Savvy designers have recognised the need to lessen their impact on the natural environment’s finite resources. Wasteful, disposable excess is out and more grounded, durable luxury is in.
Designers are working with recycled and renewable materials towards eco-friendly and sustainable wares, and built-in energy efficiencies have improved with technological advances. A product might cost a little more upfront, but with innovative approaches to materials and design, it will be of a higher quality and should last far longer.
The trend towards environmentally responsible design is well represented at Design Indaba Expo 2009. Among others, check out Koop’s furniture range crafted out of alien vegetation by Richard Stretton. Chic recycling also distinguishes Drift’s range of furniture made from shipping crates and railway sleepers.
Of course, more than buying new, its important to extend the lifespan of products. A decided showstopper last year, Casamento will again be showing their ingenious use of off-cuts to re-upholster second-hand couches and chairs. Another hit from last year, GIVE-IT-BAG return with their gorgeous shopping bags made from recycled food transport sacks, as well as a number of new styles.
Also continuing its line of clothing with a conscience is Fundudzi. Designer Craig Jacob uses only organic bamboo, cotton and wool, with hemp silk for embellishment and adaptable designs that encourage multiple uses for single garments. Top it off with a piece of jewellery by Skermunkil, who repurposes antique cutlery and found objects.
Economic empowerment and social sustainability are key words for many Design Indaba Expo exhibitors, including collaborative craft groups such as Woo-Men, Design Afrika, Shumba Inc, ISUNA, Nuno, Phumani Paper, Iziko lo Lwazi, Hillcrest Aids Centre, Monkeybiz and Projekt.
House and Leisure magazine and Woolworths are showcasing the 10 finalists in the House and Leisure Green Designers at Woolworths competition. Running since August 2008, the competition promotes environmentally friendly, upmarket homeware design by students at the best tertiary design institutions around the country. Work featured will go into production for sale at selected Woolworths stores.