Going Green: Growing sustainability across the Landscape Forms group of brands
"Sustainability for us is not a singular goal, or a specific threshold we cross and are then satisfied with—it’s a process of continuous evolution and discovery of new methods and materials that enable us to be ever improving.”
Caption: Partners HealthCare Corporate Campus in Somverville, MA, has a purposeful hardscape and vegetation making it a model of environmental and social sustainability.
As a company founded by a landscape architect and outdoor enthusiast, sustainability, stewardship and a profound respect for natural spaces are deeply rooted in Landscape Forms’ purpose and culture. For landscape architects, environmental accountability is an essential criterion in their work. And for Landscape Forms, it is a central focus to imbue this sense of accountability across all facets of its operation, working with its partner brands and design collaborators to continuously find new ways to mitigate its impact.
“Enriching the experience in the outdoors and creating a sense of place is what Landscape Forms is all about. Sustainability is foundational to who we are today and what we aspire to become in the future,” says CEO, Marjorie Simmons. "Our company’s decisions and policies are made through the lens of sustainability, from initial product concepts and development and manufacturing processes and material choices to supply chain decisions and our day-to-day habits of resource use and recycling,” continues Simmons. "Promoting sustainability in all that we do is the right thing to do. It’s good for our planet, good for future generations, and good for our business.”
Caption: Pier 26 in Hudson River Park in New York is seen through the lens of a landscape perspective. OLIN brought to the project a landscape that spoke to the ecology of the Hudson River estuary.
Responsible for taking a lead on new environmental initiatives, Landscape Forms’ Sustainability Committee (affectionately known as the ‘Green Team’) is comprised of emerging leaders from all areas of the company who share a passion for environmentalism. The group is tasked with taking a fresh look at products, processes, programs, and facilities from a sustainability point of view, each member working with smaller teams in their areas to implement department wins while also tackling larger company-wide goals.
The company’s Studio 431 custom shop serves as a proving ground for developing, testing and implementing new materials and manufacturing processes in pursuit of cleaner and greener operations. "Many of the new sustainability solutions are born out of Studio 431 due our freedom to innovate on a project-by-project basis,” says Studio 431 President and Green Team committee leader, Michael Blum.
Caption: Connecting two research buildings at the University of California San Francisco, this one-acre courtyard was designed to meet the needs of the scientists and staff making it a place that fostered social interaction and connection with natural landscaping.
Included in the Green Team are representatives from Loll Designs and Kornegay Design, two additional Landscape Forms group of brands. Sustainability is a founding principle for both Loll and Kornegay, and the two brands offer even more opportunities to pursue sustainability for Landscape Forms through their innovative materials, processes and cultures.
Based in Duluth, Minnesota, Loll Designs is a designer and manufacturer of durable, all-weather, outdoor furniture and accessories proudly crafted in the USA and made with recycled plastic—mostly from single-use milk jugs. “We’re a brand founded on the idea of reducing waste,” says Heather Strasser, Loll Designs Sales Manager. “Just like Landscape Forms, we believe deeply in the continuous improvement of our environmental initiatives, always acknowledging there’s room to improve, and always looking for new ways to push the needle forward sustainability-wise. It’s exciting to work with Landscape Forms to help discover new ways for the entire brand group to become ever better stewards of our planet.”
Caption: The Harvest table — our first product created in collaboration with Loll Designs – brings us together, whether friends, coworkers, or classmates, to share our experiences outdoors.
The Americana lounge chair and the Glide bench, two outdoor seating products created jointly by Landscape Forms and Loll Designs, were recently honored each with a 2021 GREEN GOOD DESIGN® Award. The two awards recognize the products’ sustainable use of resources, celebrating the innovative combination of post-consumer recycled plastic and commercial-grade powdercoated aluminum to maximize durability and longevity in high-use outdoor spaces.
The Americana chair utilizes UV-resistant post-consumer recycled plastic (HDPE) polymer for the seat and back, providing a long, vibrant, and low-maintenance life.
Loll Designs is Cradle to Cradle Certified SILVER™ for 84% of its product line, emphasizing a commitment to the environment and product transparency, and is a proud member of 1% for the Planet, annually donating 1% of the gross sales from all pieces in the Lollygagger Collection to local environmental organizations. Loll Designs employs a 'think globally, act locally’ approach to its environmental efforts, the heart of which is its internal culture of passion and participation in the conservation of their local environment.
The level of passion is evident in the success of Loll’s Bike to Work Program, encouraging Loll team members to earn paid time off for commuting to work by foot, skateboard, skates, scooter or bike. “Technically, the incentive for our Bike to Work Program is PTO, but in reality, most people around here are really just eager to participate in a greener commute. It’s just one example of our internal efforts, but I think it speaks to the level of participation and dedication to conservation that is so important to the Loll culture,” says Strasser.
Kornegay crafts all of its planters and receptacles from cast concrete using a by-hand casting process, as opposed to a motorized batch plant.
Founded in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, Kornegay Design is uniquely aware of the sensitive relationship between its business practices and the surrounding environment. Kornegay crafts all of its planters and receptacles from cast concrete using a by-hand casting process, as opposed to a motorized batch plant. Concrete batches are individually mixed for each piece and each mold is filled by hand, allowing for an extremely dense concrete mix that uses less water, requires little electricity and results in minimal waste. And, much like Loll’s HDPE, Kornegay’s cast concrete is 100% recyclable at the end of a product’s usable life span.
Internally and through its partner brands, Landscape Forms proudly addresses its customers’ expectations for high-design, high-quality products while also addressing customers’ expectations to sustainability and the natural environment. “I’m proud of our commitment to design, quality, and an exceptional customer experience as well as our commitment to the continuous improvement of our sustainability,” says CEO, Marjorie Simmons. “Between Landscape Forms, our brands like Loll, and our diverse group of design collaborators, a commitment to sustainability is a common thread that brings us all together. It’s always exciting to be working alongside others who are passionate about protecting the environment, to build off of and inspire one another’s innovations, and to see the positive impact we can have on our communities now and into the future.”