Jonas Edvard’s ambition is to design sustainable furniture made of nature’s own raw materials and to make consumers aware of their own capacity to transform the world.

By Charlotte Jul

Jonas Edvard is a man with a vision and a mission. A vision of changing the way we make furniture and products in order to preserve our global resources. And a mission of creating furniture from materials found in nature’s own stores and processing them in a way that makes them relevant and conveys the value of the inherent stories embedded in the materials. ‘I want to create valuable experiences that stem from the material and not just from form and function. I prefer to talk about materials, and I like to say that “form follows materials,”’ Edvard explains.

Jonas Edvard is a follower of critical sustainability. The kind of designer who does not insist on sensible footwear and herbal tea but who embraces a modern lifestyle in a modern technological reality and who sees possibilities in new approaches. Such as using natural resources, including seaweed, plant fibres and, in this case, limestone, in an experimental process aimed at creating durable materials which can be used for recyclable furniture that does not put a strain on nature when it is produced or scrapped. ‘It should be a pleasure to scrap your old furniture,’ as he puts it. That is the kind of circular economy and reality that Jonas Edvard operates in. In the borderland between art and design, where message and product come together in the effort to build a better world with materials as the exemplary focal point.

Gesso Project is a side table in two sizes, constructed from a simple black-painted frame in recyclable steel and a tabletop in gesso – a substance made of limestone, gypsum and glue that was originally used as a base for paintings and in intricate rococo furniture. All the components in Jonas Edvard’s gesso material are bio-degradable, and in Edvard’s lab, gesso turns into a new material, where the thermoform properties of the glue and the absorbency of the limestone come together in a strong and versatile product. The material is Jonas’s own invention, as is the processing method that makes it possible to pour, dry, heat up and press the gesso to form cast or moulded products. After experimenting with a variety of approaches, Jonas Edvard wound up rolling out the mass like dough, which he subsequently cut, dried and dyed in four matt colours.

Jonas Edvard is a true inventor on a mission of global responsibility. Because he can, and because he finds that the sustainability debate could use some qualified contributions. _’If we’re going to change things around and pick a sustainable path, I would like to see design products that have a closer relationship with our cultural legacy.

In the Gesso Project, Faxe Limestone Quarry, where I source the limestone for my gesso, isn’t just a museum; it’s a world-known manufacturer of natural coral limestone – also known as Faxe marble.

A material that comes from a 65-million-year-old coral reef that once covered most of modern-day Zealand. Both these stories are interesting, both historically and as a way of exposing Denmark as a country that is able to fuse modern Danish furniture design with sustainable and processed natural materials, sourced from the Danish landscape.’_

In this sense, Gesso Project is a hybrid, which has aesthetic references to the Nordic tradition that is Jonas Edvard’s legacy, but which also passes the baton not only to the global and technological idiom of the twenty-first century but also to a generation and a world that he wishes to take a shared responsibility for and interact, share and communicate with through his work. Because critical sustainability contains a modern potential that, according to Jonas Edvard, has the capacity to transform the world, if only we discover how.