Ilanga Chair Shines a Ray of Hope for the Environment

Birthed out of a recent project we did for Nandos, the iLanga chair not only brings warmth and vibrancy to its surrounds with its colourful weaving and wooden back, but surprisingly it also brings us one step closer to fighting climate change.

Teaming up with Nandos, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, as well as Avocado Vision, we put our heads together to find a solution to the issue of alien plants consuming more water than necessary and ruining our delicate indigenous ecosystems.

Our solution revolved around the idea of creating a strong commercial demand for alien invasive plant biomass. Which is where the iLanga chair comes in. Made with 100% Poplar and Wattle – woods which have their origins in the United States and Australia – the iLanga stands out from the work that we have previously done, as it is the only product that hasn’t been crafted entirely out of wood (since it has a steel framework).

With medium to low densities, Poplar and Wattle come with the benefit of machining and glueing more easily and also work well with plenty of finishes. However, this low density also comes with a disadvantage, as it is not as structurally strong, which means it is not ideal for load bearing applications like furniture. But this disadvantage did not deter us! We simply created a steel frame to strengthen the chair and used the Poplar and Wattle in the back rest and seat.

Supplied by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, our demand for these woods was exactly what was needed to aid in the economic justification for clearing these invasive trees from our waterways. In other words, by creating furniture with Poplar and Wattle, the removal of these trees is sure to speed up with more budget being allocated towards their sustainable clearance.

Through this eco-friendly initiative, an ethically sound cycle of sustainable business can now begin – one with significant social and environmental outcomes that lead us one step closer to ensuring water security and sustainability in our beautiful country.

Keeping this in mind, it only seemed right to use the isiZulu word for sun to name the chair, since things look brighter not only literally with the chair’s vibrant and colourful threading, but also figuratively with what this stunning furniture represents.

Knowing that this custom furniture piece will be added to the Nando’s Casa chair line up, which displays designs from SA’s top talent, we feel privileged to be included among such talent and to be part of the solution – if only a small part – to combating environmental issues in South Africa.

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