Wood is a favorite among designers for its natural beauty, the random grain that makes each piece unique, and its most sustainable source. But while it is certainly better than regular plastic in this regard, extensive use of wood also has a negative environmental impact if left unchecked. Unlike money, wood goes to trees, and trees have to be cut down to become the building blocks of furniture and other products. These trees need to be replanted of course, but there is also the issue of logs being wasted and thrown away. Plastic and metal aren’t the only things that can be recycled, and HUG is trying to do the same for discarded wood that can then be used to make other pieces of wood furniture.
Designers: Mediot Barbara, Yovsan Julia
Using wood, which is a biodegradable and more sustainable material compared to plastic, does not mean there will be no waste. While scrap wood pieces eventually degrade or can be used for smaller items, they are still considered wasted materials and potential wasted. Pieces of plastic can sometimes be broken down and recycled into other compounds, and the pieces can be used to make other textiles. Likewise, scrap wood can become the basis for other products, such as furniture built from the building blocks of Progetto or “Project” HUG.
HUG isn’t just all about recycled wood, although that’s part of its appeal. It is defined as a “multifunctional object consisting of simple elements” that can be assembled in different ways to create different pieces of furniture. In a way, it’s like a simplified LEGO system made of wooden parts, giving people the freedom to create chairs, shelves, or even benches that alternate between opposite directions. Best of all, you can reassemble it as your needs change over time.
This is the third part of the HUG attraction as it can be collected and reassembled as easy as cutting LEGO bricks. That’s because the system doesn’t use nails or even glue, the latter being a potentially hazardous chemical that harms the environment when it’s time to dispose of the product. Then again, the HUG is designed to be reused over and over again, so it’s not like it’s going to meet a garbage heap or a recycling plant anytime soon.
Progetto Hug is still in its infancy, but it certainly has a lot of potential, both in theory and in practice. The simplicity and modularity of the design makes it easy to cram parts into a flat package, and the flexibility of assembling them can lead to more outlandish furniture constructions and ideas over time. The current iteration of HUG comes in a natural finish, but there may be more colors available in the future.