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Materials Matter

As an industrial designer Aran knows all about materials. Much of his experience has been in designing high volume consumer products made from plastics. He therefore has a healthy respect and clear understanding of the processes and resources involved in making the throwaway items many of us use daily. In Aran's book good design should not only consider the use and look of an item but all aspects of how it is made, from selection of the materials, the processes required to make those materials, how the item is assembled, packaged, shipped and what happens at the end of its design life. Sustainability is a huge part of this ‘cradle to grave' approach and is one of the main drivers behind everything we do at The Furnace. 

Our Materials



We use bamboo plywood which gives our artwork its signature aesthetic. Not only is bamboo a really strong and beautiful wood to work with but it is a champion when it comes to the environment.

The bamboo we use is FSC certified and we are really excited that our latest shipment of ply is made with totally formaldehyde free, E0 glues. 

Ecofriendly glues & stains


All of our glues and stains are water based, eco-friendly and non-toxic. We use Resene's Environmental Choice paints as a base for our stain to give our maps their distinctive colour.

FSC pine


The frames for our artworks are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) pine. This means that the forests where the pine comes from have been inspected and are managed in accordance with the ten principles of FSC Forest Management. These principles not only consider the environmental aspects of forestry management but also the social aspects, including indigenous people's rights and forestry workers conditions. 

Waste Not

Any sustainable approach to business must consider waste, how to minimise it and dispose of it. Zero waste is our ultimate goal which we are constantly making small steps towards. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Minimising our waste

The main component of our waste is the bamboo offcuts. Although these are biodegradable they currently need to go to landfill. We are however exploring other ways of disposing of them, including turning them into mulch and composting them. 

For now we minimise our offcuts by using them for the smaller bits of the maps, by cutting supplies for schools out of them and by using them in our Re/Cut collection. 

Packaging design

We have put a lot of thought into the design of our packaging to minimise and eliminate single use plastics where possible.

Our artworks all come in an elegant eco-friendly presentation box made from unbleached cardboard, with the scuff protection provided by a compostable/ recyclable bag made from 70% limestone. 


The maps from our Local Places collection and the popular

40 x 50 size from our Statement collection all use a twist wrap cardboard postage system instead of courier bags. Printed paper labels and natural paper tape or cellulose tape maximise the recyclability of the postage packaging. 

We are still working on postage protection for our very large maps. Where possible we re-use bubble wrap and are currently looking into compostable bubble wraps which are starting to become available in New Zealand. 


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