• Swedish furniture brand Massproductions hopes to minimize the climate impact of furniture waste by revitalizing old furniture with local upholsters.
  • A service called Face Lift operates in 12 countries and allows customers to find crafts people.

Upholsterers from 12 countries are united in a directory developed by Swedish furniture brand Massproductions to help customers extend the lifespan of their soft furnishings.

Founder Magnus Elebäck said the service, called Face Lift, is essentially a "pretty-looking database" that points out recommended craftsmen on a map so that clients can find a trusted resource for reupholstering their pieces instead of discarding them.

The Face Lift directory matches customers with skilled upholsterers.
Image shows worker stitching materials to furniture.
Image: Dezeen

"Less and less people are turning to their local upholsterer to take care of their furniture," Elebäck told Dezeen. "They'd rather throw it away and buy something new."

"Over time, upholstery can become worn, outdated or have stains that are difficult to remove. This does not mean that the furniture has reached the end of its life. A visit to a skilled upholsterer can give furniture a second chance."

By enabling customers to find help locally, Massproductions hopes to minimise the environmental impact of its furniture while preventing the transport emissions that would be generated if clients from all over the world were to send their pieces back to its production facility in Sweden.

"If we make the craft more visible and accessible, we hope to lower the threshold for recovering a piece of furniture," Elebäck said.

"Upholsterers are a profession that we must cherish. They take care of our furniture and give them a new life, while we save on nature's resources."

The map highlights upholsterers in 12 countries
Google maps shows 12 countries, mainly in Europe, with upholsters.
Image: Google

From here, the aim is to grow Face Lift through word-of-mouth, with Massproductions' network of local dealers, retailers and distributors helping to source qualified upholsterers.

The brand ultimately hopes to expand the initiative into other maintenance services such as the surface treatments needed to refinish metal outdoor furnishings.

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"With all the abuse that the weather gives a piece of outdoor furniture, you need to re-coat it after a few years," Elebäck explained. "But a local powder-coater is not something you always come across."

In a bid to demonstrate the possibilities of restoration and show customers why it's worth going through the extra effort, Massproductions has also commissioned a cast of artists to reupholster four of its used Crown armchairs as part of a series called Crown Jewels.

So far, only one of the one-off pieces has been revealed, courtesy of Geneva artist Flora Mottini who covered the chair in waves of light blue soft foam to create an exaggerated sculptural form.

The seats that form the basis of the project were originally used by a PR agency in Stockholm and returned to Massproductions when they were no longer needed.

Flora Mottini reupholstered one of Massproductions' Crown armchairs
Image shows armchair that has been reupholstered.
Image: Dezeen

"We also did something similar in London with a restaurant in the Gherkin, where we actually took all the furniture back, reconditioned it and then sent it back," Elebäck said.

"It's becoming more and more common that our clients want to do it that way."

"We've always designed things that can be serviced or have a long life," added Massproductions' co-founder and designer Chris Martin. "Now we're seeing more of our customers wanting those aspects too."

The one-off pieces form part of the Crown Jewels collection
The Crown Jewels collection with several upholstered armchairs.
Image: Dezeen

While efforts to decarbonise the furniture industry have traditionally focused on material supply chains, a growing number of companies, including Vestre and Takt, are investigating take-back schemes to take responsibility for the end-of-life aspect of their products.

This is necessary to help them reach their net-zero emissions goals in line with the Paris Agreement, with the aim of ultimately limiting global warming to around 1.5 degrees Celcius.

Although Massproductions has not yet set a concrete timeline for becoming net-zero, the brand is currently working with Danish lifecycle screening company Målbar to calculate its carbon footprint and will be announcing its targets in the coming year.