by Louis Postel for Showboats International April 2015
Design if not dead, “it’s useless,” the preeminent French designer Philippe Starck famously remarked at the 2009 Milan International Furniture Fair. “There are already millions of chairs to sit our cute butts on. Ecology, that’s where we can still express ourselves.” Now, let’s catch up with a few of the latest of those expressions.
For a Nice Butt — and a good cause
Recycling, restoring, and renewing have re-defined design. Here a 17th century French fauteuil that had sustained many years on the ocean floor inspired this bit of fancy flotsam by designers Dwayne Clark and Bob Gaynor of New York City, who gifted it to the tsunami-relief efforts of The International Furnishings and Design Association. Clark Gaynor
Double-duty does much to drive eco-design. Industrial designer Jonas Edvard of Copenhagen developed an organic textile called MYX out of oyster mushroom mycelia and hemp fibers. You can eat all but the hemp — and then you can use it for home furnishings. Edvard’s 2,200 euro MYX Lamp won honors at the 2014 of the Green Furniture Awards, presented at the Cappellini showroom during Milan Design Week. http://jonasedvard.dk/
There may be no greater pleasure than padding across an M/Y’s salon barefoot on a soft and luxurious rug. We all get that — but does eco-consciousness entail putting up with a little earth-friendly scratchiness? In fact, , you gain not lose in the case of these extremely soft and durable from Miami-based NIBA. Part of NIBA’S special gift lies in hand-carded, or combed fibers such as allo (nettle), silk, hemp, as well as extraordinarily rich wool from high altitude, lanolin-laden sheep., Traditional craftsmen using wooden paddles wash the wool in water — as opposed to noxious chemicals — then dry it in the sun. NIBA’s Good Weave label assures that no child labor is involved. Show here: a custom riff on the sandy rhythms of St. Tropez.
Anything well-built can qualify as eco-furnishing. Why? Because it’s made to last, and therefore rarely adds to such attractions as the Texas-sized Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But consumer needs to evolve and industrial designers like Martin Luu of Toronto, Canada are taking that into account. His Crosstool seating not only upcycles discarded plastic strapping, but it’s free of off-gassing bonding agents and adhesives, which makes Crosstool easy to disassemble for recycling in its entirety, if and when that time comes. While Crosstool’s shadow-play is free, the unit itself is priced at fifty-dollars.
Serving sailors limes on long-term voyages helped prevent scurvy, but what about going a bit farther and providing some fresh herbs just for taste? Happily, M/Y gourmets can not only indulge in Edvard’s MYX mushrooms, but also sautéed them with fresh basil and parsley thanks to the Forage Dining Table designed by Josh Kennard of Forge Creative in Sussex, England. Forage features silver birch table legs supporting a solid, impact-resistant ash surface which has been top-coated with food-safe Osmo oil for a matte sheen. A waterproof liner in the planter keeps moisture where it belongs. Both ash and birch timbers are well in line with the EU’s Forest Stewardship Council’s forest management regulations. Custom prices on request.