Tag Archives: Sustainable living

A trip to Philips HQ for the lowdown on the LED lighting revolution

Do you consider yourself as a “dark greeny” or a “ bright greeny?”. I can hear the screams, “what the heck is she talking about!” Well, let me put it like this, do you fit in the “must stop driving, turn all lights off and stay inside before we burn the plant to a crisp category” Or are you the “we can still travel, have fun and live a super dooper life whilst tackling our carbon footprint category”.

The reason I ask is because the popularity of sustainable living is rapidly growing, with most people now actively taking part in one way or another, in fight against harmful carbon emissions by investing in technology such as combi boilers, under floor heating and efficient lighting. We’re now taking real responsibility for our energy usage, whether you chose to be an extreme “dark greeny” or a more positive and flexible “bright greeny”.

Speaking of bright, lighting is one feature an interior designer will spend many hours working out where to place in a design scheme, taking into account colour temperature, colour rendering and the psychological effect that light has. Nowadays, technology has progressed at a super pace, which enables designers to create a desired lighting plan without the huge energy consumption, heat output and cost. Great!

But the knowledge about lighting design can’t just be learned over night, it’s a skill that needs to be developed and mastered. This is why the National Design Academy in Nottingham (including myself!), traveled to Philips’ head office in Surrey yesterday, to explore the revolutionary LED light that will be used the Academy’s design studio’s and make up a possible educational display for students to fully understand all aspects of energy lighting and the bigger picture of sustainable living today.

Previous energy lights have been criticised for being very clinical and cold, however the new age Philips LED lights throws this stereotype out the window. As the largest lighting company in the world, Philips put roughly 5% of their profits back into research and have invested in a thicker phosphor coating inside the bulbs to create a warmer light. This coating can also be adjusted to create a more orange or blue effect depending on the project. Continue reading

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Filed under Eco-friendly, lighting, modern design, News, The National Design Academy, www.nda.ac.uk

What trend is sweeping the interior design world and getting everyone shouting?

It’s fantastic to see interior designers from all corners of the industry really thinking about sustainable design and showing people how they can re-use materials to create not only eclectic pieces to put inside a home or building, but taking a serious approach to their own carbon footprint. Pressure groups and political parties have shouted about eco-friendly living for years, so this new “eco-chic” or “up-cycling” trend which has swept the design world hasn’t just popped onto the scene from nowhere.  Bearing this in mind, I ask, why has it taken us so long to finally care about our surroundings and start to change our habits?

I’m sure some boffins out there have an intricate explanation, but from my point of view, attending shows such as Birmingham Interiors, Ideal Home Show and keeping track of what other bloggers, designers and tweeps are discussing, reveals one major point, people have far less to spend so are forced to make-do and mend.

I know many people and designers, who’ve jumped on the band wagon, using old wood from skips, battered doors, unwanted plastic bottles and vintage suitcases to re-create various pieces of furniture which look immense. Eco designer Sarah Turner, who I met at this years Birmingham Interiors Show, creates lights from used plastic bottles and Hendzel & Hunt who are behind the label “Made in Peckham”, also showcased at BIS, create wonderful rustic tables and chairs from wood and pallets discarded on the streets of Peckham. Watch the video below to see their designs!

Hendzel & Hunt

Sarah Turner

Sarah’s designs also featured in some of the show homes at this years Ideal Home Show at Earls court in London and it’s great to see young fresh talent really pushing through on the eco front, basing their designs around sustainability and setting a positive example.

This years Ideal Home Show followed suit and was heavily based around sustainable living from George Clarke’s Coronation Street eco-refit, that demonstrated how energy inefficient many of the UK’s homes are and how they can be improved, to Linda Barker’s eco-chic styling seminars. As well as interior design celebrities endorsing green living, other areas of the show also showed their support for green living. The stand for the Help for Heroes campaign at the event was kitted out with furniture made from various soldiers uniforms, buttons and hats which I thought was a lovely gesture.

The impact these shows have on people is huge, in one of her eco-chic seminars, Linder Barker showed spectators how to make a cake stand from old plates and glasses. I thought this was a fantastic idea and decided to make one myself and write a guide for others to do the same. To this day, one of the most popular searches I find on The Design Hub, is how to create a vintage cake stand! Okay it’s not on the same scale as investing in under floor heating or compressed insulation, but it’s still making a difference and tackling the “throw-away” culture which we’ve all been caught up in – thank you Linda!

Even Robin, the Finance Director at the National Design Academy, had a go at up-cycling and created a magnificent cupboard from bits of scrap. It didn’t cost him a penny and give him great satisfaction I’m sure, to know that he’d created something from nothing. Interior Designer Karen Lane, who’s based in the East Midlands, often gets old worn furniture from charity shops and restore’s them to sell on – check out her guide!

Which brings me to another important point, all this restoring and up-cycling is really benefitting our charity shops. I think my local one is sick of the sight of me, but I get a lot of pleasure making use of unwanted items and helping others at the same time, so it’s worth having a look to see what you can find.

Like South African designer Katie Thompson say’s, “make something ordinary, extraordinary”. (check out her Suitcase Chair’s they’re a great example of up-cycling)

In these hard economic times, people seem to be more open to all ideas thrown out there that can save money which could be the reason “eco-chic” and “up-cycling” and has taken off.  Those who have redecorated their home on a shoe string are leading the way with chic, rustic, recycled designs that all the home magazines have jumped on. If you want to achieve this look, it’s cheap and easy, just use your imagination and make use of interior design blogs/sites/forums to get inspiration, because they’re all shouting about it in one form or another.

Back to the point, this years biggest trend is sustainable living which like all trends has levels of expense, if you can afford a £2000 chair made from old t-shirts, great, it’s still an appreciation of the eco concept and keeping that designer in business, but if your more towards the make-do and mend end of the spectrum, you have a wealth of exciting and creative eco-friendly options to try. Whatever level, whatever design keep thinking green and you’re already bang on trend.

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Filed under Bathroom Interiors, Bedroom Interiors, Birmingham Interiors Show 2011, Eco-friendly, George Clarke, Ideal Home Show 2011, Kitchen Interiors, lighting, Living room Interiors, News, Periord Ideas, Quirky, Sarah Turner, sustainable interiors, The Designers Block, Up-cycling, www.nda.ac.uk

Colourful retro and green living designs by young British designer

Design of the Day

This young designer has stolen my heart with her brightly coloured and patterned eco designs. She gives her designs life, re-modernsises retro and promotes ethical and green living – a ten out of ten from me!

After graduating from Loughborough University in 2008 with a 1st in Textile Design, British designer Zoe Murphy was selected for The New Designers Showcase in Islington, where she was shortlisted for Designer of the Year Award and has since attracted a huge amount of attention.

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Filed under Bathroom Interiors, Bedroom Interiors, Eco-friendly, Home Acessories, Kitchen Interiors, Living room Interiors, Margate furniture designs, News, Quirky, sustainable interiors, Zoe Murphy