Environmental Product Declaration, life cycle assessment, LCA News, Architect, EPD

LEVA chair design by Foster + Partners for Mattiazzi

12 + 11 + 8 May 2021

LEVA chair design for Mattiazzi by Foster + Partners

Design: Foster + Partners, Architects, UK

LEVA Chair for Mattiazzi production in factory:
LEVA chair design by Foster + Partners for Mattiazzi
photo © Aaron Hargreaves / Foster + Partner

Foster + Partners completes first EPD to encourage collaborators to embrace sustainability

As part of the practice’s first Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), Foster + Partners has completed a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) of the LEVA chair designed for Mattiazzi. The industrial design and sustainability teams at Foster + Partners undertook this project with a view to encourage and challenge the manufacturers we work with to embrace more sustainable production processes.

LEVA chair Foster + Partners design
photograph courtesy of Mattiazzi

Chris Trott, Partner and Head of Sustainability, Foster + Partners: “Foster + Partners has always been committed to advocating and selecting products that have clear environmental credentials. Therefore, EPDs offered a logical route for us to analyse the design and development of the LEVA chair, giving us a meaningful and incisive data that will inform our design processes as we strive towards a more sustainable approach.”

LEVA chair design by Foster + Partners
photograph © Fabian Frinzel courtesy of Mattiazzi

An EPD transparently reports comparable, objective, and third-party verified performance data on a series of environmental impacts including the global warming potential (GWP) generated during all life stages of the chair. This process of creating an EPD is usually carried out by manufacturers. However, the practice was keen to engage with the process to gain a more holistic understanding of the way embodied carbon is measured and quantified in products.

LEVA chair design by Foster + Partners
photo © Fabian Frinzel courtesy of Mattiazzi

LEVA is the first timber chair designed by Foster + Partners. Combining craftsmanship with sophisticated machinery to create an ergonomically designed chair, the sparing use of material is rooted in the idea of sustainability – to do more with less. Leva is manufactured by Mattiazzi, who is an industry leader in sustainable manufacturing. They have been extremely open and supportive of the EPD process allowing access to their supplier networks, energy use and manufacturing techniques.

LEVA chair Foster + Partners design
photograph courtesy of Mattiazzi

Made of ash sustainably sourced from Eastern Europe, the chair is designed to reduce the amount of waste generated during its manufacture. Any timber discarded during the machining process is used to fuel the heating system at the factory, supplementing the photovoltaic panels on the factory roof.

Film on YouTube

Following the ISO 14025 and ISO 14044 standard requirements, the process of assessment has involved a collaboration between the designers, environmental consultants and the manufacturer to measure every step of the chair’s creation and delivery from the raw timber and the upholstery options to the packaging and its end of life. The EPD for the LEVA chair is 2.73 kg CO2eq for the un-upholstered chair, 10.2-10.7 kgCO2eq for wool upholstered chairs and 15.6-17.8 kgCO2eq for leather upholstered chairs.  This compares well to similar chairs which average 43.9 kgCO2e. The fitting out and equipping of our buildings is a major contributor to carbon emissions worldwide so transparency is key in enabling a more sustainable approach to the design of products.

LEVA chair design by Foster + Partners
photo © Fabian Frinzel courtesy of Mattiazzi

Mike Holland, Head of Industrial Design, Foster + Partners, said: “From its inception, the practice has always taken a holistic approach towards sustainability. The EPD process has given us an opportunity to take a forensic view of where materials come from, how they are processed and everything that contributes to their carbon content. It is an extremely comprehensive and detailed overview that allows us to understand how our design decisions impact the sustainability of our products. We hope that with this knowledge we can challenge, encourage and guide our clients and product manufacturers on the journey towards more sustainable products.”

The Making of LEVA from Mattiazzi on Vimeo.

The practice is committed to pushing for all new products to have a Life Cycle Assessment and EPD by the manufacturer in its quest to reduce carbon emissions.

LEVA chair Foster + Partners design
photo courtesy of Mattiazzi

Expressing his gratitude that the International EPD System is Foster + Partners’ first choice to further mainstream EPD development and use in early product design, Sebastiaan Stiller, MD, EPD International AB, said, “to facilitate that eventually only the most sustainably designed products come to market. Our contribution is to make our trusted EPD Services as accessible as possible. So that any organization, no matter its size, location and industry can publish EPDs in an as sensible, simple and affordable way.”

Link to EPD

Climate Declaration summary here

Foster + Partners, architects headquartered in Battersea, London, UK

Comments for LEVA chair design by Foster + Partners for Mattiazzi page welcome

Foster + Partners Designs

Recent Architecture by Foster + Partners

Guangming Hub, Shenzhen, China
Guangming Hub, Shenzhen high-speed rail link
rendering © Foster + Partners
Guangming Hub

Hankook Technoplex in Pangyo, South Korea
Hankook Technoplex in Pangyo, Korea
photo : TIME OF BLUE
Hankook Technoplex in Pangyo

Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Centre, Cairo, Egypt
Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Centre Cairo
image courtesy of architecture office
Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Centre

Apple Central World, Ratchaprasong, Bangkok, Thailand, Southeast Asia
Design: Foster + Partners with Architects 49 Ltd.
Apple Central World Bangkok Foster + Partners
photo © Apple
Apple Central World Bangkok Store

Foster + Partners Architects

London Architecture

London Architecture Walking Tours

London Architect

Foster + Partners Architecture

Foster + Partners Architecture Designs

Comments / photos for LEVA chair design by Foster + Partners for Mattiazzi page welcome