Simbly Dining Table

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Jacqueline Plein
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The Simbly Dining Table is a great model for the future of furniture. It was consciously designed, carefully crafted, and sustainably-made. The Simbly brand encourages conscious consumption, favoring quality and intention, over filling a shopping cart. There are qualities to the products for everyone, from furniture junkies, to design aficionados, to environmentalists. Simbly is furniture with intention, harkening back to the days where furniture was purchased and kept for generations. The price is comparable to products at mid-range furniture stores like West Elm and Pottery Barn, but the materials and craftsmanship are leagues above. By centering their operation in the United States, there is less concern over ethical or environmental standards. The small scale of the company lends to an anti-fast furniture sentiment. The pieces are flat-packed like an Ikea piece, but Douglas consciously hid the construction. You could disassemble and reassemble your table every day, but no one would ever be able to tell from the design. More furniture brands should look at Simbly’s model. The fact that there is only one design for all their products is not a detriment; instead, it shows a commitment to conscious and careful design over profitability and a wide range of products. We can be confident in the products because Simbly’s furniture makers focus solely on this design. If you have the money to spend on a comparable piece, take a look at Simbly’s offerings. The pieces feel more intentional, and the quality will last you through many apartments, condos, or houses. Keep in mind that this is not a table designed to be thrown away. If we want sustainable furniture, we should be promoting brands like Simbly. Good design and unparalleled quality are some of the most sustainable qualities of furniture. If you want to buy this dining table, go right ahead, and remember to give it the dignity of being passed down for generations.

What it's made of:


The Simbly Dining Table is made from ApplePly hardwood-plywood. The only other material in the product is the metal in the unique fastening system. ApplePly is a type of plywood made exclusively in Eugene, Oregon, from 100% FSC-certified forests. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is Ikea-grade particleboard; ApplePly is known for its high strength-to-weight ratio and durability. Since ApplePly is plywood, it is made from layers of wood pressed and glued together. Normally these adhesives contain toxic ingredients like formaldehyde, but ApplePly uses non-toxic, formaldehyde-free soy-based glues. The layers are made from Alder and Birch, and the veneer (the top layer you see) is made from maple or walnut. The inner plies are from trees grown in Poland or Russia, but they are nonetheless FSC-certified. When looking at the edge of the ApplePly, you see the layers of wood, unlike an MDF used in cheap furniture that looks like sawdust squished together. ApplePly is used in high-end architectural installations, so you know this is a quality product. The dining table ships in a compostable cardboard box made from 40-60% recycled materials. The simplicity of the design lends itself to a modern look, with a natural aesthetic reflecting the sustainability of the production.

How it's made:


Simbly Furniture offers a direct-to-consumer model, which cuts costs without cutting quality. The furniture is assembled outside of Asheville, North Carolina. This ensures quality as well as ethical standards for their workers. Simbly can directly manage what occurs in their one factory, leaving no room to plead ignorant. Simbly shows that they are dedicated to the quality and sustainability of their products along every step in the supply chain. There is a small amount of product offered by Simbly, and an even smaller number of materials needed. The ApplePly is shipped from Oregon, and the fastening system is shipped from Switzerland. Emissions from shipping are lowered in a couple of ways. The factory is closer to American customers, cutting travel distance. The product is flat-packed, which means that Simbly can pack more product into one shipment and use a smaller cardboard box. Simbly states that flat-packing allows a cardboard box that is 80% smaller than if the furniture was pre-assembled. Additionally, Simbly works with EcoCart to offset carbon emissions from every order.

Who makes it:


Simbly is a mission-based furniture company focusing on quality furniture and sustainability. The brand has five total products offered, all in the same design. The original Simbly product was the dining table, designed by Christopher Douglas and selected for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial. The design is loved by many for its fresh look and collapsable nature. The CEO is Josh Dorfman, who is an environmental entrepreneur familiar with sustainable production. The company is small, but it works in their favor for sustainability. By limiting the range of products, Simbly can produce better products in their single factory. The price of the products and the brand’s marketing lend themselves to a slower model of furniture consumption. The dining table was a conscious design that is unique yet functional. Simbly believes that we can have happy people and a happy planet. But Simbly speaks with their actions detailing their steps towards sustainable production and consumption. They source only from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests, the leader in sustainable forestry. The ApplePly hardwood-plywood is non-toxic and formaldehyde-free, exceeding LEED and CARB (California Air Resources Board) standards. They flat-package their pieces in recycled cardboard and are actively testing high performing cardboards from 100% recycled product. For every product sold, Simbly plants a new one, and 1% of revenue goes to 1% For the Planet. They are also on the Sustainable Furnishings Council and are working to reinvigorate the once-furniture manufacturing capital of the world, Asheville North Carolina. There is still room for growth, but it doesn’t seem like Simbly is satisfied until they are the first carbon-negative furniture brand.