Compatibility of luxury and sustainability
Goodbye, cheap furniture industry
The fast furniture industry is a booming industry that has grown particularly strongly in the last few decades. One Swedish furnishings giant in particular played a key role in driving this development forward, and numerous others followed this, as it turned out, not particularly sustainable example. Because: the seemingly endless supply of inexpensive furniture also brings with it negative aspects that are often overlooked, and it has changed consumer behavior immensely over time.
Probably the greatest evil of the fast furniture industry is the throwaway culture that comes with it. Since the furniture is often very inexpensive, it is given less emotional value and is often viewed almost as a “disposable product”. Of course, not all products are thrown away after a single use, but they are disposed of after a short period of use and replaced with the next item. This not only produces an enormous amount of waste, most of which is not recycled, but also wastes valuable raw materials. Ultimately, this cheap furniture ends up in landfills, where it is burned and pollutes the atmosphere, or in rivers or even the sea, where it harms the environment.
Exploitation of raw materials and labor
A serious and far-reaching negative aspect of the fast furniture industry is the exploitation of raw materials and labor. In order to be able to produce inexpensive furniture for the end consumer, inferior materials are often used, which wear out quickly and have to be disposed of, or tropical wood from distant countries is used, which leads to the deforestation of the rainforests. In addition, in many cases environmentally friendly production and fair working conditions are completely foregone. For example, in many countries, workers are employed at dumping wages and child labor is still not taboo.
The situation is particularly dramatic in some African countries, where huge piles of waste furniture from Europe have accumulated in recent years. These are often exported to countries illegally and pose a major environmental and health risk to the population.
Since when has this actually been like this?
Industrialization, international trade and mass production were the catalyst for today’s predominant throwaway culture. Keyword “culture” – this development occurred gradually and cannot be dated to a specific point in time. Not everyone has followed the trend of rapid consumption. Even our grandparents and great-grandparents often assigned a higher value to furniture and possessions - some of us sat on the same couch at grandma's for several decades and we all know the myth of "good old" technology devices that used to last up to 30-40 years have and nowadays not even a decade. The cheap furniture industry and the general throwaway culture have also displaced countless smaller retailers in recent decades who were unable to keep up with the low prices because they often still produced locally or by hand. This is just a microscopic look at the far-reaching effects of throwaway culture – so now a change of scenery.
Australia is burning and heartbreaking images of animals in distress are circulating around the world. Cars on the roads in California are falling into sinkholes and our oceans are slowly becoming acidic - in the truest sense of the word - they are becoming more acidic due to excessive CO₂ emissions. The way people interact, both retailers and consumers, has far-reaching effects on numerous aspects of our environment: human, chemical, physical, economic and ecological.
Fortunately, a rethink is now taking place. By now, everyone has probably noticed that respectful treatment of resources, people, animals and our environment cannot be ignored forever. Sustainability is important - not least in order to preserve for future generations what we ourselves were able to enjoy or have gradually destroyed.
But what can we do as individuals to live more sustainably and contribute to a better world?
What can we do?
In order to counteract the negative effects of the fast furniture industry and the throwaway culture, manufacturers and consumers must act equally. Manufacturers, such as the MAGNA Atelier, which rely on one use environmentally friendly and sustainable production and produce locally, make a first and important contribution to changing something.
Consumers, in turn, should be aware that inexpensive products often come with a high ethical price - what they save on cheap furniture or clothing is paid by a person somewhere else in the world with their human dignity, health and life. As consumers, we must increasingly rely on long-lasting and sustainable products, such as: B. one high quality marble table.
And this is where the term “luxury” often comes into play. Many people associate higher prices with “luxury”. But is it really luxury to save for several months on a table that you will then keep for 20-30 years or even forever, instead of immediately buying the more affordable piece of furniture from the discount store that you replace every few years?
The connotation of luxury has shifted somewhat and become distorted in recent decades. Longevity and quality should not be a luxury. A high-quality, locally produced table may be more expensive than a model from a low-cost supplier, but if you don't plan to replace it after 1-2 years, then in the long run the high-quality marble table is even a better investment compared to the pressed wood table. Likewise, tables made of marble and other quality materials also have better value retention and resale value.
Are sustainability and luxury compatible?
Yes, sustainability and luxury are compatible. First of all, we would like to point out that luxury does not have to come with excessive prices. A clear distinction should be made when it comes to luxury products - there are those products where a high price is justified by the outstanding quality, elaborate and ethical production and then there are products that do not differ in quality from cheaper products and where the high price comes from the brand name and the image of the brand. So luxury is not always the same as luxury.
We at MAGNA Atelier, for example, see the luxury in our products in theirs Uniqueness, the elaborate and manual production and their outstanding quality — but these are not arbitrarily high-priced products where you pay for our brand name.
A new trend in the luxury segment is the “slow consumption” movement, which focuses on the production of long-lasting, high-quality products that are not only subject to short-term trends. Slow consumption is about the production of furniture, clothing and accessories to slow down and focus on quality rather than quantity. Luxury brands like Hermès and Chanel have traditionally relied on this philosophy, offering products that can be worn and used across generations and that not only maintain their value, but even increase it. But we deny it Not that with these brands you also pay a high amount for the brand itself.
After all, even today the aspect of sustainability can be a luxurious aspect. Products and services that are produced in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner usually have a higher price level and are seen as a luxurious alternative to conventional products. Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important selling point in the luxury segment and shows that luxury and quality do not necessarily have to come at the expense of the environment and social responsibility.
The prime example: Our MAGNA glass ceramic
Our patented MAGNA Glaskeramik® is a sustainable design product made from 100% recycled glass. It is a material that is made from 100% recycled waste and can be completely recycled into the glass production cycle after use. The main advantage of using glass ceramic is its invaluable contribution to supporting the environment. Because: MAGNA Glaskeramik follows an environmentally conscious production process in which a large part of the energy requirement is generated from our own solar systems and the water used in the manufacturing process is also recycled and used multiple times. Glass ceramics therefore make a significant contribution to conserving natural resources, especially for sustainable building projects.
Due to the clod pattern of the melted glass shards created during production, each glass ceramic plate is unique with unique details. The translucent properties created during the process, which are highlighted when backlit, make the material particularly attractive. MAGNA glass ceramic represents one of the latest sustainable innovations for the construction industry, architecture and design.
And what about the natural stones that the MAGNA Atelier uses for its unique pieces?
Are natural stones ecologically sustainable?
We at MAGNA Atelier are particularly proud of ours Unique pieces made from unique natural stones. Natural stones have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in the areas of furniture, home construction and interior design, as the market moves more and more towards “natural”. There are many reasons why natural stones are environmentally sustainable and are a good choice for the environment and our society.
Natural stones are long-lasting and resilient
One of the most important features of our natural stone tables is their longevity and durability. They are more resistant to wear, scratches and moisture compared to other materials such as wood or plastics, giving them heirloom quality. Their durability means they are less prone to wear and tear, meaning they last longer and therefore do not need to be replaced. This reduces the need for new materials and reduces waste.
Natural stones are recyclable and reusable
Tables made from natural stones can also be easily recycled and reused. It is possible to crush them and use them as aggregates for concrete, asphalt or other building materials. This reduces the need for new materials and therefore reduces our ecological footprint. Natural stones have a low emission rate in contrast to other materials such as plastics. No energy needs to be used when processing natural stone. Likewise, no dangerous chemicals or gases are used for processing, which means that they are more environmentally friendly to produce and are also suitable as a material for allergy sufferers.
Natural stones are natural materials
Natural stones are natural materials that are extracted from the earth. Unlike synthetic materials, they contain no chemicals or artificial additives, meaning they are safe for the environment and for our health. Due to their longevity, durability, recyclability and biodegradability, natural stones can reduce the ecological footprint and minimize environmental impact.
In addition, they are natural materials that bring an aesthetic and natural component to our furnishings. To ensure that the natural stones we use are imported in a sustainable manner, there are several important steps we take into account. One way to import natural stone sustainably is to select suppliers that offer sustainable practices and certifications. We also have our own fleet of vehicles, which allows us to process the natural stones ourselves from A to Z.
There are also various certifications for natural stones that indicate that the stones were mined in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. An example of such certification is the Responsible Stone Standard (RSS), which ensures that natural stones have been mined and traded in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. It is also important to check the countries of origin of the natural stones to ensure that they do not come from illegal mining activities. We maintain close and personal contacts with all of our quarries.
Another way to import natural stone sustainably is to promote recycling and reuse of existing stones. Excess stones can be reused instead of importing new ones. This reduces the need for new mining sites and reduces the environmental footprint of imports. When transporting natural stones, we also ensure that the environmental impact is kept as low as possible. We also offset the CO₂ emissions of each order by planting trees and collecting plastic bottles from the ocean. You can see the MAGNA Atelier’s CO2 compensation here.
Natural stone mining can promote ecological diversity
Natural stone mining can even contribute to promoting ecological diversity in various ways. One of these is the creation of habitats for a variety of animal and plant species. During the quarrying of natural stone, pits or quarries are often created that can serve as new living spaces if these pits or quarries are not filled with waste or construction rubble. If the quarries are preserved as natural habitats, they can contribute to the creation of ecosystems. An example of this is the creation of wetlands in former quarries. These areas can serve as habitat for a variety of waterfowl and amphibians. They can also become breeding grounds for insects such as dragonflies and butterflies.
Natural stone mining can also help protect local ecosystems. When a quarry area is designated as a protected area, rare plant and animal species found in the area can be protected. This can help increase biodiversity in the region.
Sustainable furniture made from natural stone – Made in Germany
So if you as a consumer want to contribute to a more sustainable world and are looking for environmentally friendly furniture from Germany, then you have come to the right place at MAGNA Atelier. Our unique design pieces made from natural stones and glass ceramics are manufactured locally in Germany. We also offset the CO₂ emissions of every order.
We also offer ours Exclusive Line very special unique pieces that represent the epitome of the fusion of sustainability and luxury. Exceptional and limited natural stones are featured in this collection Heirloom quality tables processed.