Outdoor Design Week

Italian manufacturer Fast practises what it preaches: its nature-inspired outdoor furniture is produced with a respect for nature in mind.

Fast’s mission is to make long-lasting furniture that sits comfortably in nature without destroying it. Seen here, the timeless Radice Quadra table paired with the top-selling Forest chair

The Nature of Design: Fast | News

Fast’s mission is to make long-lasting furniture that sits comfortably in nature without destroying it. Seen here, the timeless Radice Quadra table paired with the top-selling Forest chair

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Everyone loves nature; it’s quite unfashionable not to. But one Italian furniture-making company, in particular, seems to cherish it more than most. ‘Nature represents the context in which our furnishings are located, but also our daily life, being, as we are, immersed in nature and surrounded by woods between Lake Garda and Lake Idro,’ says Marco Levrangi, CEO of outdoor design brand Fast. ‘It is an integral part and source of inspiration for most of our products.’ This brand-defining embrace of the earth’s bounty also comes with a serious commitment to preserving it. ‘As an outdoor brand, safeguarding the environment is both a necessity and a raison d’être.’ says Levrangi. ‘We have always taken a concrete approach to sustainability.’

Based in Vestone near Italy’s Lake Garda, Fast enjoys glorious forested surroundings that feed the company’s drive to sustain the natural environment but also inform its furniture designs

The Nature of Design: Fast | News

Based in Vestone near Italy’s Lake Garda, Fast enjoys glorious forested surroundings that feed the company’s drive to sustain the natural environment but also inform its furniture designs

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The ‘slow’ approach to manufacturing is, ironically, Fast’s way. For many businesses, sustainability concerns have become pressing of late, requiring serious material and operational analysis and overhaul in order to remain viable in a world that is shunning polluting materials and methods. But Fast has consistently pursued environment-nurturing practices. Its principal material of choice since its launch in 1995 is aluminium which is 100% recyclable and, in most cases, previously recycled from scrap. It has also strived since day one to keep all material and component sourcing local so that it boasts zero carbon miles for the production of its furniture.


'For each phase, from the cutting of the profiles to the sandblasting to the painting, we carefully monitor electric-, water- and thermal consumption, and waste production'


Determined not to rest on its laurels in its leafy lakeside home, however, Fast is engaged in a monitoring program, the LCA, which measures the environmental impact of a product’s manufacture. Take the elegant 2-seater sofa from the Aikana family designed by Emmanuel Gallina. Consisting of a frame made from extruded die-cast aluminium, it has a production process consisting of 16 phases. ‘For each phase, from the cutting of the profiles to the sandblasting to the painting, we carefully monitor electric-, water- and thermal consumption, and waste production,’ explains Levrangi.

The verdant lakeland location is more than just inspiration for Fast. It is an area traditionally linked to metal processing, and the source, therefore, of its skilled workforce and principle materials

The Nature of Design: Fast | News

The verdant lakeland location is more than just inspiration for Fast. It is an area traditionally linked to metal processing, and the source, therefore, of its skilled workforce and principle materials

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Allowing a picture of a product’s environmental performance to be built into every phase of its life cycle, from the raw material to the finished product, the LCA system hasn’t radically changed the company’s habits, but rather has helped Fast to identify inefficiencies and further reduce waste. It is also a step towards that new golden ticket of trading: transparency. Good LCA data is rewarded with EDP certification (Environmental Product Declaration), and Fast is very happily one of the first outdoor furniture companies to have obtained EPD certification for some of its products.

The Aikana 2-seater sofa and the Ushuaia sun-lounger are two of the four products to have gained EPD® (Environmental Product Declaration) certification, and Fast is working hard to add more to the list

The Nature of Design: Fast | News

The Aikana 2-seater sofa and the Ushuaia sun-lounger are two of the four products to have gained EPD® (Environmental Product Declaration) certification, and Fast is working hard to add more to the list

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Minimising waste in the manufacturing process of course isn’t the only responsible course of action. Questioning the need for newness in the first place and manufacturing things to last are considerations of equal importance. Longevity is now a key element of the Fast proposition and addressed in the timelessness of new design, as in the case of the sleek and elegant loungers by Emmanuel Gallina and the clean graphic lines of the Radice Quadra tables by Robby Cantarutti & Partners, alongside improved functionality; the life-lengthening waterproofing technology incorporated into the Aikana cushions, for example, is a game-changer.

The Ria collection of outdoor seating demonstrates perfectly how materials, colours and shapes are chosen to blend harmoniously with the surrounding environment

The Nature of Design: Fast | News

The Ria collection of outdoor seating demonstrates perfectly how materials, colours and shapes are chosen to blend harmoniously with the surrounding environment

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So much for preserving the environment that its products mingle with, but how do Fast’s collection communicate visually with the great outdoors? ‘All our furnishings are inspired by nature and are in harmony with it,’ asserts Levrangi. The best-selling and recently extended range of chairs, Forest, is a clear example, but newer designs demonstrate it too. ‘The latest collaboration with the designer Alberto Lievore, the Moai collection of tables, is inspired by the peculiar shapes of the Roman pine: sturdy legs and a slender, elegant top reminiscent of the umbrella foliage typical of these trees. With the new Ria collection, on the other hand, the reference to the natural world is twofold, in shape and intent. the enveloping structure of the seat embraces the body just as the bays and inlets of the coast welcome the sea and boats, both physically and metaphorically.’ Undeniably a most comfortable way to be at one with nature.

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