Get in the groove - and protect Mother Earth

Get in the groove - and protect Mother Earth

Designers want to empower people so they think about how to reuse valuable products

Imagine all the furniture in your home was made without the use of any kind of fixing or fastener. How about crafted wooden furniture or decorations that are designed so that all the edges fit snugly together?

This idea comes from the Sustainable Living Lab (or SL2), a technology-driven social enterprise in Singapore. It makes environmentally friendly hand-made wooden chairs, toys and furniture without the use of nails or glue. The company's motto is "Rethinking the Way We Make".

SL2 was founded by three engineering students, Ibnur Rashad, Veera Swaminathan and Tan Huei Ming, who graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2011.

The trio want to empower and inspire others by helping people to rethink the way they recycle, and improve the sustainability of our Earth.

SL2's business of designing, making and selling products involves using the five "E" principles - to explore, experience, experiment, execute and expedite. Its products are made using a "tongue and groove" method. This means each piece of wood has either a deep angled slot - the groove - or an angled ridge - the tongue. The angled fixings allow the two pieces of wood to be joined together securely.

In addition to making furniture without nails, SL2 helps to turn rubbish into valuable assets. Team members use materials thrown away by manufacturers to make useable tools, such as an electricity-free mobile phone speaker made of bamboo.

SL2 creates and sells environmentally friendly and uniquely designed woodwork items, too.

The company believes many customers prefer eco-social friendly businesses. Some of SL2's revenue goes to help disadvantaged people, such as poor village craftsmen and vulnerable women. Another part is used to fund wildlife conservation and reduce the risk posed by natural disasters.

The company provides crafting workshops and programmes to make sustainable products out of trash. By holding activities, such as learning trips for disadvantaged children, experimental environmental leadership programmes for youth leaders and crafting carnivals for families, SL2 promotes effective ways to transform rubbish into something new to help enrich society.

We should all make protecting Mother Earth one of our basic responsibilities. In our busy lives, chasing outstanding academic results, having a successful career, and being environmentally friendly are all achievable if we reduce the use of harmful materials and reuse valuable products.


How does SL2 makes furniture without nails?

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