What are sustainable materials?
Metiu is a small newly opened interior design business that aims to cover different issues, from sustainability to social, from equal opportunities to education, from giving space to emerging artists and artisans to the most disadvantaged.
With this article we would like to address our ideas and our vision on sustainability in interior design and on the eco-values that we pursue day by day.
In a world where sustainability is a daily topic, it feels right to apply it to the design world as well. If we think about all the products and materials in our houses, shops, restaurants and cities we realise straight away that we are talking about an enormous number of items.
However, have you ever wondered where these materials come from? How have they been produced? Who has produced them? And how? Ultimately, how did they arrive in our lives?
The answers to these questions aren’t always easy to find, however it is hidden in these answers if we are helping or destroying our planet.
As we have already mentioned above, it is easy to understand that every sector that surrounds us follows a production chain. How can we, in our small lives, do something to help the environment of today and the one that will surround our children in twenty years time?
For what concerns our houses, we know that we want them to look beautiful, but wouldn’t it be better if they also did something good?
It should be relatively easy to take more sustainable paths when decorating interiors. Just by buying and using natural materials such as wood, marble, ceramic, wool, you could have a different impact. Yet it is not always as simple as it seems. Often these materials are produced in an unsustainable way, or without taking into account their durability. The era in which we live in, is based on consumption, on constantly buying new products, on looking for a lower offer with the conviction of saving.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, these beliefs do not apply when it comes to interiors. In fact, if a product is cheap today, it will be expensive in the long term. To better explain this concept just think of a £ 20 desk; at first glance it would seem a great deal, yet the low price tells us that it was probably produced with poor materials and in a company that produces thousands of identical desks per minute. What happens when you buy such a desk is that in a year or at most two, in the best of cases, it will break and will be fixed or changed.
Would you fix a desk that you paid only £ 20 two years ago? Or would you buy another, the same one, at the same price? If your answer is fixing what is broken, congratulations! You are helping yourself, your finances and the environment.
Unfortunately, however, most people would opt for the second option, throwing away what is broken to buy what is cheap. What has this type of person achieved? He simply delayed a higher expense for a very poor product. He paid £ 40 for two desks, and guess what? In two years at the most, he will spend another 20, and so on. Here the mysterious mechanism that governs our lives today is revealed. Perhaps the best desk is precisely the one produced in smaller quantities, by an expert craftsman, with top quality and perhaps recycled materials. Of course, the initial cost will be higher, but it will be the desk where your children and your children’s children can also study and/or work.
What are examples of sustainable design?
We have many examples of companies, artists, designers and artisans who are trying to focus more on sustainability. Yet the results are not always as sustainable as they seem; they are often a cover, a marketing gimmick. This practice is called green-wash. How to recognize a genuine initiative from a simple green-wash? It is not so easy to differentiate the two; we have collected a few of the countless examples of ethical business choices to offer you options in different areas:
• Pentatonic: Tableware out of recycled smartphones
• Heal’s: Fashion collection from fashion industry waste
• Elvis & Cresse: Bags from rescued fire hoses
• Vitra: Bath that consumes less water
• Waste House: University of Brighton student project
• Edward Bulmer: Natural paint manufacturer
• The national trust headquarters: Eco-friendly office
A sustainable business, together.
Metiu is aware of today’s social and environmental dynamics. It wants to be part of the change, it wants to build lasting furniture, ideas and lifestyles both for the protection of the planet and for future generations.
We know that the path to starting a completely sustainable company is an obstacle course nowadays. There are details that are beyond our choices and control. It is actually difficult to know the exact life cycle of a product; where does it come from, how it was produced, who worked in the production and in what conditions, how it was transported, how the energy of the company that produces it is produced and endless other questions to which it is often difficult to find an answer.
In our own small way Metiu will always try to opt for choices and products that are as sustainable as possible; we aim to improve day after day and keep up to date with new discoveries or business applications to have a reduced footprint.
In small steps, sustainability will no longer be a central topic but only a normal lifestyle that will unite the entire human species