From sustainable furniture made from reclaimed wood to interior schemes sourced with as few air miles as possible, sustainability is becoming increasingly important in our homes and our buying choices.
It’s a good thing too. Why wouldn’t our goal be to live in a world where being responsible with materials and production is the normal standard?
People are often surprised by my lighting range. I work with materials they don’t expect and although my lampshades are often mistaken for being mass produced, I make everything by hand. When I looked at my favourite pieces of surprising design I noticed that they were all sustainable too.
Each of the following design pieces is both sustainable and surprising. Often repurposed and always beautifully crafted, I hope they’ll not only introduce you to some talented designers but inspire you to see how beautifully crafted and stylish sustainable products can be.
Sustainable Furniture by Piet Hien Eek
Piet Hein Eek is a Dutch designer known for his work using repurposed materials. He is one of Europe’s most prominent leaders in sustainable design, having created textiles, furniture and accessories from all kinds of industrial remnants.
American army fabric transforms into a beanbag chair. Scraps of wood are built together into a cupboard with concealed drawers. His work shows us how the resources we already have can be transformed into functional, sustainable furniture with outstanding beauty.
Paper Pulp Sustainable Lighting
When forests are grown and managed thoughtfully, paper is one of the most sustainable resources we have. These lamps are made from recycled cardboard and egg boxes and can be recycled again at the end of their life.
American designer Victor Vetterlein created his ‘Trash Me Lamp’ by blending egg boxes with water, spreading them over a mould and then fastening them together with aluminium pins once dry.
The beautiful, frilly-edged lamps were designed and made in a similar way by Valentina Carretta for the Italian brand Seletti.
Sustainable Storage by Michael K. Wolke
Salvaging shopping trolleys, bicycle inner tubes and corrugated cardboard, designer Michael Wolke transforms the things he finds into surprising storage and lighting.
Sustainable Plastics by ecoBirdy
Belgian design duo ecoBirdy recycles old or unused plastic toys to create sustainable furniture for children. Every step of the process has environmental and social responsibility at its heart with a goal to move society closer and closer to a circular economy.
This children’s chair is a great example of surprising and sustainable design that’s beautiful, useful and really good fun. I love the colour and pattern created by the recycled plastic.
Upcycled Decor by Amy Douglas
Amy Douglas had been working as a restorer for years before deciding one day to create her own objects from broken and discarded ceramics, just for fun. The result is a collection of completely unique, often bizarre or satirical decorative pieces which give new meaning to the usual figurine you might find on a mantelpiece.
Amy’s work is always surprising and colourful but it also only exists by being remade from things that others might consider junk. Based in Brighton, Amy often names her work after snippets of conversation she’s overheard giving it a surreal and obscure quality that’s incredibly compelling.
I believe that sustainable design is the way of the future and everything I design and make falls into line with that belief.
For more ideas and inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest page.