This area includes indoor and outdoor furniture, partitions, floor coverings, including carpets and rugs, mattresses and mattress coverings, other indoor textiles (such as curtains, upholstery, wall coverings, etc.) and lighting systems.  
We are looking for projects about circular interior design of homes, but also of offices, hotels, healthcare institutions, etc.  


Why support this area?   

The furniture industry is flourishing in Belgium and counts 719 companies with a constantly increasing turnover (2.3 billion EUR in 2021). Some professional sectors are in transition since the COVID crisis. For example, the office occupancy market is changing with the emergence of hybrid work (alternating between teleworking and face-to-face work) and greater employee flexibility. The workplace is now seen more as a place that stimulates creativity, collaboration and innovation.  
Concerning interior textiles, Belgium is the leading manufacturer of floor coverings (carpets, rugs, etc.) in Europe. The 152 companies active in Belgium have a combined turnover of 1.7 billion EUR.  
The downside of these positive financial aspects is the increase in the volume of furniture waste: it is 5 times greater than in 1960. Like textile clothing, we are witnessing the phenomenon of 'fast furniture' with a dramatic environmental impact because the production of furniture uses a large number of raw materials (wood, minerals, metals).  In addition, the materials used to produce this furniture contain many chemicals, harmful to the environment and health. Since it is designed at low cost and with a short lifespan, consumers therefore get into the habit of changing their interior decoration regularly according to trends, thus increasing the amount of waste. 

What are the expected projects?   

In this call, we focus on projects that promote systemic change and integrate the environmental impact of furniture materials. We are looking for projects that propose ecodesign solutions for 

  • minimal use of (primary) materials: fostering lightweight products, recycled materials and raw materials from the biological cycle; 
  • longer lifetime and reusability: quality products, timeless design, customizable products, multifunctional design, etc.;  
  • traceability and information sharing on products and materials: combining traceability, information and communication technologies from the product design stage for more efficient maintenance as well as detailed and reliable information feedback on the environmental performance of the product or service; 
  • the development of new systems for taking back furniture and interior textiles to facilitate their reuse and/or recycling. 

We also support projects that propose business models promoting longer or more efficient use of furniture such as product as a service (the customer pays for using the service), buy-back (the supplier takes back the product after the agreed period of use), shared use and collaborative methods for circular design. 

For more details on the projects to be developed under this theme, read the memorandum.