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sustainable design: an opportunity to shift common perspectives

in sustainable design

Sustainable design is a work of creativity. After all, looking beyond the obvious is essential to come up with unconventional materials and processes.

As a result, sustainable designs often challenge the status quo, showing that what’s possible is more than what we’re used to seeing.

Today, we’re discovering 5 interior-related projects that all aim at challenging existing ideas, shifting preconceptions and going beyond the expected. The results are objects with an interesting story to share, that can add one more layer of depth to interior spaces.

from uninteresting to desirable

Byproduct: something that is produced as a result of making something else.” By definition then, byproducts are not supposed to be useless. But this is what they often are in practice. A circular design approach challenges this thinking, inviting to find the resourceful side of all materials – including byproducts.

raw wool

Designer: Lottozero

Coming from the meat and milk industries, raw sheep wool has never had textile applications so far because it was considered too coarse. The Robotuft project proves an alternative and less wasteful route, transforming wool byproducts into tufted carpets for interiors.

A piece of Robotuft rug folded.
Close-up of Robotuft texture.
A Robotuft rug styled with huge vases.
Credits: Lottozero

pine cutting leftovers

Designer: Studio Sarmite

Wood is what trees are commonly cut for; but they can offer so much more! PineResin is a project aimed at giving value to the byproducts of the timber industry. Resin, sawdust, bark and cellulose from pine trees come together in a glass-like consistency that finds its place in interiors in the form of organic-shaped vases.

PineResin vases with dried flowers in them.
PineResin vases with dried flowers in them.
Credits: Studio Sarmite

from forgotten to revived

Sustainable doesn’t only mean environmentally friendly. Social impact is another aspect of sustainability that includes the value of traditional processes. In this sense, sustainable designs can help revive and maintain historical making traditions that could otherwise get lost with time.

zinc roofing

Designer: Miles Le Gras

Traditional Parisian roofs are covered in zinc. Zinc sheets are meticulously positioned by the hands of skilled roof workers, following architectural corners and odd shapes. This traditional skill is mainly unknown, which is why the city of Paris has requested its recognition in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Roofers is a project that repurposes the same method for interior objects, thus raising interest and curiosity in this traditional making technique.

Lampshades recalling the shape of a roof and covered in zinc.
View of a lampshade from below showing the structural material.
Credits: Miles Le Gras

stinging nettle traditions

Designer: Studio laVina

Russia has a rich supply of stinging nettle. In the past, this weed was extensively used in cooking & medicine as well as to make objects (clothes, fishing nets, sailing ropes…). All these traditions got largely lost with time, and the Krapiva Zhguchaya project aims at reviving them. From furniture to bowls and rugs, this project builds on traditional skills and makes them even less wasteful. Fibre and thatch are both used and pigments come from the plant as well.

Collection of low tables, bowls and rug made with stinging nettle.
Close-up of the stinging nettle collection.
View of the process of turning stinging nettle into a workable fibre.
Credits: Studio laVina

a new take on cornices

Designer: Lenny Stöpp

Cornices were commonly used in the past to embellish interiors and buildings. With time, they’ve become old-fashioned, and with them also their making process. Twirl Bowls is a project that employs the traditional cornice-making technique to produce bowls. Their streamlined and sculptural shape is perfectly fit for contemporary tastes. And it’s saving a traditional technique at the same time.

Collection of bowls in several colours.
White bowl with a red pepper hanging onto it.
Close-up of the bowl's texture.
Credits: Lenny Stöpp

Sustainable design is a developing field that serves multiple purposes: protecting the environment, reviving traditions, experimenting with new ideas.

What underpins all of these purposes is the will to challenge the status quo – a precious mindset that is at the base of growth and development. Just one more reason to be fascinated by sustainable projects.

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