Words: Joshua Greenwood
The interior design industry has seen a dramatic turnaround with more and more brands focusing on sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly solutions. Here we’ve listed some of our favourite examples paving the way to change.
Apple have always been future thinking when it comes to technology, however, by incorporating renewable resources and eco-friendly elements to their flagship retail stores and contemporary new headquarters, they have really started to innovate sustainability within the retail and business industry.
As a step to reducing their carbon footprint and reduce their impact on climate change, Apple have reached a major milestone this year. All of their facilities worldwide – including offices, stores and data centres – are now powered entirely by clean, renewable energy. Along with this, their new headquarters based in Cupertino, California named Apple Park, gets most of its renewable power from onsite solar panels and biogas fuel cells, generating enough energy to provide additional power for the public grid.
Apple have been designing and building their flagship stores across the globe with the outdoors in mind. The London, Regent Street store is a clear example of Apple’s shift towards green spaces, featuring tree-filled planters throughout. The Apple Store in Seattle’s University Village features a miniature garden (a Japanese maple surrounded by ferns) within the centre of the building. The exterior features a green roof, (the roof is essentially hidden by greenery), invisible from ground level. It’s covered with sedum that aims to attract honey bees.
And with Singapore being awarded the greenest city in Asia, Apple clearly wasn’t going to disappoint when they unveiled their most eco-friendly store to date in the heart of the city.
Foster + Partners are the firm behind the design of both the Singapore and London stores. With an abundance of foliage both inside and out, the entire store powers itself. The building is two-stories tall, featuring a 120-foot long all-glass front, further blurring the line between nature and the indoors.
“It breaks down the boundaries between the inside and outside,” stated Steafan Behling, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners.
Achieving an Outstanding rating from Breeam (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), the only building in the capital – and third in the country – to receive such a high rating, PricewaterhouseCoopers is London’s most eco-friendly building. It contains a variety of sustainable new technologies including a tri-generation combined cooling, heat and power system. An open plan interior provides natural light, with roof gardens and green walls contributing to the buildings ecology. During the construction, ninety-five percent of the materials were sourced responsibly, and ninety six percent of construction waste was diverted from landfill.
The Living Planet Centre, WWF
One of the greenest buildings in the UK, the Living Planet Centre is the UK headquarters of WWF. Designed as an interactive and educational experience of WWF’s national and international work, the building was constructed in a cost-effective way that persevered their wildlife conservation funds.
From the beginning, WWF had a clear aim for their centre: to create an environmentally-sensitive building using responsibly-sourced materials. Incorporated elements include natural ventilation, effective insulation and low energy consumption, so that the building itself would essentially contribute to its own energy-efficiency and low-emissions operation. The roof is covered in their substantial array of solar PV panels – covering more than 500 square meters of the roof area.
“WWF is one of the great hopes for the world, and this new building not only enshrines that but projects it to visitors. “It’s a wonderful building.” – Sir David Attenborough.
With worldwide establishments bringing sustainability to their buildings, there are a vast amount of ways to bring eco-friendly elements to your own home.
Introduce plants to your interior
Everyone knows that plants produce oxygen, so bringing them indoors not only brings a sense of organic and natural beauty to your home, but they will also act as a natural filter, filtering out harmful chemicals from the air. Bamboo palm, Weeping Fig, Chinese Evergreen and Aloe Vera are all great plants for detoxifying your air, with the latter a great alternative to soothing cooking burns etc.
Other options to help you introduce foliage into your home could be something on the more aesthetic side, such as Bouquets of Flowers or Bonzi Trees. You could also opt for something more practical such as herbs including Rosemary, Lavender, Mint and Lemon Balm.
Source homeware from sustainable brands
The Natural Collection features quality fair trade, organic and eco-friendly products. Items include Tumblers made from a compound of corn starch, bamboo and other natural fibres, and glasses made by artisans using age-old methods to renew the recycled glass they are made from.
Atelier Neeltje Geurtsen assembles and creates exclusive homeware pieces from the one of a kind Pumpkin Vase to the scenic set of Oxide Pots. Each piece is unique and handmade at their atelier in Arnhem, Nederland.
It’s clear that architecture and interiors that are self-maintaining and eco-friendlier are becoming ever more present, especially within new buildings. Due to there being so many sustainable alternatives, it’s never been easier to add a few of these to your own home and make for an eco-friendlier lifestyle.