At this year’s Maison & Objet’s we sought out the brands whose designs are beautiful but also great for the environment. WGSN’s Gemma Riberti reports
The pace at Maison & Objet is always intense – the halls are wide, the booths are tightly packed, and time is tight as the reports await.
Some stories are worth slowing it down for, though, as certain brands have strong concepts behind the collections they are here to present. We noticed this edition of the show was particularly engaged in this respect, as a crescent number of exhibitors presents a message relating to sustainability and eco- as well as social engagement – a direction we also highlighted at the latest Heimtextil as well, as this points to a growing conscience in the industry.
We slowed down and listened, then, and here’s the five brands that we wish to share.
Village is a Swedish brand that has just launched here at Maison & Objet, and everything in its collection is being crafted in Northern Sweden. The concern for the planet and its resources as well as the importance of natural, honest materials, heritage and local craftsmanship are at the heart of their manifesto, as it advocates the importance of taking the time to craft long-lasting, valuable items. The pieces feature wood, leather, coarse fibers and stone that all are guaranteed to be manufactured without toxic substances and in respect of nature.
Mexican craftsmanship meets European textile design for a new brand that focuses on the preservation of local heritage. Aniza collaborates with ONG across Mexico, supporting women’s human rights across various states to develop fabrics according to their local traditions, and using natural regional fibers. The textiles are then worked into the finished product in European factories that also are family-run and committed to heritage values. In addition, all the waste derived from production is transformed into decorative accessories.
Danish brand, Nordal features into their wide range the 2-Way Eco Cup, a series of drinkware for both in-house and to go that are entirely ecological, recycled and recyclable. The cups are made of bamboo fiber and corn powder, blended into a resin to become a contemporary travel mug. Their strong commercial approach brings a fresh twist to the design, as the bio composite can also be tinted into bright hues such as green or purple, or yet printed – adding a fashionable appeal to the eco side of it.
Uk-based company, Dassie crafts all products with skilled artisans in the developing world, especially Africa, following eco-friendly and ethical values. Recycled and natural materials are key, and fair trade is at the core of the brand as each piece brings together contemporary design and celebrates African culture at the same time. The collection features for instance mango wood, as it needs to be harvested in order for the tree to continue bearing fruits, and inlays of bone that is a by-product of the watusi cattle.
Another English brand, Tala is a lighting brand committed to accelerate low carbon economy with designs that are classic and refined yet sustainable. All components are therefore eco-friendly, as the LED lights mimic the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs in colour and look. Moreover, the brand commits to plant 10 Native trees in the UK for every 200 lights sold.
“Conservation Through Beauty” is a message we strongly believe in at WGSN as well, and L&I subscribers can find on our website a wide variety of reports that highlight the latest developments in new natural materials, and our A/W 17/18 trend Design Matters revolves on sustainability and good design.