In the Scale of Carbon sat at the centre of the Super Brands event during the London Design Festival. The exhibition, by the Materials Council, represented the volume of various architectural materials that can be produced for one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. Each of the materials was physically represented in a cube form and, the larger the cube the greater the quantity of that material that could be produced for the same volume of CO2 emissions, or ’embodied carbon’. A literal measure of sustainability. Carbon isn’t the only measure, but it is an important one. The average new UK home releases around 50 tonnes of CO2 embodied carbon in its construction, that is enough carbon to drive around the earth 11 times!
Next door, Interface, a leading commercial carpet tile manufacturer, showcased its Net Effect products. Net-Works is a partnership programme between Interface and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Aquafil to tackle the problem of discarded fishing nets. Net Works takes discarded fishing nets from remote fishing communities and recycles them into carpet tiles, the Net Effect products. The programme aims to collect 200kg of nets from each village every month. The result, beautiful carpet tiles that capture the colour and texture of the ocean.
There was plenty more biophilic design on display: Hand drawn wallpapers inspired by rural Shropshire from Katherine Morris at Earth Inke. The teasels in cream tea were developed using natural clays from Shropshire; Abigail Edwards had sky, seascapes and owls adorning her wallpapers printed with hand mixed non-toxic water based ink; and the english countryside are the chocolate creative’s inspiration for theirnew English Romantic Collection of cushions.
Bold & Noble‘s collection of wallpapers and screen prints cherish a connection with nature with depictions of trees or birds around Britain, a ‘Grow your Own’ calendar or reminder to Bee Kind referencing bee-friendly plants (£43, 50x70cm).
I loved Daniel Heath‘s antique wall mirrors, and reclaimed Welsh slate tiles engraved with an Espalier (fruit trees growing horizontally) design complete with jays perching between gnarled apple branches ripe with fruit.
Recycling and upcycling was in evidence at Furniture Magpies, Galapagos, Sukie’s recycled papers and cards, and the vibrant textiles of Parris Wakefield on furniture from Out of the Dark, a charitable social enterprise that recycles, restores and revamps salvaged furniture. Chunky knits were used to great effect as upholstery by Rose Sharp Jones and Melanie Porter.
Design and craftsmanship were plentiful at the Galvin Brothers, nominees for Best British Designer at the Elle Decoration British Design Awards, 2013. Their Moonshine footstool was a hit. All of Sebastian Cox‘s work is made from British hardwoods from well managed forests. The ‘Rod’ desk lamp is made from compressed hazel fibres for the shade and steam bent hazel for the rob. It has an LED bulb, and R.R.P. is £175. The hazel is hand coppiced in Kent. I also liked the Suent, lightweight chair with its woven seat.
Finally, Studio180° launched their eco modular sofa and horsehair mattress. The sofa is made of the highest quality natural materials with out glue or steel coils, and the “Cradle-To-Cradle” circular economy model is at the heart of the design. All the materials used, except zips, are either biodegradable or recyclable and free from toxic flame retardants and harmful chemicals. The chaise-longue element is provided by a full mattress made of horsetail hair. Horsehair, with its natural springiness, has been used in bedding for centuries, and is still used by premium brands such as Vi-Spring. I could have lingered for a long time on the Sen sofa, but duty called!