10th Oct 2019
Decorex 2019, as always offered its unique mix of everything that is new in interior furnishing and finishes; the ultimate sweetshop for interior designers! This year however there was a step-change from the indulgent lux of years gone by to the unspoken theme of ‘considered design’. Many of the seminar slots were dedicated to sustainability in design and even though not shouting about it many designer-collaborators were sourcing in a sustainable, socially responsible manner.
Above, The VIP Legacy Lounge at Decorex 2019. Photo credit - Paul Massey. Below, Harding and Read concept board.
The scene was set by Nicola Harding of Harding and Read, whose collaboration with House and Garden to produce the VIP Legacy Lounge focused on both vintage and considered sourcing, reminding us that procurement of mass-produced products is no longer the way forward. Nicola explains “Our approach to interiors rejects today’s impulsive, disposable culture, which fuels over-consumption and waste. It is a mindset that we hope to have demonstrated in this year’s legacy lounge – an immersive experience of our inherently sustainable approach to interiors.”
Above (Left); Sustainable seminar line up. (Right); Ian Mankin Zero Waste initiative fabric)
The events seminars embracing the sustainability in design debate were headed up some leading industry figures. The likes of Ian Mankin, Sebastian Cox and sustainable design influencer Victoria Meale, as well as interiors editors Hatta Byng (House & Garden) and Ben Spriggs (Elle Décor). Discussions such as ‘Sustainability & Luxury: can they co-exist?’ Attainable, Sustainable, Now and Combining Style & Luxury in Sustainable Design’. The sustainable design conversation was well and truly on the table – with agreement from all camps that the design world as a whole is in a position of influence and responsibility.
Above (Left); The Bespoke Rug Company Concept. (Left); Samantha Todhunter at the Design Encouter, Decorex.
The “Commissioning Bespoke Items’ conversation with The Rug Company’s Creative Director Milly Wright and ID guru Samantha Todhunter reiterated the need to consider the whole journey of each commissioned piece. (use pic of the rug company’s Beetle rug) with caption Samantha Todhunter’s Decorex Design Encounter Library - featuring bespoke Bug Rug from The Rug Company.) With Nepal’s fragile economy relying heavily on the rug trade and the people working within it trusting in organisations like The Rug Company for their livelihood and even healthcare click here to read more a strong social conscience and long-term action are fundamental.
Above, Run for the Hills at the Design Encounter, Decorex.
Another Design Encounter collaborator flying the sustainability flag was the Design house ‘Run for the hills’, where Anna Burless and Tom Trotman’s ‘Into the Wild’ woodland bedroom proved that in their words “worthy doesn’t compromise one bit on WOW factor”. Anna Burless explains” It is time for all of us to embrace our power and the responsibility of our role in design. Showcasing sustainable products and hero-ing suppliers and makers who care deeply about the way they do things. Ferm Livings ‘Way Rug’ made from plastic bottles and the ‘Good and Mojo’ Kalimantan wall light from Houseology, made solely of sustainable and recycled materials were but two of the many responsibly sourced items within.
Above (Left); Corque Design. (Left); Fernando Laposse, both at Decorex.
Many of the exhibitors were also demonstrating that innovative, sustainable materials usage does not mean a compromise on product design. Exhibiting furnishings made exclusively from cork, the established Portuguese furniture manufacturer Corque Design continues to lead the way in Bio-production. Similarly, Fernando Laposse featured as part of the show’s Future Heritage Expo, presented furniture made using loofah, sisal and corn husks from his native Mexico. Commercially viable, aesthetically desirable and eminently sustainable – these companies are ticking all of the boxes!
In the ‘Attainable, Sustainable, Now’ seminar Henriette Thompson discussed her innovative slant on the traditional ID sourcing model. The Harth Concept offers a completely new, more sustainable approach to interior sourcing. Harth is a furniture, accessories and art rental platform which makes it possible to borrow new, nearly new, pre-loved and vintage pieces. It also allows one to rent one’s own items out to others. Harth aims to tackle overproduction and offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to ownership or storage.
In the words of Legacy Lounge designer Nicola Harding “We have the imagination to do things differently and the ability to make the better choices aspirational. We can champion those around us who are already leading the way and use our significant purchasing power to prompt other suppliers to act responsibly. We can also become more thoughtful about how to nurture a positive, sustainable dynamic between environmental, economic and social needs for future generations”.
Nicola continues “The subject of sustainability has been bandied around so much, it can feel overwhelming. It helps to realise that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In fact, that approach isn’t helpful because the fear of being seen to get something wrong gets in the way of doing anything at all. We intend to do the best job we can and learn lots along the way. There will be times when we can’t do things as well as we want and we will get things wrong, but we absolutely have to give it a go".