Trend forecasters have seen sustainability as a hot topic for some time now, citing a more global awareness and education of the issue as one of the key
factors. We see it as more than a trend though, more as a responsibility of our company in the broader design industry. Luckily, there are so many
beautiful materials and design options available for specifiers and customers!
Many of the trends explore concepts of finding beauty in natural materials and celebrating imperfections which can be found in older materials and furniture. Even giving a second life to much-loved items. These ideas are helpful in contributing to a more environmentally friendly home and a clearer conscious for all involved. It also pushes the design industry to create new ways of thinking about manufacturing, quality, longevity and materials. It’s a win-win for the environment, the designer and the end-user.
So how can you implement these considered designs and materials into your own home?
Buy Once, Buy Well
As the adage goes, buy once, buy well certainly rings true when it comes to furniture and interior design products. While it may seem difficult to budget for such items, in the long run it makes sense to make an investment with the best you can afford. Quality products, materials and warranties mean that you will be replacing your items less frequently therefore it can make financial sense as well as lessening waste and landfill. Good quality furniture and materials are also worth refurbishing down the track too, another win for the environment.
Image by Satara via [www.satara.com.au] Featuring Satara's Bukawu Daybed
Natural, Sustainable Materials
What is considered sustainable and what’s not can be quite a difficult area to navigate, with so many brands and designers claiming their product (in all consumer areas, not just interiors!) is sustainable. There are so many wonderful options which cause minimum impact on the environment, such as natural materials which grow and can be replenished quickly, such as bamboo, rattan, willow and other grasses. Other materials may be reclaimed and given a second life, such as recycled timbers which are a beautiful addition to any home. New technology is also pushing the boundaries and HDPE plastics are being used in outdoor furniture. This special type of plastic is not only hard wearing but recyclable too.
Design by Martin J Scott Design featuring Satara's Roxanne Lounge Chairs
Something Old, Given New Life
Image via [www.juxtoposition.com]
A Whole Lifecycle Considered
It’s easy to forget about products once we no longer have a need for them. Even good quality pieces can come to an end. But then what? Natural materials and HDPE like those mentioned above are excellent examples of this. They’re able to return to nature or given a new, different life. It’s our responsibility to consider the WHOLE lifecycle of a product, not just while it’s in our homes.
“Half House” by Atticus & Milo. Photo by Shannon Mcgrath
The Bigger Picture
Sustainability is multifaceted and complex. There’s the materials, the manufacturing and technologies. But there’s also the communities which are involved at the very core of furniture and other products production. Who’s making it and how are traditional skills maintained? Most reputable companies who import or manufacture products will have this information on hand- if they’re committed to the bigger picture.
Photo by Michael MauneyThe Future
There are some brilliant minds and visionaries out there and the future is looking bright. At a recent trend forecasting seminar, we saw all sorts of fascinating things, from a chair made of leaves to furniture made from trash and even tiles made from recycled television sets! The future of design is exciting for those who want to take the leap…
Simon Kern’s Beleaf Chair, made from fallen leaves