There are many aspects to interior design, including functionality, aesthetics, size and more. But another aspect has been added to the design of home and office furnishings in the past decade or so: sustainability. What manufacturers do to preserve our environment while producing the items with which we want to furnish our space has become a vital issue for many consumers. In fact, sustainability is now considered an interior design feature that many people desire.
What, Exactly, Is Sustainable Design?
Sustainable design is often also referred to as environmental design, environmentally conscious design and even environmentally sustainable design. No matter what name it goes by, it is a philosophy of designing furnishings that comply with the principles of ecological sustainability. Sometimes if also encompasses manufacturing principles that take into consideration social and economic sustainability, such as employing local workers or placing plants in areas which need a strong economic boost.
According to J.F. McLennan, in The Philosophy of Sustainable Design, the goal is to “eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful, sensitive design.” That basically translates to the use of renewable resources and a methodology that has a minimal impact on the environment. Recycled (glass, metal), renewable (bamboo) and reclaimed materials (wood, metal) are very popular in the manufacture of contemporary home furnishings.
How Sustainability Affects Home Furnishings Purchases
Today’s consumers bring an increased awareness of environmental issues to the buying process. Although they may not make a furniture purchase based solely on whether or not the manufacturer is considered green (looks, style and function tend to trump eco-friendliness!), it’s viewed as a bonus when their favorite piece is made from renewable materials.
The questions to ask when looking for sustainable furnishings are “Where is it made?” and “How well is it made?” Locally sourced products have a minimal impact on the environment since they don’t need to be shipped great distances. And quality matters since a piece of furniture that last decades, instead of months or years, contributes less to the vast amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
At Lawrance, we do our best to provide you with a variety of manufacturers who produce sustainable designs. For instance, Copeland is one of our most popular lines. Located in Vermont, Copeland makes beautiful pieces from walnut, maple and cherry wood that is all sourced within 150 miles of their factory. They take the term “green” one step further by utilizing scrap wood and sawdust to heat the facility during Vermont’s cold winter months. Urbia Imports uses reclaimed and repurposed woods, such as trees downed during storms, to create exclusive, natural designs. And Oios, whose factory is located in Denver, produces very unique pieces made from 98 percent recycled materials, mostly metals.
We take the concept of sustainability a step further, as well. Lawrance Furniture is a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, whose goal is to promote sustainable practices in manufacturing and retail companies. We are proud of our membership in this important organization and do our best to support its worthwhile endeavors.
If your concern is for more than merely buying a beautiful, functional piece of furniture, rest assured that doing business with Lawrance is an excellent way to support sustainable practices while furnishing your home or office.