London Craft week was back again this year with a vast array of exhibitions, workshops, pop-ups and open showrooms all across the capital. There were so many different things I wanted to see, but as is life, time was limited.
One of the exhibitions I went to was a partnership between G.F. Smith paper and MaterialDriven, called Beyond Paper. Paper has always been a material I love – with its huge variety in texture, colour and weight – most of all for me, it is the huge versatility of this material that has caught my attention over the years, in particular during my graphics studies. In fact, moving into the world of interior design highlighted the importance of understanding, using and combining different materials more than ever. Sustainability is another area that has become more and more important to me over the past few years. It is a topic that I am always learning more about and this exhibition is an incredible opportunity for this.
There were so many innovative designs and products, but here is a little about my top 8:
The natural lime in this paint absorbs CO2 from the air, is highly breathable and has natural antibacterial and insect repellent properties. By adding pure carbon graphene fibres to the natural lime, this paint becomes a durable, robust product with great coverage.
This material is made only from waste, water and heat. A combination of old cardboard, newsprint, office waste, and agricultural fibres are used to create 100% recyclable panels for use in interiors, product design and more. This is a much needed solution to the critical waste disposal problems of today.
Lucentia Design sources polycarbonate waste from CDs, DVDs, car headlights, packing crates and more. These waste products are then used to produce sheet materials for a wide range of applications. Polycarbonate has good fire retardancy and is a very durable material making it perfect for application in interior surfaces.
SEA is a sustainable textile that reuses plastic litter collected from ocean beaches by volunteers from the U-turn project. The reclaimed plastic is spun to make a durable yarn and then combined with other, softer materials to create this stylish, hard wearing curtain fabric.
A very creative development of papier-mâché – this lightweight yet durable material is made from a new compound of micro-paper and is suitable for a range of interior applications. This material can be produced in a variety of solid surfaces of different sizes, thicknesses, 2D or 3D shapes. A variety of patterns and textures can be added by hand before it is dried, trimmed and polished to the desired finish. It is astonishing how much this product looks like other materials such as concrete, an interesting alternative.
This sustainable material is 100% bio-based, uses no chemicals and only recycled water for production. It is a lightweight, durable, water repellant, fire retardant and completely biodegradable product. Forming panels with geometric 3D surfaces gives this material sound absorption properties, making it ideal for acoustic panelling.
Developed in the UK, these tiles are created using 100% waste. Waste products, such as oyster shells, demolition waste, paper pulp, and feathers, are then combined with lime to form tiles. The lime also has the added value of absorbing CO2 from the air.
Made of Air
A new biochar-based carbon-negative material consisting of 90% captured atmospheric carbon dioxide. Organic waste material from plants and animals (biomass) absorbs both CO2 from the atmosphere and energy from the sun throughout its lifetime. This waste biomass is baked to form carbon which is then mixed with a biodegradable binder to create a mouldable, thermoplastic material.
Sustainability has different meanings to different people. For me, sustainability is thinking about the planet as we do about our loved ones. Don’t waste it’s resources; don’t harm it with toxins; don’t just take – give back more than you take; and help it recover from the bad days as well as helping it enjoy the good days.
Many of the innovative materials exhibited here are not just thinking about how not to use toxic substances and cause further pollution; but actually how to start helping the world to clean up our planet and find ways of reusing what has already been produced.
Recycle, up-cycle, reuse, repurpose!
The exhibition is running until 31st May 2019 so do pop in and see it for yourself! I would love to hear your thoughts and your favourite designs. What does sustainability mean to you?
All photography © Amy Keast.