Firstly, a step into Forbo Flooring Systems who make linoleum, project vinyl, carpet tiles, and flocked flooring for commercial and residential customers. With a clutch of environmental awards to their name, including BREAM, Cradle-to-Crade and Nordic Swan, they are proud of their commitment to responsible raw material procurement and manufacturing processes. Forbo use Life Cycle Assessment to evaluate their products’ environmental footprint, before, during and after production. The info graphic, Creating Better Environments shares some of the highlights. For example, marmoleum (linoleum) is made from 97% natural materials with natural antibacterial properties, contains 43% recycled content, has total VOC 30 lower than the norm and CO2 emissions 50% than other resilient floorings. It could soon be on the floor of the family bathroom!
I had to stop at Brands ,a few doors down, to hear about the “holistically reared sheep” (as pitched in the Icon Guide to CDW) whose wool is used for the LIFE textile range from Instyle. LIFE textiles were developed along Cradle to Cradle principles, made from 100% low-pesticide wool that is processed with biodegradable detergents, and heavy-metal free dyes. Wool has many virtues, and this cloth, suitable for upholstery or screen use, is also recyclable through Instyle’s Revive programme. To show the colours and weave to their best effect, the fabrics have been made into covetable backpacks by Cherchbi, a British leather goods company that prides itself on using the best natural raw materials such as vegetable-tanned English saddle leather and discarded wool from the ancient Herdwick breed. The bags are a playful way to show the beauty and versatility of the LIFE Textiles and Cherchbi craftsmanship.
I had a quick perch on a (very comfortable) bed at Ensemblier London to hear from founder Emma Storey about the craftsmanship invested in their customisable headboards. With designs inspired by the rich archives of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the headboards are handmade in small workshops in England using traditional skills and sustainable materials.
Craftsmanship and traditional skills were also in evidence elsewhere. The beautiful copper and terracotta objects (pictured at the top)from Hend Krichen are the fusion of a London-based design practice and a network of craftsmen in Tunisia revealing the country’s natural resources and artisanal heritage. The perfect complement to the kitchen I am coveting after seeing this bar (pictured right) at the Benchmark Furniture stand.
I caught my breath with a perch on Neb Abbott‘s Geffrye stool. The stackable stool is based on a commission for eight benches as temporary seating for the Geffrye Museum cafe. Neb is about to graduate from the CASS School of Art, Architecture and Design. Alongside the stool stood the Wasp series of chairs. The playful exploration with materials (my favourite is the webbing) belies the serious design consideration to providing lumber support. It is seriously comfy!
Studio 23, founded by Naori Priestly, a Royal College of Art graduate, works with the Allo Club in Sankhuwasabha, a small mountain village in eastern Nepal, to produce handmade fabrics from the Himalayan Giant Nettle (known as Allo). Allo grows naturally in forests above 1500 metres, helping to stabilise the fragile soil in mountainous areas. Local peoples harvest allo, as they have done for generations, boiling and beating the stem bark and then spinning the fibres and weaving them into sacks, bags, jackets or fishing nets. As a social enterprise, Studio23 aims to preserve the community’s skills, the landscape and provide another source of revenue. The natural fabric is strong and durable. It would look great as chair seat, or cushion, particularly the subtle herringbone weave. Or cover a sofa, add a few hand-knitted cushions from Rose Sharp Jones (pictured left), and then relax…..
Photocredit: Brands Ltd; Forbo Flooring Systems for the info graphic; Studio23 and the rest are mine.
Related post: Design Factory @Clerkenewell Design Week