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sustainable interior design selection from milan design week 2020

in sustainable design

Even in this year’s digital edition, Milan Design Week has been keeping up with its highly inspiring standards.

Today, we’re exploring the latest news presented at Milan Design Week 2020 with a selection of sustainable interior design products.

exploring innovative materials

Sustainable design is mostly an unexplored land and designers are experimenting with a variety of unconventional materials. Let’s discover a few of them!

bacterial cellulose

Bacterial cellulose is obtained from yeast & bacteria through a fermentation process and is then dyed with natural pigments from plants and fruit waste. Being grown rather than manufactured, this material is a good example of biofabrication in design.

Among its applications is Luna, a table tamp whose streamlined shape highlights the natural beauty of this naturally grown material.

Read more about Luna on riivin

Bacterial cellulose table lamp on on table.
Credit: Lionne Van Deursen


Another example of biofabrication is mycelium – aka the root system of mushrooms – which grows into a substrate acting as a natural glue. Since it can be moulded in any given shape, mycelium is a sustainable option for packaging, construction panels and all sorts of interior design objects.

Mushlume is a line of table & pendant lamps that elevates the texture of mycelium by pairing it with sleek materials like black metal, wood and brass.

Read more about Mushlume - pendant lamp on riivin Read more about Mushlume - table lamp on riivin

Mycelium pendant lamps with metal cable holder.
Credit: Danielle Trofe
Mycelium table lamp with brass, black and wood base.
Credit: Danielle Trofe

hemp fibre

Hemp is certainly not a new material, but it has regained popularity thanks to its great sustainability scorecard. Easy to cultivate, hemp grows fast, requires very little water and doesn’t need herbicides and pesticides. It enriches the soil where it grows and is able to absorb plenty of CO2 compared to other crops. If processing (from fibres to fabric) is carried out without harsh chemicals, the resulting hemp fabric will also be a sustainable option.

One of its many applications is Giacigli, a soft pet bed that creates an acoustic and thermally insulated nest for our furry friends.

Read more about Giacigli on riivin

Hemp pet bed with a cat inside.
Credit: COKI

a new life to leftovers

Leftovers are another inspiring resource for sustainable design. Giving them a new life is a representation of a circular design mentality, which looks at every single material as a potential resource.

leftover yarn

Every process that uses fabric creates offcuts. But this doesn’t mean it creates waste! For instance, Flourish is a collection of wool rugs made exclusively from leftover yarns, that are skilfully hand-tufted in colourful patterns.

Read more about Flourish on riivin

Rugs styled in a room.
Credit: Kasthall

leftover clothes & fabrics

Leftover yarn, clothes and fabrics have an incredible potential when put in the right hands. For example, Looking Out is a textile artwork made entirely with second-hand materials. Frame and base fabric are sourced from a recycling center. And the yarns used to punch needle the subject come from a second-hand store or swapping.

Read more about Looking Out on riivin

Textile artwork leaning on a wall and styled with a plant.
Credit: Wasteless Wonders

repurposing trash

As mentioned before, a circular economy approach invites to look at every single material as a potential resource, and this includes trash too!

building debris

Building demolitions create tons of debris which often remain just waste. Not at More Circular, where plaster waste is the raw material for Archy, a sleek and sustainable collection of lampshades!

Read more about Archy on riivin

Table lamps on a side table with a sofa on the background.
Credit: More Circular


Plastic is high on the list of materials used for sustainable products. Which comes as no surprise, given the overwhelming amount of plastic waste we have to deal with!

The plastic problem started with the fundamental misalignment between material properties and use. Plastic is a durable material and using it for single-use applications is not the most brilliant idea! Certainly, upcycling plastic into design products is not enough to solve the overall problem. But it does contribute, as it gives a meaning to otherwise useless piles of plastic trash.

For example, S-1500 is a chair made entirely out of recycled materials. The legs are made with recycled steel and the shell is manufactured upcycling plastic waste. In particular, the raw materials are sourced from local fish farming companies and include a mix of worn-out fish nets, ropes and pipes from their operations. This creates a local closed loop between fishing – an essential and traditional Norwegian industry – and design.

Read more about S-1500 on riivin

Upcycled plastic chairs displayed against foliage.
Credit: NCP (via Instagram)

For more inspiration on this topic, head over to riivin: the sustainable interior design platform I curate!

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