Let's create something sustainable

Sustainable tables by Sam Berghuis

Sustainable tables by Sam Berghuis

This autumn we met Sam Berghuis, a furniture maker who calls his work “demonstrably sustainable”. As we are curious, we invited Sam for a coffee and to tell us more about his work. The setting was entirely appropriate; the Coffee Cottage at Qurios Zandvoort, featuring Sam’s beautiful tables.

Sam proudly rubs his hand over the smooth wood of one of his table tops and says: “It all started a long time ago. I needed a big table and I thought: I’ll make it myself. That’s how I learned how to make tables, and I discovered that wood really can be picked up everywhere.”

Sam was happy with his table, and then one thing led to another. Despite his training in graphic design, he decided to become a furniture maker, designing and making furniture exclusively from recycled wood. “I find it in skips, on the street and in municipal dumps. It really comes from everywhere. I’ve always worked that way.

I started doing this before recycling was hip, and it was a really hard sell. Fortunately I could rely on the support of my partner Sandra. She said: you have a good idea, keep it up! So she deserves a lot of the credit. Now it’s not such a hard sell and reactions are almost always positive.”

Sam sitting at one of his tables int the Coffee Lounge at Qurios Zandvoort

“What kind of planet will the next generation inherit from us? Will it be a great big mountain of waste, or a solid society ready for the future? It makes you think and everyone should face up to their responsibility. This is how I do my bit.”

Lungo, Cappuccino, Americano

Sam contributed to the realisation of the “Coffee” theme in the two Coffee Cottages and the brasserie at Qurios Zandvoort. He made tables in beautiful shades of brown in which the tones of caffè lungo, cappuccino and Americano are recognisable.

The table that stands out is the Americano: it is bold and beautiful, large and wide. “It was a lovely project to work on. I feel a kinship with Qurios. They were the first organisation in the market to open a fully self-sufficient holiday park. That requires courage and vision.”

Localy Harvested Wood

“Most of the wood that I used for this project was ‘harvested’ in a circle of 30 kilometres around Amsterdam. I have a cargo bike and use it to transport all the wood that I find to the workshop.

The wide strips in the tables were once part of the stairs in a sports centre in Schalkwijk. The narrow strips were once the skirting boards in a now demolished school. I turn the bits that are left over from making the tables into cutting boards. I use every last bit of wood until the pieces are so small that I can no longer process them.”

Demonstrably Sustainable

According to Sam, it is important that you know what you are doing; otherwise you cannot be environmentally conscious. Each table, therefore, has a passport in which everything is recorded. He not only records the material in the passport but also the amount of energy that has been used to make the table.

“What kind of planet will the next generation inherit from us? Will it be a great big mountain of waste, or a solid society ready for the future? It makes you think and everyone should face up to their responsibility. This is how I do my bit.”

In 2019, Sam will be at Dutch Design Week for the first time. It’s a popular annual event that attracts hundreds of thousands of international visitors. The event distinguishes itself by focusing on designs for the future. His name is Sam Berghuis, furniture maker. He is demonstrably sustainable.