Regenerative Design

Design as nature

“Design, if it is to be ecologically responsible and socially responsive, must be revolutionary and radical.” _ Victor Papanek

We are moving in a really complex and exciting epoch, defined as Post-modernism, Liquid Modernity, Forth Industrial Revolution, etc. that is characterized by a continuous evolution of the worldwide economic and social scenario, with tremendous technological improvement on one hand and climate change, biodiversity loss, resources depletion on the other, that call for a radical response from the design community. Anthropogenic pressures on the Earth System have reached a scale where an urgent change of route towards sustainability is inescapable. At the same time, the understanding of the raising complexity in natural and social systems, resulting by the discoveries occurred during the last century in Physics, Cybernetics, Biology, etc. made the reductionism view inadequate opening new opportunities.

At Grown we create in a regenerative direction in close cooperation with major design principles of nature, to transfer such into improving human-nature systems.

Starting from the observation of natural phenomena, the “Design as Nature” approach aims to “learn from nature” not just for mimicking the natural technologies, but for designing a product system able to positively interact with a dynamic environment and an evolving society.

Grown is a collective of individual science-designers-engineers-speakers-consultants-weavers, like a business mycelium writing bills on their own responsibility and freedom for projects we as collective acquire, while collaborating on a project basis.

Here below the main design-as-nature focal points we are concentrating on:

Design with Carbon (embodied CO2 with may well be the factor with most leverage in changing our society)

Design-in Circular Opportunity (as opposed to “just” designing out waste, the circular economy paradigm)

Design for the Real World (design for real needs in a real context)

Regenerative Skis

Our skis are designed to deliver the highest technical performance and environmental performance. We believe our products need to be designed in an ecologically efficient and socially fair way in order to help build a sustainable world.

Grown is the pioneer in sustainable ski design. In 2008 Grown received the first eco design award of the world’s major sporting goods industry fair, ISPO. We’ve offered the first ski with an individual environmental footprint calculation. With this figure we set the benchmark for the ski industry, delivering a transparent figure for customers to compare products by their environmental performance.

By far the major material in our skis – more than 70% – is wood harvested from sustainably managed European forests. Grown skis are the first to use reinforcing fibres from volcanic basalt rock, eliminating conventionally used glass and carbon fibres which use considerably more energy and produce emissions.
Eliminating most non-natural materials such as plastic and aluminum sheets, using a recycled base, applying glues based on pine tree resins, and optimizing the production with short transportation distances for materials make Grown skis the most environmentally friendly skis on the market.



Our skis are the first to use 100% volcanic basalt rock fibre belts or 100% hemp fiber locally grown, consist of more than 70% certified sustainably harvested wood, and use glues based on pine tree resin (Entropy Resin).

Environmental Footprint

We measure the environmental performance of our products by environmental and social life cycle analysis (LCA*), and express the climate footprint as the Global Warming Potential (GWP). The GWP is a value describing the abilities of different greenhouse gases to trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. GWP’s are based on the capability of each gas to absorb heat in the atmosphere relative to that of carbon dioxide (CO2), and are expressed in CO2 equivalents (CO2eq).

Built to be eco: we are the first ski company to measure and communicate the environmental footprint of our skis: 16.4 kg CO2eq/ski or up to 40% lower than conventional skis.

By assessing the whole life cycle of a product and assigning a GWP value to it, the impacts of products and services are quantified and can be compared. A detailed life cycle analysis (LCA) is necessary to capture all relevant processes and materials within the product life cycle (PLC).

Each pair of Grown skis has a climate footprint that are up to 40% more eco-friendly than conventionally produced skis, with a comparable high performance, quality, and volume. The remaining CO2eq is offset/compensated in European climate protection projects with the non-profit organization Myclimate. Grown skis are thus the skis with the lowest footprint and the first carbon neutral skis on the market.

Let’s just estimate what this would mean for the ski industry: worldwide there are annually about 3-4 000 000 pairs of skis sold (various sources). In a very careful scenario the carbon footprint of these skis is at least 160 000 tons CO2eq per year. We could save a minimum of 40% or 64 000 tons if we used the Grown concept for the entire ski industry.

Luthe, T., Kaegi, T. and J. Reger. 2013. A Systems Approach to Sustainable Technical Product Design. Combining life cycle assessment and virtual development in the case of skis. Journal of Industrial Ecology. Online first DOI: DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12000









Grown skis are engineeered in Germany and handmade in the European Union. Our skis are developed in an efficient and effective way through virtual product development by Computer Aided Engineering, simulation and optimization. In order to create a lean, effective and efficient product development process, virtual development methods which today are state of the art in the automotive and aerospace industry are transferred to the ski design process. We implemented an almost prototype free development process leading to a further gain in ecological product performance.

Our skis are handmade, developed by computer aided engineering, & optimized with virtual development processes.

Based on measured data of different ski models available on the market in an ISO standard measuring device we set a benchmark for Grown skis for flexline and torsion. The goal was to achieve a medium and even flexline for easy maneuverability and floatation in powder combined with a high torsional rigidity that would allow for stability and edge hold on hard packed slopes and in high speed carving turns.

The evolved target benchmark was complemented by criteria for minimizing the environmental footprint (reduction of materials harmful to the environment and weight in general). By simulating and optimizing materials we also sought for a ski as light as possible while delivering the highest skiing performance and dampening behaviour.


Grown skis are handmade pieces of craftsmanship, combining traditional woodworking skills with computer controlled technology.

Grown has developed new material combinations for the design and production of our skis. We’ve developed a new tri-axial sandwich belt from 100% volcanic basalt fibres -crushed and heated volcanic rock- unique to the ski industry.

Every pair of Grown skis is a unique piece of handcraft, being about ten times more labour intensive than conventional mass produced skis.

The manufacturing process of experienced and trained wood workers ranges from cutting the logo inlays – the G and the letters of Grown – by a computer controlled (CNC) 200 bar water pressure cutter to pushing out each letter by hand from the one type of wood, and putting the letters back in from another, contrasting wood.

All materials are arranged in the aluminum mold by hand. Once the ski is removed from the heated mold, many hours of sanding lead to these extraordinary wooden high tech ski. Multiple layers of natural oils are applied by hand, each layer drying for a full day.

These proceses require not only highly skilled and experienced craftsmen, but also about five times more time and expenses than conventional skis. Highly optimized natural and newly developed materials, German engineering, and computer controlled manufacturing in one of Europe’s oldest and most modern ski production facilities, make Grown skis high performing, highly durable, unique skis of exceptional quality.


Grown skis are high-tech sporting tools that deliver allmountain performance with specific strengths for piste, freeriding and touring. All our skis feature even flex, a distinct sweet spot, and exceptionally high torsion for superb edge hold. We use the best materials nature can offer and optimize them for highest performance, rigidity and durability.

Highest torsional stiffness for superb edge hold while having an even flex, superb calm dampening in high speeds, twice above the norm binding screws resistance.

Grown skis are super durable, tested by years of expeditions into the Arctic extremes, trusted by professional ski instructors, guides and scientists since 2007. The sandwich beech construction guarantees the strongest binding screw resistance (twice as high as the ISO norm demands) and long lasting agility and responsiveness. Triaxial sandwich belts from 100% volcanic basalt fibres deliver exceptionally high torsional rigidity and better dampening than conventional fibre constructions in high speeds. Extremely tough and water resistant robinia wood make up the sidewalls.

The top of the skis is wooden veneer with wooden CNC cut inlays, the sidewalls are made from Robinia wood – all sourced in Europe and finished with natural oils in multiple layers, making each Grown ski a unique piece of handcraft with a warm look, a natural touch and super water resistant.

"Our skis have been tested tough in the extreme conditions of the Arctic. The woodcore sandwich construction guarantees for the same performance and agility of the skis over many years at intensive use".

My Contribution

As a skier, what is my individual contribution to a more sustainable society? We cannot wait for the big players to change; every single and small effort counts. You and I have market power, and if we adapt our consumption to demand more sustainable products from the industry we are able to change the system.

Demand and deliver more…
Look for trustworthy certifications, such as the myclimate neutral product certificate. Ask for more information. Demand to see the environmental or carbon footprint of the product in a comparable figure, such as in global hectares (gha) or in carbon equivalents per volume (CO2eq/cm3).

Buy only trustworthy products which are as eco and as fair produced as possible.

• Consume less but better. Buy high quality products which did not travel far, ideally produced in your country or at least on your continent. By buying high quality products which last longer you may not need to buy more for a longer time.

• Consume independent from fashions. Grown skis are designed by nature, independent from fashions, shapes, or colors, showing the beauty and indvidual structure of wood. Wood is timeless and long lasting, while having the lowest ecological footprint possible.

• Traveling creates the biggest environmental problems in the skiing world. About 70% and more of your climate footprint is generated by traveling from and to skiing. Travel less often, instead stay longer per trip, that reduces emissions. Use public transport.

• Stay in lower class hotels which consume less energy; ideally you find a low energy standard housing and stay with locals.

• Inform yourself which ski area you visit – some are more sustainable than others. One source of information for the European Alps is the Green Guide of the Mountain Riders organization, or the Sustainable Slopes database in North America.