UMA Chairs
IDA Chair

A' Design Awards for sustainable Do-it-Yourself chairs UMA & IDA

The research of Dr. Jairo da Costa Junior (Faculty of ET) of the University of Twente resulted in two award winner chairs UMA & IDA (A’ Design Awards 2023). The chairs foster the transitions to alternatives to mass production by providing access to sustainable personal fabrication processes that are suitable for circular and distributed production systems and compatible with citizens with varying skill levels.

A' Design Award and Competition is one of the World’s largest, most prestigious and influential design accolades, one of the highest achievements in design. A' Design Award Winner Logo, symbolizes exceptional design excellence in products, projects and services.

Videography Credits: Mason Roberts @mr.masonroberts 

The Uma Chair won a Bronze Award Design. Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose, Restore, Repair and Upcycle Design Category. The Ida Chair won a Bronze Award Design. Furniture Category. 

“The chairs are an essential part of a project proposal that aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion centred on sustainable peer production through circular and distributed systems. I investigate how personal fabrication can function as a new alternative model of production and consumption, driving new sustainable practices and assisting citizens in creating more sustainable living and work environments”, says Da Costa.

Personal fabrication

Manufacturing at a personal level has become possible on an unprecedented scale with the advancement of desktop manufacturing technologies. However, there is a limited understanding of the extent and effects of personal fabrication as a form of distributed production. The widespread adoption of personal fabrication poses significant sustainability concerns as the process of creating physical objects inherently involves material consumption and waste production.


UMA and IDA are two Do-it-Yourself chairs carefully designed, adopting circular principles and sustainable design strategies. These chairs were created to empower people to take a central role in making more sustainable living and working spaces for individuals, communities, and organisations to which they relate, live and work.

They represent the first of many furniture products in a series that is specially designed for sustainable personal fabrication, aimed at low-income communities in developing and emerging markets.

The UMA chair is constructed with locally available hardware and bio-based materials (e.g., grass, fungi and wood) with natural and non-toxic finishing. The IDA chair is a versatile piece of furniture that requires a single sustainably sourced material and only eight parts, all of which can be assembled in seven simple steps without nails, screws or glue. These circular chairs are designed to empower anyone, anywhere, to create sustainable furniture for better living and working spaces. This research aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 (Responsible consumption and production) by addressing sustainable practices, circularity and education and spurring meaningful change at the individual and community levels.

More information

Dr. Jairo da Costa Junior collaborated with Dr. Rosangela Tenorio (Bio-Based Materials Design Lab of the School of Design UWA), Prof. Dr. Aguinaldo do Santos (Federal University of Paraná) and David Morgan (Bower Architecture) to reshape the future of making. This transdisciplinary project brings together different areas of expertise to explore how emerging technologies, traditional knowledge, and affordable resources can empower people to take on an active role in the transition to more decentralised, equitable and sustainable production systems. 

drs. J.G.M. van den Elshout (Janneke)
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