Sustainability has passed the point of being a buzzword – it’s an approach to life with which we have all had to familiarise ourselves, some taking it more seriously than others. But one of sustainability’s downfalls has been aesthetics. Design lovers have had a hard time embracing recycled-plastic chairs and sustainably grown timber tables because, well, they’ve tended to be rather unattractive. Until now, that is. Going green is becoming a sexy affair, thanks to the new guard of ecodesigners. If you’re looking to spring-clean your old furnishings or update your home style, why not look to these five sustainable designers for inspiration?
Produced exclusively for the Kasmin Gallery in New York, Jasper Morrison’s Corks collection is a beautiful ode to this simple natural material, one which has been overlooked since it lined kitchen floors in the ’70s. Using only unselected wine-bottle corks, the collection includes a number of household pieces, including a fireplace, bearing the refined simplicity typical of the internationally acclaimed designer’s style. We adore his chaise most of all. With its ergonomically sculpted armchair and footrest and sensuous curves, it calls for languorous sessions in a horizontal position.
We all agree the Danes do it best when it comes to design but this particular company not only produces some of the most beautiful rattan furniture the world has ever seen, it’s environmental policies are hard to beat. Sika-Design respects human rights and complies with the SA8000 standard for social accountability, demanding the same commitment from their suppliers. Sika-Design’s pieces are developed and marketed in accordance with their management system for environmental and social responsibility ISO 14001/2004 and SA8000/2014. Rattan’s ability to regenerate at an impressively fast rate (five to seven years), as well as the fact that the vine grows in forests near to the Sika factory, gives the brand’s products the green stamp of approval. Originally designed by Franco Albini in 1951, the belladonna sofa is a classic with its reduced, yet sculpturally expressive, lines and retro curvature.
Championing purity of form and hand craftsmanship, beloved local brand Houtlander took things up a gear when they released their new thermally modified American Red Oak Collection at this year’s 100% Design fair. The collection is remarkably durable - the chairs were displayed beneath a stream of falling water at the fair - and are made using sustainably grown oak from naturally regenerating forests in the US. Once the mature trees are felled, saplings are allowed to regrow naturally, encouraging faster growth rates and resulting in carbon-negative production.
Furthermore, these chairs and tables are made without any mechanical fixings or screws, amping up their sustainable cred.
Exhibiting with Alexandre Biaggi at this week’s PAD London fair, Italian artist Michela Cattai’s glass vessels are sculptures in their own right. Using the Murano glass-blowing method, Cattai produces delicate, expressive forms that bridge the divide between tradition and modernity. Capturing the light - and the affection of viewers - her recycled scrap-glass vessels are Cattai’s way of bringing our attention to issues of sustainability.
They were also featured in the Querini Palace for The Venice Glass Week last month.
Also at PAD London, Vincenzo de Cotti’s furniture pieces are being shown at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Embracing handcraft methods, this Italian architect and designer’s limited-edition furniture pieces have a primal look to them, openly bearing the mark of craftsmanship while channelling Italian minimalism. Our pick of the crop, his dining table, has been made with a combination of recycled fibreglass and silver-plated and cast brass.