Anyone for a seaweed lampshade? From John Lewis’s new vegan mattresses to carpets made of fishing nets, the latest interiors are chic and eco-friendly
More people than ever are following a vegetarian or vegan diet — but did you know your home could be a plant-based paradise?
Under the banner of sustainability, there are now a wealth of new ways to finish and furnish interiors. And I don’t just mean feather-free cushions and soy wax candles.
This is the dawn of exotic-sounding innovation often using things that would otherwise be thrown away. This new movement is on track to make some serious money: vegan ‘leather’ alone is reported to be worth more than £65 billion by 2025.
Prepare to be surprised by the future of chemical-free, healthy (for planet as well as people) homes . . .
Michelle Ogundehin explores the future of chemical-free, healthy homes. Pictured: John Lewis’s vegan EcoMattresses
Forget feathers which in China (where most of the down sold in the UK comes from) can, horrifyingly, be plucked from live birds. Opt for vegan pillows and duvets.
The Fine Bedding Company, makes vegan down duvets and pillows from recycled bottles wrapped in 233 thread-count sustainably-sourced cotton (from £45, finebedding.co.uk).
John Lewis’s vegan EcoMattresses (pictured, from £599, johnlewis.com) use a soft polyester filling called EcoFlex made from recycled plastic — more than 200 bottles are in a king-size bed.
Cardiff-based studio Ty Syml harvests seaweed from Pembrokeshire beaches to create lampshades (pictured)
If you saw seaweed washed up on the beach, your first thought probably wasn’t that it could make a beautiful light fitting. Cardiff-based studio Ty Syml did, though. It harvests seaweed from Pembrokeshire beaches, dries it, grinds it into powder then combines it with waste paper. The result? A tough material to mould into lampshades (pictured, from £180, tysyml.com).
Dust London dries out old tea bags and mixes them with a non-toxic binder before pouring into moulds to make homeware products
You might use old tea bags to fertilise your plants, but the designers at Dust London (dustlondon.co) have gone one step further. They dry out, blend down and mix tea bags with a non-toxic binder before pouring into moulds to make homeware products. These include coasters (from £28 for a set of four) and vases (pictured, from £79, both heals.com).
Italian manufacturer Econyl sources old fishing nets to recycle into a nylon fibre to make domestic carpets (pictured)
Italian manufacturer Econyl sources old fishing nets — retrieved by volunteer divers or direct from the fishing industry — to recycle into a nylon fibre to make domestic carpets. These are sold under the Sedna brand (pictured, £35.49 per square metre, sedna-carpet.co.uk).
Office furniture maker Humanscale uses almost two pounds of old nets in its Smart Ocean chair (£631.40, back2.co.uk).
SHELL JEWEL BOXES
London design studio Newtab-22 crushes shells into a powder, which, mixed with sand and non-toxic binders, can be used for mirror stands (pictured)
Polished concrete might be fashionable but it’s very environmentally-unfriendly —cement is responsible for up to 8 per cent of the world’s CO2. But what if you could replace it with seashells?
Seven million tonnes of seashells are discarded annually by the seafood industry, with much of it ending up in landfill or dumped at sea, and they’re rich in limestone, one of the key ingredients of concrete.
London design studio Newtab-22 crushes the shells into a powder, which, mixed with sand and non-toxic binders, can be used for mirror stands (pictured, £63), trays (£55), and jewellery boxes (£38) (newtab-22.com).
UK designer Atticus Durnell makes by hand a material called That’s Caffeine from waste coffee grounds, that is used to create homeware items including a coffee table (pictured)
Did you know that 18 million tonnes of coffee grounds are generated globally every year? UK designer Atticus Durnell makes by hand a material called That’s Caffeine from waste coffee grounds, binders, minerals and plant- based resin.
The resulting material is both water and heat-resistant, comes in five colours and has a gorgeous glossy finish.
A set of four coasters start at £30, there is a coffee table at £800 (pictured) and a floor lamp for £840 (atticusdurnell.com).
Small design studios such as Hertfordshire’s One Nine Eight Five are recycling cotton to create interior pieces such as throws (pictured)
In the fashion industry, re- cycled cotton is all the rage — but it is also being used in textiles and interiors, thanks to small design studios such as Hertfordshire’s One Nine Eight Five.
The firm was founded with the aim of creating beautiful pieces that ‘closed the loop on waste without compromising on design’.
The result is throws (pictured, from £110, onenineeightfive.co.uk) made from either recycled cotton or wool from offcuts left over from garment manufacture.
Broken down into fibre and re-spun into yarn, they are woven and hand-finished using traditional techniques in British mills.
Smile Plastics is aiming to make mundane rubbish beautiful with interior design items made from discarded chopping boards, cosmetics bottles and yoghurt pots
We know that, as a society, we use far more single-use plastic than we should, but Smile Plastics is aiming to make mundane rubbish beautiful with interior design items made from discarded chopping boards, cosmetics bottles and yoghurt pots.
Each item it produces retains a trace of the plastics’ origins — so you may glimpse flecks of foil from the original yoghurt pot lids or text and barcodes from plastic packaging.
Its materials include a marble-like Dapple range. Items range from food platters (pictured, £46) to side tables (£250) (smile-plastics.com).