Caring for our planet has always been important to me, but consolidating my sustainable ethics with what I consider to be an innately wasteful industry has always been somewhat of a struggle - seeing the resources that are wasted in the interiors and refurbishment industry is gut-wrenching, particularly when in the past I used to work for a developer - properties would be newly refurbished using natural materials like marble, only to be ripped out by the new owner weeks after they've bought the property because the design wasn't to their taste.
In the commercial sector, there are many more sustainable targets that must be met, but the regulations are still more relaxed in the residential field - however, Pia Design strives for continually improved sustainable practices within our designs, from reusing existing materials and fittings, to working with manufacturers and suppliers who's green practices are aligned with our own values.
Crucially, our objective is to design timeless interiors using built-to-last materials - the best form of sustainability is a design that endures the test of time and exists harmoniously with its surroundings. Good quality products and natural materials are integral to our ethos.
You can read about what we are doing as part of our Eco Mission on the website, but I wanted to share some of my favourite sustainable companies that we currently work with and what they are doing to reduce their ecological impact.
My favourite tile manufacturer is also the first ceramic tile company in the world to have gained Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Silver certification for nearly its entire tile collection. The Cradle to Cradle principle means there is no waste, no shortages and no limitations (unused or wasted tiles can be used as raw material to make new tiles). It was developed by Prof. Michael Braungart (EPEA) and architect William McDonough (MBDC) and has since become a well-known sustainability concept. Mosa strives to reduce waste, save energy, take social responsibility: pure raw materials, great recycling potential, low energy consumption, environmentally-friendly water management and good terms and conditions of employment. Additionally, with their factory based in Maastricht, Holland, they are also nearer to the UK than Italian and Spanish tile factories, so the carbon footprint on delivery is reduced.
Tarkett are a Swedish manufacturer of flooring, from wooden floor to laminate to artificial grass. They are committed to 'the ultimate customer experience', as well as respecting the environment and generating value in sustainable ways. They are also committed to the transition from linear to circular (cradle to cradle) economy. Their linoleum flooring is the world's first to be Cradle to Cradle certified for its sustainable approach. Made from natural materials such as linseed oil, pine resin, jute, wood and cork flour, and 100% recyclable, linoleum is the ultimate natural and renewable product. Their new generation iQ One vinyl flooring and benefits from a unique formula of homogenous thermoplastic flooring, without PCV nor plasticisers and is the world's first Cradle to Cradle Gold certified homogenous flooring.
One of the pioneers of sustainable manufacturing practices, furniture giant IKEA is taking major steps to shed their throwaway furniture reputation. In 2017, they launched their first range of kitchen cabinets made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and reclaimed industrial wood - twenty-five plastic bottles are used in each of the Kungsbacka kitchen units, designed by Swedish studio Form Us With Love to make "sustainability available for everyone". Read more about the kitchen on Dezeen.
Worldwide, IKEA owns more wind turbines than stores, and is on target to become "energy independent" by 2020. in 2018, IKEA generated 73% of the energy it used from its 416 wind turbines and 750,000 solar panels, and the firm now boasts more than 500 different sustainable living products for a range of uses, such as water and energy efficiency, renewable energy and waste sorting. Additionally, IKEA is also working towards a circular economy - many products are now made using recycled plastic and wood, and in the UK, IKEA sends zero waste to landfill. Although they still have a long way to go to meet that target, the innovation in sustainable furniture design and use of natural materials like wood, bamboo and cotton is leading the way for other companies to follow suite.
On a much smaller scale but a worthy mention in any case for its innovation, Woodio is a Finnish company that manufactures basins made out of 100% water resistant and cast mouldable wood material - the basins are made in Finland from ecological local aspen, an ecological solid wood composite, and sustainable polymers and they are fully recyclable. Currently available in approximately five colours (all natural wood tones as well as black and white), each basin is unique and has a 'terrazzo' like quality. The company is also exploring alternative products, including decorative wall panelling, a bath and a toilet seat.
There are many more sustainable brands that I would love to mention, but Dezeen does a great job compiling them together in this article: Eight Brands Leading the Way in Sustainable Design. Hopefully with the climate crisis now receiving mainstream media attention, many more brands will follow in their footsteps and endeavour for more sustainable manufacturing and business practices, for the benefit of our planet. :)