Where to start with sustainable interior design
The future of design is looking green
Read more from Raluca below about her visit to the EDGE showroom. Raluca is our in-house creative consultant and estimator.
I have had the most amazing experience recently visiting EDGE (Eco Design Green Environment) showroom in Marylebone. Sustainable design and decorating methods are really important to us at Paint the Town Green and we always want to hear from brands that are working towards improving the industry.
If you haven’t heard of EDGE before there’s no wonder as they are very freshly opened in London. However, one visit will be enough to fill your mind with ideas about all the green alternatives that can be brought into your home.
What is EDGE?
EDGE is a company on a mission to promote sustainability within the construction and design field. Their showroom is a showcase of innovative brands whose products are not only solution focused with a green, circular economy vision at the forefront, but also strongly design led. As EDGE themselves state on their website, the brands they showcase ‘uphold the highest standards in waste minimisation, energy efficiency and sustainable manufacturing and materials’. Pair this with beautiful aesthetics, lovely helpful staff, and we have a winning combination for both now and the future.
The selection of brands covers a wide range of aspects from flooring, tiling, sound proofing, fabrics, paint, to building products and indoor plant systems, so you are very likely to find an alternative for most, if not all, your design needs. I’ll go into detail on some of my favourite solutions that I can see being brought into our projects and our clients’ homes.
What sustainable interior design options are there?
Fabrics / Floors / Walls
Puretree is one of the largest cork retailers in the UK. With one look on their website you’ll discover there is a myriad of ways in which cork can be used from floors and walls to fabrics.
They work with different brands and I was especially impressed by the Amorim wood floor effect which was fantastic, and all made from cork, while the consistency and weight felt very realistically wood. DesignCork do amazing leather effect fabrics in an array of colours that can be used for furniture upholstery.
Design objects / Art
Newtab-22 was cofounded by designer duo Hyein Choi and Jihee Moon from the Royal College of Art in 2019. They state to be ‘interested in the beneficial and intriguing properties of materials’, with the aim to ‘bring sustainability in society’, and it shows.
At EDGE I noticed a selection of beautifully coloured and designed tiles in different patterns. These were made of the sustainable material called Sea Stone, constructed from wasted seashells. Reading through their website I discovered that every year millions of tons of seashells are discarded by the fishing and aquafarming industries, which leads to unwanted waste on shores and coastlines, or going into landfill. Newtab-22 collect these unwanted shells, process them, and turn them into beautiful, durable design objects from decorative panels, to trays and vases.
Bolon create flooring solutions most suitable for offices and high-end commercial spaces due to their durability and beautiful designs of woven vinyl, very easy to clean and maintain.
To further enhance their design qualities a recent partnership with architect Patricia Urquiola has just been launched, inspired by Japanese Sashiko stitching method, not too dissimilar to Bolon’s own practices.
Bolon is hot on sustainability as well, promising ‘maximum visual impact with minimum climate impact’, and stating that all flooring they produce will be 50% circular by 2028. Now, all their collections contain recycled material, and all production has zero climate impact.
Manufactured in Cornwall from raw materials Clayworks are a unique blend of clays, minerals and pigments that provide breathable finishes for internal walls and ceilings and come in a very wide finish variety. At EDGE I discovered some beautiful colours and finishes, one of my favourites being the Rustic, for its very tactile texture.
There was one particular sample that caught my eye as it was mixed with hay and looked great! Equally if you’re looking for a super smooth finish that can be achieved as well (as part of the Classic Finishes), and I can see this as such a wonderfully unique complement to your painted or papered walls. Look out for the Custom Finishes to add personality to your space – I love how Clayworks describe this on their website as ‘demonstrating the art of the possible’.
An innovative surface design company, Murrato provide some wonderfully innovative and design led products made from cork such as organic blocks, cork bricks, korkstone, primecork, metalegance and concrete flex. All these cover different finishes from wall tile style blocks where you can play with different volumes and shapes, to apparent brick look, stone, metal effect or even concrete.
Primecork is like a thin cork skin that can be used in a similar way to wallpaper. I got very excited looking into the numerous design possibilities and see them as an example of thinking outside the box when it comes to interior solutions.
I was very excited to see one of our preferred partners Edward Bulmer showcased at EDGE. Truly eco-friendly, breathable paint, made from natural pigments and carbon neutral. Go on their website and you will easily find a list of every single component of their paint, which shows the brand’s commitment to total transparency in their production.
Material and product design
It’s in the name – the product made me smile the second I laid my eyes on it. I had heard of them before and was pleased to see them at EDGE. Their mission at Smile is to ‘create the most beautiful circular plastics in the world’ and to ‘challenge ideas about waste and the system that creates it’ by reimagining plastic use and waste.
Have a look on their website and you’ll find amazing inspiration on how you can use their recycled plastic products in your home, to create a workspace top for instance, or a side table. I love that they offer a buy back scheme where they buy back Smile products and recycle them.
This is a brand that makes beautiful fabrics led with a passionately conscious mind. From their materials to the way they celebrate their makers and heritage, this is a brand that has a conscience and is not just about looks. I was particularly impressed by their Quest fabric, created in partnership with the SEAQUAL initiative to combat marine plastic pollution. For every sale of the Quest fabric a donation is made for the initiative. Woven entirely from recycled plastic, it’s also inspired by the waves and has been created with a fluid and lightly textured surface.
Available in 27 colour ways captured beautifully by coastal artist Maggie Cochran. I love how this brand creates a product with a story and brings meaning to design.
I left EDGE feeling inspired by these amazing brands making a green future in design not only possible, but also exciting, and I would encourage everyone decorating their homes to research and investigate sustainable options. You will be surprised at the wealth of creativity and solutions out there.
Laura Chan, Colour Consultancy
Lucy Denyer, Colour consultancy
Felicia, Interior styling
Homeowner, North London
Philippa, Colour consultancy
Ellie, Decorating client