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Wentz innovative furniture incorporates ocean plastic waste

In just a few short years, Guilherme Wentz has established himself as one of the most important new Brazilian furniture designers, not by imitating the long line of modern masters that came before him but with his own minimal, contemporary style. His body of work is evolving quickly, becoming more technical and reflective of the designer’s values.

Wentz, who is based in the southern Brazilian city of Caxias do Sul, launched his first line in 2019. The clean, crisp collection didn’t necessarily look like a tribute to nature, but was informed by his time on the beaches surrounding Punta del Este, Uruguay, one of his favourite destinations. Nature, and the ocean in particular, is a passion for Wentz, informing all of his work. But he is quickly progressing from taking inspiration from nature to taking action on the environmental crisis that threatens it.

Mar by Wentz: ‘designing to make a difference’

Wentz table with wave-like ripple in centre, from the Mar collection

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

With his latest collection, titled ‘Mar’, or ‘sea’ in Portuguese, Wentz is not just taking inspiration from the water; he is harvesting ocean-borne plastic waste to incorporate into the line. The collection comprises the ‘Onda’ and ‘Mare’ coffee tables, elegant marble-topped pieces with wave-inspired details that are unexpected given the choice of material. There is also a special edition of his popular ‘Vidro’ glass side table, but the highlights of the effort are the ‘Canoa’ lounge chair and ‘Tubo’ dining chair.

Tubular blue chair from Wentz Mar collection by Guilherme Wentz

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Detail of white chair from Wentz Mar collection by Guilherme Wentz

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Both chairs are upholstered with fabric woven from virgin polyester and recycled ocean plastic using a computerised 3D-weaving technique. Developed by the clothing industry, it allows an entire slipcover to be created in one continuous piece, pre-shaped to match the chair’s form. The pieces are then hand-fitted and finished with thread that is also made of recycled plastic. Wentz has trademarked this innovative process under the name We-Knit, which yields seamless, surprising shapes. It’s hard to imagine either of these chairs being possible without this technology, particularly the intertwined cylindrical shapes of the ‘Tubo’.

Guilherme Wentz's studio in Caxias do Sul

Guilherme Wentz’s studio in Caxias do Sul

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

These pieces represent a turning point in Wentz’s career, not just for their intriguing design or innovative fabrication method but because they mark a permanent shift for him and his company. ‘I’ve stopped designing for designers. Now, I’m designing to make a difference. I want to use my craft to make things better for the environment in everything I do,’ he says.

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