The compelling story of PlayWoodHouse design     —
From connectors to home furniture: the story of PlayWood, born to create a more sustainable furniture industry
- Lorenzo Magliani
"Everyone knew it was impossible, until a fool who didn't know came along and did it"
This famous quote attributed to Einstein or Pagnol, with a bit of irony and imagination, tells the beginning of our story. You might be wondering why!
When we were born in 2015, we didn't really know what direction we would take, and we certainly didn't know that we would become a company considered revolutionary for the furniture industry. We started with a simple connector to join two wooden panels and slowly discovered that we could do so much more. Initially, we were clueless about some of the limitations of the furniture industry and, unaffected by them, we overcame them. What limits? I'll explain below; let's start at the beginning...
A story of passion and sustainability
In 2015, PlayWood was born from the passion for DIY and nature of Stefano, Mirco and Carlotta, the founders.
The initial idea was to give everyone the chance to build their own furniture in a simple way and using natural materials, without the need for any special tools or knowledge: thus the PlayWood connector was born.
The connector is a clamp that allows you to quickly and easily join two wooden panels together, creating indoor or outdoor furniture to your liking or following projects shared by our designers.
The ability to create your own designs without the need for screwdrivers, drills, screws or any special manual skills or knowledge has immediately attracted people and professionals, and in the first year we delivered to customers in more than 30 countries. The main objective was to provide a tool that would last for many years and allow people to reuse and optimise materials in their homes that are ready for landfill. Providing a tool that promotes reuse and respect for nature was a core value for us.
The furniture collection
Valuing time and space, providing sustainable products, encouraging reuse: the connector is a small object that offers great possibilities. This allowed us to unleash our imagination and use these principles to grow and create our own furniture collection; we wanted it to be original, beautiful and functional, with particular attention to the environment and quality.
A year and a half after the birth of PlayWood, our first piece of furniture came out of our joinery: the Karya desk. A functional piece of furniture with minimalist aesthetics, designed for the home and office. Easy to assemble and disassemble, light to move and designed to meet all the needs of those who use it as a workstation.
We have maintained and cultivated these principles to create other pieces of our furniture collection such as the Karya bookcase, the Adakto modular furniture and the Happycentro children's bed.
❝This allowed us to unleash our imagination and use these principles to grow and create our own furniture line; we wanted it to be original, beautiful and functional, with particular attention to the environment and quality❞
Furnish well, furnish better!
PlayWood was created to combat the use of disposable furniture, to respond to modern demands for space management, frequent movement and change. According to reports by the European Environmental Bureau, in Europe alone more than 11 million tonnes of furniture end up in landfills every year. Fast furniture, made of cheap materials, is designed for one-time use rather than for resale or reuse. And because fast furniture is inexpensive, people are more likely to dispose of it when they move rather than pay to move it.
"At PlayWood we believe that the right place for furniture is the home, not the landfill. You don't need to stop making or buying beautiful furniture, you need to do it better and with more foresight"
– Stefano Guerrieri, CEO & Co-founder of PlayWood
The limits we have crossed
The biggest causes of waste in the furniture world are changing trends, high repair or reconditioning costs, poor materials and the inability to assemble, disassemble or reconfigure furniture.
From the beginning, we thought that the most sustainable thing we could do was to design products that people would keep. Furniture that won't deteriorate when moved or follow trends that go out of fashion in a few years. We design all our products to be a kit of parts that can be repaired individually; this means that if a component breaks, rather than throwing away the whole product, only the broken part can be replaced. In addition, we have always preferred to keep production here in Italy, despite the high costs, to maintain direct control over the quality and sustainability of our products. This allows us to make furniture that is made to last a long time, to be assembled and reconfigured, so that only the damaged part can be replaced, and of high quality.
Quality and naturalness
At PlayWood we have always believed that haste is not a friend of quality. Thinking, designing and creating are processes that take time, and each product must be born with passion. Before we bring a product to market, we take care to choose the materials, which must be sustainable for the environment, and the production technologies so that the impact is sustainable.
Each product we create is unique, the natural materials with which it is made make it different from any other. We have made naturalness and diversity our values because every natural material has differences and sometimes imperfections that only increase its value and uniqueness.
Every desk, every bookcase, every piece of furniture we produce is conceived by designers, who are attentive to innovation and the ever-evolving needs of customers, and created by expert craftsmen who have been doing this job for generations. Finally, before leaving our warehouse, each product must pass a careful quality check.
All our furniture is made from FSC-certified, formaldehyde-free wood. Our materials come from sustainable forests. We only use water-based, solvent-free paints. Each product is handmade, entirely made in ITALY.
We have developed strong and trusting relationships with our partners. When it comes to production, we have very high standards for both the quality of the materials and the impeccable finish of each piece. Sustainable furniture, well designed, well made and built to last: core values that guide our daily work.
The best prices thanks to online sales
We sell our products exclusively online so that anyone can buy furniture from the comfort of their own home. This allows us to keep prices on high quality products more affordable than in the physical shop by avoiding the overpricing of sellers. In an evolving world, the needs and opportunities for customers evolve, which is why we want to put our products within everyone's reach. In order to do this, we have had to do a lot of research to invent the perfect packaging that allows our products to travel long distances in record time without being damaged, and our customer service team is always on hand to offer the best advice in terms of design, matching and efficient solutions.
❝At PlayWood we believe that the right place for furniture is the home, not the landfill. You don't need to stop making or buying beautiful furniture, you need to do it better and with more foresight❞
PlayWood is committed to thinking about where you live, inside and outside your home. Natural products help to improve the problem of indoor pollution, invisible inside the home, and outdoor pollution; because the place we live in is not limited to our home, but is first and foremost the external environment. To create a circular economy we need to extend the life of the products we use and stop seeing waste as a necessary evil; it can be avoided.
"We want to create products designed for the home, not for the landfill"