We make our furniture using an eco-friendly hardwood, Asian Oak (Hevea Brasiliensis, Rubber Wood). We think Asian Oak is the holy grail of woods available in Myanmar.
The latex (tree sap) production decreases by the time rubber trees reach 30 years old, making it no longer commercially viable for harvesters to tap the tree. Trees past their producing lifespan used to be burnt or are used for firewood. This makes rubber wood sustainable on two counts: less pollution from burning and a reclaimed source.
The Most Prized
As for teak, until we find a teak plantation that sustainably harvests their woods, we proudly SAY NO TO TEAK.
Teak (tectona Grandis) is perceived to be the global gold standard hardwood for wood floors, doors, and furniture, thanks to its natural resistance to rot, decay, and weather changes. Because of the tree’s slow-growing nature (80-120 years to mature), quite often young teak trees are cut and logged unsustainably. Despite the Burmese government’s ten-year ban on logging the increasingly rare wood, our country’s natural forests continue to diminish as a result of corruption, unenforced regulations, and illegal logging. At 16’96 we want to be a part of the change and lead by example.
The Most Popular
We avoid MDF at 16’96 because it contains a carcinogenic chemical called formaldehyde.
Given its affordability and lightweight factors, MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), Particle Board, also known as Kyate-Thar, Paung Thar, or Kyate Paung Thar are widely used to make furniture.
MDF is everywhere these days. You’ll often see them topped with glossy, chic laminates in a wide array of wood grains, marble patterns, solid lacquered patterns. MDF and particle boards alike, are primarily made of waste, wood and sawdust that comes from sawmills, which makes it environmentally friendly. The caveat is the nasty, carcinogenic chemical called formaldehyde that glues the sawdust together.
Working with MDF exposes our workers to hazardous dust, which contains formaldehyde. With increased technology, low to non-formaldehyde MDFs are available on the global market, but are not readily available in Myanmar just yet. (We’ll be right on the wagon when it does!)
We choose to work primarily with galvanized steel (GI) because of its resistance to rust and corrosion, and its recyclability.
The high protective zinc coating prevents premature rust, corrosion, moisture, and scratches. We like the added weight and feel of steel because it denotes quality and permanence.
Metal has been an increasingly popular choice of material used to furnish homes, office spaces and outdoors. Its strength, lifespan, and flexible manufacturing process, not to mention its contemporary aesthetic qualities, makes it a top choice for 16’96. Amongst commonly-used metals, there are galvanized steel, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and brass.
Other Metal Considerations
Aluminum also doesn’t rust, but it does oxidize, creating a chalky white residue. Though often used in outdoor furniture, It is a lighter, low-cost, less durable alternative to steel.
Stainless steel is a stronger metal than aluminum and is widely found in Burmese homes. From kitchen sinks to lunchboxes to cabinets, we find stainless steel give off a beautiful metallic sheen that is also functionally waterproof and lightweight. It is definitely something 16’96 would like to incorporate in our future collections.
Steel’s Green Footprint
Steel and metals usually get a bad rep when it comes to being green. Steel in its purest form is an alloy almost entirely made of iron, a naturally occurring element found in earth. It is the manufacturing process that produces slag waste, consumes high volumes of water, emits air pollutants and carbon emissions. Compared to other heavy industry processes, energy requirements for galvanizing is one of the lowest.
Our goal at 16’96 is to source 100% of our metals by 2020, from steel mills that are LEED-certified, compliant to its country’s energy conservation laws, and incorporates energy efficiency into their long-term business strategy.
We choose tempered glass because glass in furniture must be safe. Simple as that.
Tempered glass has more tensile strength--meaning it can bend more easily without breaking. When it does break, it shatters into rounded cubes rather than dangerous shards.
There are many glass types used in furniture (flat, annealed, sand-blasted, tinted, stained), but there are only two shatter-resistant glass solutions -- laminate and tempered. Tempered glass is made by reheating annealed glass (or normal, ordinary glass) and then cooling it rapidly. This process makes the glass four times stronger than annealed glass of the same size and thickness. Tempered glass makes maintenance easy because it is scratch-proof.
Additional Safety Considerations
When making furniture with glass, it is not only important to choose the right type, but to choose the right glass thickness (i.e too thin) and consider which hard material it makes contact with (i.e glass, metal, wood). We are also very conscious whether the glass has sufficient support for optimum stability.
We like the transparency element of glass incorporated in furniture because it is makes the room seem visually larger and helps ‘lighten it up.’ Glass remains a staple material when it comes to furniture. Its simplicity, versatility and capacity to to look delicate and sophisticated without sacrificing durability and strength makes it a recurring material for 16’96.
How Marble is Sourced
Marble is a natural stone created when limestone is subjected to heat and pressure (also known as metamorphism). Due to this process, marble can occur hundreds of feet thick and spanning large geographical areas. Once a quarry has been identified, the natural stone is inspected and cut into manageable slabs. Many quarries reuse the water used in the extraction and cutting of natural stone slabs for washing, dust suppression, polishing, and water showers for both sustainability and profitability reasons.
There are NO extra manufacturing steps to be taken because the stone comes straight from the earth. The stone requires NO consumption of materials or resources to create. The 100%recyclability and lifetime durability of the stone, as well, guarantees minimal impact on the environment. For all these reasons, we love marble all the more.
Each marble slab will always be unique and original. The elegant beauty around its veins and patterns and its strength and resilience to fire and erosion are what gives marble extraordinary character. The grade, color, and style of marble can depend on many factors, including the geographical location of the stone. The most sought after marble are from quarries in Italy, Turkey, Greece, Brazil, and Iran.
Marble does require a little bit more love and care compared with glass or wood because despite its density and durability, marble is a soft stone. As a result, it is subject to staining and scratching (sealing won’t prevent this either). But maintained properly and regularly with a little soap and warm water, marble will last a lifetime. Our standard recommendation is to get your marble table top to be sealed once a year. If you want to go the extra mile, use cute coasters for your hot and icy drinks.