Kuskoa Bi: The Bioplastic Chair That Could Revolutionize the Furniture Industry

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Revolutionary. Mind-blowing. Just plain awesome.

That’s what I thought when I first came across Alki and their bioplastic chairs.

Alki is a French furniture company that values sustainable practices. The company started in 1981 with the goal of creating local jobs in a small town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Since then they have developed and built a beautiful collection of minimalist handmade wood furnishings.

“We are very much aware that everything we do, whether as individuals or groups, has a direct impact on the surrounding environment. This is why the oak we use comes from sustainably managed forests and most of our upholstery is made from 100% natural materials...”

When they decided to make a chair that would envelop and support the user and found that plastic is [unfortunately] the best material for that shape, they turned to non-traditional methods. The result was a completely biodegradable chair: Kuskoa Bi.

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“Bioplastic is a polymer with similar characteristics and properties to plastics made from non-renewable fossil fuels. It can be injected, extruded and thermoformed but it is made from plant-based renewable resources (beet, corn starch, sugarcane, etc.). This biobased polymer is fully recyclable and its organic properties mean that, when subjected to an industrial process, it is biodegradable. Moreover, another significant environmental aspect lies in its reduced carbon footprint as bioplastic production results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

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Kuskoa Bi has a molded bioplastic seat (with upholstered options available), designed to support the back and arms, that sits on a lovely curved wood base. The clean, pared-down design makes it go well in many styles of interiors. I love it with the mustard upholstery in this restaurant!

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It comes partially or fully upholstered, and there's also an office chair version.

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It is inspiring how Alki creates these beautiful designs while remaining determined not to compromise on sustainability. When they ran into a problem, the took it as a challenge and the result is the first commercially available bioplastic chair. That’s incredible!

Kuskoa Bi design by: Iratzoki Lizaso | Photo credit: Mito, used with permission from Alki