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Talking sustainability at Surface Design Show


Design Guild Mark - February 15, 2022 - 0 comments

Sustainability was on the agenda at Surface Design Show last week as Design Guild Mark judge Natasha Marshall and multiple award-winner Mark Gabbertas headlined a seminar on the subject, exploring its significance within their own design practices.

The event took place on Thursday 10 February at the Business Design Centre, London as part of Surface Design Show’s Main Stage Programme.

During the 30-minute session, Mark and Natasha had an informal chat about how design and integrity inspire their choices from material sourcing, to manufacture, to longevity, with Mark asking Natasha questions on the subject.

Here is a taster of some of the questions.

How do you feel we can ensure that products going forward make the best choices for our planet?

Sustainable production is and has always been my first thought when designing and choosing items for interior projects. I always aim to create beautiful items and showcase the work of exceptional craftsmen. Mixing old and new makes a wonderful interior full of character and love, so where possible I re-use items by painting or re-upholstering, rather than always just buying new.

I’m passionate about nature and preserving creative jobs. By using local craftsmen and manufacturing, we not only preserve the heritage and skills sets of people here in Britain but also keep our carbon footprint down.

I’m always looking at sustainable materials, learning about products that use organic waste, diverting it from landfill. I aim to spend more time learning about materials as this area fascinates me. Making little changes in our supply chain can make such a massive difference.

How do you ensure projects going forward make the best choice for our planet?

On a project, helping clients understand their choices is so important. As designers, we need to understand our client’s values or help them work through them, so choices can be made in line with these. Spending time opening your client’s mind up to sustainability, design and the stories that can be shared with these choices. This leads then to authenticity throughout a project, not just green washing.

I worked on a hotel project that involved converting and preserving existing farm buildings into living spaces – to give them a new use – and developing additional accommodation, plus a coffee shop and auditorium. Early on it was established that they wanted to source responsibly and local where possible. It was all created and built by local craftsmen. Nearly all the interior items were made in the UK.

It was such a wonderful feeling and so satisfying sourcing the goods from within our shores. Every item was chosen for its quality. This decision was in line with the concept behind the project and meant everything aligned all the way through the project.

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