IInnovative uses of natural materials characterize the design industry in 2022. Shopping for home goods is no longer an exercise in blissful ignorance when it comes to the eco-credentials of our favorite brands: we’ve come to ethical enlightenment, tapping on the drop-downs for product information and readings about companies’ commitments to sustainability and employee well-being.
Many design companies have risen to the challenge of using eco-friendly and cruelty-free materials in new and exciting ways. From some of the best-known names in design to new brands to watch, the interiors community is taking a step in the right direction to promote animal-friendliness, environmental sustainability and cooperative work initiatives.
Working with sustainable materials and helping to generate revenue streams for international development are particularly effective ways to produce ethical household items. Interior companies like Maison Maison use designer, stylish and high-quality homewares. Its woven collection of lampshades includes scalloped rattan lampshades, the fastest growing tropical wood that renews itself in around five years, seagrass and water hyacinth, from £40 for a Little Bell. The collection is handcrafted by Vietnamese artisans as part of a cooperative labor initiative.
At the more affordable end of the market, Oxfam’s Sourced by Oxfam collection is an ethical range of home accessories made from sustainable materials by artisans around the world. All products have been selected by a team of Oxfam buyers who search around the world for suppliers that prioritize people for profit, small-scale production and responsibly sourced materials. The range includes useful seagrass baskets, Kantha rugs and throws made from recycled sarees. 100% of Sourced by Oxfam proceeds are donated to the charity’s projects to help people overcome poverty.
Although the term “trend” doesn’t capture the wider movement in design towards eco-friendly materials, the softness and tactility they bring to the home is certainly on trend. Linen, one of the most environmentally friendly fibers, brings a light and sophisticated finish to any room. The emblematic French textile company, La Manufacture Cogolin, is launching a linen collection, sea side, her first new fabric collection in 40 years. The range is fresh and textured, both rustic and refined.
Collection Noir, a new homeware company, has also followed the linen trend with the launch of its 100% pure Irish linen cushions, made in the UK. Collection Noir works alongside the artisans behind its products, prioritizing the use of sustainable materials. Samantha Wilson, the company’s founder, is looking to commit to percentage donations for wildlife-related projects as the company grows.
When it comes to large-scale furniture and mattresses, original thinking must meet the ecological expectations of the market. In big news, Savoir Beds, best known for its Savoy bed created for the Savoy Hotel in 1905, has launched its first vegan bed. Lambswool and cashmere are on its more traditional list of materials, but the new model, The Reformer No.4 V, is certified by The Vegan Society for its composition of agave, bamboo, organic linen and cotton. Beds are hand made to order in Wales.
Companies are also working to redirect landfills and ocean-bound plastic. Millbrook Beds has launched a collection of sustainable mattresses with a NemoFlex™ recycled plastic core. These are made in the New Forest and designed with responsible end-of-life recycling in mind, with an in-house recycling program ensuring a circular economy.
Furniture company Sofas & Stuff is also committed to changing the way we approach our plastic problem. The company offers customers Quallofil Blue Eco padding made from ocean-bound recycled plastic. They are the first and only furniture retailer in the UK to offer this option across all of their ranges. Each cushion contains approximately 200 recycled plastic bottles and is comfortable and durable. In addition to upholstery, Sofas & Stuff offers sustainable upholstery options (including various linens) to make their new furniture even more eco-friendly.