Introducing Design Circulation

  • by Pia Narula

Today, we’re thrilled to unveil Design Circulation, the first fully circular furniture service.

Design Circulation is a system in which furniture is never discarded nor destroyed, but instead circulated from home to home in perpetuity. For our customers, it’s a flexible, relatively accessible, and truly sustainable means of owning heirloom-quality furniture.

It’s the culmination of nearly two years of work by an interdisciplinary team of furniture makers, industrial designers, and at least one mathematician, and we’re excited to share it with the world!

Here’s how it works: when you buy any eligible piece of furniture from 57st. design, we’ll guarantee to buy it back—at any point in the future, and regardless of wear--for a significant portion of the original purchase price in store credit. We’ll take that piece back to our workshop in Chicago, restore it to its original condition, and sell (circulate) it to another customer.

But how does it actually work?

Here’s an example. Let’s say you buy one of our dining tables for $1,700, but, a few years down the line, you end up moving to a bigger home and want a larger dining table to match. We’ll come and pick-up that first dining table (for free), give you $510 in 57st. design store credit, and take it back to our workshop, where we’ll refinish it to its original condition before selling (circulating) it to another client. That $510 in store credit never expires. And, if you don’t want any more furniture from 57st. design, you can transfer that credit to a family member or a friend.

Design Circulation is unique to 57st. design for the same reasons that 57st. design is unique to the furniture industry. First, our furniture is solid hardwood and hand-finished, which makes it easy to restore to its original condition. Second, we manufacture our furniture in-house and all in Chicago, which means we already have the infrastructure in place to refinish furniture. It also means it’s easy to bring furniture back to Chicago from our customer’s homes, something we wouldn’t be able to do were our furniture manufactured overseas.

We believe Design Circulation can push back on the prevailing paradigm of “new” versus “used” in relation to the objects we own. We hope Design Circulation will encourage people to reimagine a product’s life-cycle as potentially circular rather than necessarily linear, and, in so doing, promote that product’s longevity through continued use.

We believe Design Circulation is having your cake and eating it too: it’s good for our customers, it’s good for 57st. design, and it’s good for the environment.

Interested in learning more about Design Circulation? Check out the Design Circulation page on our website, or the FAQs on Design Circulation!


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