arper’s commitment to sustainable design and circular economy principles. The chair’s fully disassemblable structure facilitates efficient recycling and end-of-life management, ensuring minimal environmental impact.

Sustainable Innovation: Eco-Design and Circular Economy Principles of the Catifa Carta

The Catifa Carta, Arper’s latest innovation, embodies the company’s dedication to sustainable design and circular economy principles. Building on the legacy of the Catifa 53, Arper has re-engineered the chair’s shell using PaperShell, a revolutionary material made from composite wood by-products. This advanced material, the result of rigorous scientific research, provides the same strength and comfort as traditional materials while significantly reducing environmental impact. As the first manufacturer in the design industry to utilize PaperShell, Arper has set a new benchmark for eco-friendly furniture design. The shell of Catifa Carta is available in a coffee color, and the base comes in three options: steel base with 4 legs in black, steel sled base in black and rust, and black aluminum trestle base with and without wheels. Additionally, cushions and removable cover options are offered to add color and extra comfort.

Central to the Catifa Carta’s sustainability is its fully disassemblable structure, which allows for efficient recycling and extended product life cycles. The production process involves transforming wood by-products into kraft paper, which is then impregnated with a 100% biogenic binder derived from agro-waste streams. These layers are stacked, pressed, and cut into the iconic bi-curved shell. At the end of its life, the shell can be converted into biochar to enrich soil health and support regenerative reforestation and agricultural projects. 

Each Catifa Carta chair is equipped with a convenient QR code, serving as a gateway to comprehensive information on the chair’s material composition, maintenance requirements, and proper disposal methods. By scanning the QR code, users gain access to valuable insights, empowering them to make informed decisions about their furniture. From understanding the environmental benefits of PaperShell to learning about end-of-life management options such as pyrolysis, the QR code ensures that users are equipped with the knowledge needed to maximize the chair’s eco-friendly potential.

PaperShell: Revolutionizing Sustainable Materials and End-of-Life Practices

PaperShell, a pioneering material developed by Swedish start-up, offers a transformative solution to environmental challenges in the production and disposal of furniture. Born from the vision of founders Anders Breitholtz and Mathieu Gustafsson in 2021, PaperShell is a composite material crafted from kraft paper and a biobinder derived from natural resins. Unlike traditional materials, PaperShell is sourced from residues of Swedish wood production, including sawdust, chips, and branches, without the need for explicitly cutting down trees. This approach reduces environmental impact and ensures a robust and durable material suitable for a diverse range of applications, from furniture to electronics and automotive components.

“While FSC ensures sustainable forest management, PaperShell targets CO2 sequestration. One thing does not exclude the other: The raw material (kraft paper) is FSC-certified, but PaperShell is currently finalizing its certification process,” according to the company on its website.

The production process of PaperShell involves a meticulous layering and pressing of kraft paper impregnated with a 100% biogenic hemicellulose-based binder. This process, conducted without the use of any glue, results in a material that embodies both structural integrity and environmental friendliness. Furthermore, PaperShell stands out for its end-of-life potential, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional disposal methods. After its lifecycle, products made from PaperShell, such as the Catifa Carta chair, can undergo pyrolysis, a process that prevents CO2 release by burning the material in the absence of oxygen. This transformation yields biochar, a stable form of carbon that effectively locks CO2, promoting soil health and supporting regenerative reforestation and agriculture projects. Through these innovative practices, PaperShell not only reduces carbon emissions but also contributes to the creation of a circular economy, where waste is minimized, and resources are maximized for a healthier and more balanced environment.

Arper’s partnership with PaperShell underscores our unwavering commitment to reducing emissions and fostering sustainability in product design. With Catifa Carta as the brand’s pioneering endeavor, it sets the stage for a future where eco-friendly materials like PaperShell permeate its entire product line. As the first manufacturer in the design industry to integrate PaperShell, Arper demonstrates the tangible environmental impact of our choices.

READ an interview published in April 2024 with Roberto Monti, CEO of Arper, and Anders Breitholtz, CEO & Co-Founder of PaperShell.

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