News of another catastrophic weather event today gave me familiar twinges of guilt. Each and every tiny lifestyle and consumer choice we make is adding up to create the climate change we are witnessing.
As an interior designer serving clients to create their homes, I have long felt aware of the environmental impact of my work: The idea of encouraging over-indulgent or ego-driven consumerism goes right against my values and beliefs. On the flip-side, I love design! To me, creating uplifting and exciting spaces that pull together buildings, history, personality, and modern aspiration, is a complex and fulfilling art form. I want to help people satisfy their legitimate need for a cosy, well-appointed home.
Sometimes it can feel like a double bind. I don’t want to encourage rampant consumerism, but I don’t believe we are here on this earth to live in a state of demoralised denial either.
For a while, I thought about making sustainability my niche. Now, I have realised that sustainability cannot be niche; it has to be mainstream. When making our lifestyle and consumer choices, our environmental impact must be as important a factor as any other. This is where designers have the opportunity to be part of the solution, finding and encouraging the sustainable choices. Not just knowing how to buy locally and choose products that do the least harm, but helping clients invest in long term choices that are exactly right for them and for their home, rather than wasteful, short-term solutions and mistakes. The sofa in the image, for example, looks and feels so plush. Yet the fabric is made from 100% recycled plastic and is almost impossible to stain. As such, it promises a lovely long lifespan, in spite of playful children doing their best to ruin it.
I personally feel that the solution to our climate crisis does not just lie in the tangible but also in the spiritual. By strengthening our sense of awareness and gratitude at being part of the miracle of the natural world, and not separate from it, we will more naturally take care of it. Including nature-inspired art, naturally sustainable materials, and greenery in the home can go some way towards that.
Engaging a designer, particularly one who is tuned in to making sustainable choices, is an opportunity to ensure you are investing wisely on every level. And, if we are happy in our homes and at peace in ourselves, perhaps we won’t feel so desperate to escape on planes and will find more time to try some meat free recipes in the kitchen.