At The Open Plan we're worried about the environment, very worried and we want to tread more lightly on this planet. So, rather than jack it all in to go live off-grid we've been looking into what we can do to be more environmentally friendly, whilst still creating practical and good looking homes.
Here's our brief guide to some new materials that are finding their way into the mainstream of home interior design.
Sounds pretty artificial, but this silky, eco warrior is actually made from wood. The wood comes from sustainable sources and is fabricated to become a breathable and biodegradable fabric which was pioneered in Grimsby. Flooring made from Tencel has a lovely sheen and a silk/velvet feel without animal cruelty or emitting harmful plastic gasses. Check labels on items such as carpets, rugs, mattresses and bedding for guilt-free comfort.
Taking only 8-10 weeks to become fully grown from shoot, absorbing up to 62 tons of carbon a year and producing 35% more oxygen than trees, this humble material is becoming more prevalent in the UK. It's perfect as cheaper, cruelty free alternative to silk and on the flipped, a gorgeous hard flooring too. As with all of the materials listed here it's biodegradable too meaning that at the end of it's life you can happily place it into landfill knowing that it will return naturally to the earth unlike the trillions of metres of plastic laminate flooring that now exists on the planet.
Want some curtains with a beautifully natural patina and a heavy Hygge look? Then try Hemp. Approved by Jeremy Corbyn's son who's recently opened a Hemp only shop in north London, it's also affordable, soft and hard wearing. Unlike cotton, hemp needs little or no insecticides, no herbicides and produces a better quality fibre when grown organically while creating three times as much fibre, making it more environmentally friendly. Derived from fast growing Cannabis plants, this wonder plant seems to be able to do anything.
Other Materials to consider
Recycled Plastic - Soft or hard and spotted recently in rugs, bedding and worktops
Flax/Linen - A traditional and classic soft fabric for bedding, cushions and window dressing
Organic Fair-trade Cotton - Get it curtains, cushions, and duvet sets
Wool - Classically used for upholstery, carpets and curtains, a huggable, hypoallergenic and natural material
Sisal, Rush, Coir and Jute - Hard wearing, with tactile textures and Hygge inducing, naturally calm colours
Stone - If it has to be stone; sourced locally in Western Europe (most stone comes all the way from China nowadays), you can future-proof a beautiful bathroom, kitchen or hallway. Alternatively go one-step better and opt for reclaimed stone
Glass - Always choose this over petrochemical (AKA plastic) materials such as resin and perspex for tables and home accessories
Metal - For items that will last many lifetimes and can then be melted down to be used again in another form. For an even smaller environmental impact go for vintage.
Last week we visited London Interior Design and Lifestyle Show 'Top Drawer' and we're really excited to share these inspirational finds with you. Let's make beautiful Homes together...
1. 'Homework' Wallpaper from the cutest design company around, 'Mini Moderns'. Find quirky, graphic lampshades, duvet covers, cushions and wallpaper here.
2. 'Studio' modular kitchen by Frama. As well as this minimal timber, metal and Corian beauty they also design stunning lighting.
3. The 'Bee Brick' Bee Hotel. Makes a perfect gift plus you can physically build it into the walls of your property to help those essential little fuzzy pollinators. Ingenious design by 'Green and Blue'.
4. 'Retro' range by 'Bloomingville'. This company never misses the current trends and makes sure they reach you at a great price too.
5. 'Swim With Whales Forever' tablecloth is one of hundreds of pieces from designers complex epilepsy, learning and physical difficulties. Their Designs and Artworks are lovingly transformed into interior design gems and unique lifestyle gifts. All of their proceeds go back into the company 'Art House Meath'. A gorgeous company with style and outstanding ethics.
6. Wood and woven jersey chair and bungee cord lampshades. 'Veega Design' is a one woman (with masses of creativity) show. I would love to find a fun project for these pieces.
7. The most minimal shelf bracket ever. Concrete and in two designs, these shelves would be perfect for your minimalist interior design project
8. 'Concrete Skateboard' by 'The Dorset Stone Carver' demonstrates what happens when an old skill is given a modern spin (or nu-craft as I like to call it). I will be urging my commercial interior design clients to commission some weird and wonderful Objet D'art as centrepieces for their bar and restaurant designs from here.
9. Scandi fabrics done well - very well. The rugs are stunning and effortlessly chic too. Johanna Gullichsen is to thank for this.
Click on the images above for links to these lovely peoples' websites and then call The Open Plan to see how we can make wonderful things happen in your London house, apartment, cafè, bar, office...
One of London's Best Interiors Bloggers (Ideal Home magazine), The Open Plan Interior Design, London produces contemporary interiors for homes and business' and this very useful home interiors blog