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The Italian design studio Formafantasma, led by Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, designed the unique system for Hem, an independent design brand and platform for progressive thinking. The flexible shelving system will target retail outlets as well as residential and commercial offices. Its key selling points, in addition to its special design, are:

  • Easy assembly
  • Durable surface
  • Rigid construction
  • Adjustable feet solution / wall fastening solution

Recycled aluminium and Hydro EcoDesign

The collaboration between the three companies included principles from Hydro EcoDesign, a concept that combines technical excellence with creative design to improve the functionality of a product, as well as its social and environmental footprint.

Hem's aluminium shelving system based on recycled extruded aluminium profiles from Hydro
Hem's aluminium shelving system based on recycled extruded aluminium profiles from Hydro

The shelf is made with Hydro RESTORE, recycled aluminium consisting of pre- and post-consumer aluminium scrap. Pre-consumer scrap is waste from the manufacturing process that is melted, cast and then looped back into the extrusion process. 

Post-consumer scrap has already lived a complete “life,” for example as a window frame, an automotive wheel, or a bike frame. It therefore has a very low carbon footprint.

Hydro is fully transparent on the content of pre- and post-consumer scrap in Hydro RESTORE, which is delivered with an Environmental Product Declaration stating its content and carbon footprint.

“Most of the cost of a product and its environmental impacts are committed early in the design process, on the drawing board. This is where circular economy begins, and this is where Hydro EcoDesign has a role to play,” says Jonas Bjuhr, who leads Hydro Extrusion Sweden.

“Many products cannot be recycled because of the way they are designed and produced. It is either impossible to take them apart or too expensive. We need to produce things that live longer, can be recycled, or reused at the end of life. The T Shelf from Hem and Formafantasma is a great example of a product made for circularity,” Bjuhr says.

Functional design with aluminium profiles from Hydro in Sweden

Hem’s system is based on extruded aluminium profiles manufactured by Hydro in Sweden.

a white gate with a ladder

One of the extrusions serves as the board and another the side, or partition, wall. The so-called T-profile board provides structural strength to the shelf, enabling minimal design without a back wall or similar reinforcement. This also allows the shelves to be cut in different lengths to offer several sections.

The three holes on each end of the profile are used for fastening the shelf to the partitions. The T-profile and the connections should also stabilize the whole unit, making cross-braces or back panels unnecessary.

The second extrusion, used for the partition wall, has been designed with a function that hides the screws connecting the boards.


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