The contract for “non-new” furniture in Malmö came into force in February 2019. Following the launch, the mission of spreading the knowledge and increasing the use of the contract took on. As part of the communication strategy, we chose to set up an exhibition to show the content of the contract in a fun and informative way. Through the exhibition we could show that second hand furniture can be just as comfortable and esthetically pleasing as new ones. We also chose to address the history of these furniture as something valuable and desirable – after all who wouldn’t want to carry out their daily work from a chair with 20 years of experience in the legal profession? Or attend a meeting from a chair that has gathered knowledge from the IT business for 15 years?
The exhibition was displayed between December 2nd and December 20th, 2019. The contract had then been in use for about nine months. As the technical departments of the city had only used the contract to a moderate extent, the exhibition was set up in the foyer of the City Hall, which is a place where many employees of the relevant departments are located, or at least frequently visit. The target group for the exhibition was thus primarily office holders and politicians in the City of Malmö, and secondarily other visitors to the City Hall.
All the furniture displayed in the exhibition was borrowed from the four suppliers on the contract (Soeco, RP, Kinnarps and Rekomo), including lighting and carpets. The plants in the exhibition were borrowed from other premises at the City Hall.
An external consultant was hired to produce the text material in an appealing way. From the ceiling hung speech bubbles with short messages such as “Welcome to the future!”, “My old workplace, your new”, “Please, have a seat”, “Don’t be square be circular”. There were also a few bubbles proposing more evidential arguments in favor of the contract, such as “In a 2000 sqm office with 170 employees, you can save SEK 600,000 in purchasing costs and 15 tons of carbon dioxide emissions by using recycled furniture instead of new”. The speech bubbles were made of old cardboard that would otherwise have been thrown away. Transparent sheets were attached to the tables, on which more detailed text about the project and the contract was written. The text on the sheets was not permanent and could therefore be washed away with water after the exhibition, so that the sheets could be used for something else later.
In addition to the contract on non-new furniture with external suppliers, the city of Malmö has some functions within the organization that also focuses on more sustainable options when it comes to interior design. There is a sewing studio and a wood workshop as well as the facilitation service Malvin, mediating furniture already owned by the organization between different departments. The curtains in the exhibition were sewn up by the sewing studio, although they were made in such a way that they could easily be dismantled and used for something else after the exhibition.