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The Alternative Blog

Our first guest blogger is Oliver Heath, TV presenter, eco designer, architect and founder of Heath Design Here he shares his insights into ethical and sustainable design.

Eco Interiors are growing up …

The world of design seems to have changed a lot since I first started thinking about and creating eco interiors 14 years ago – not least of all that we now have the wonderful world of blogging to tell the world of what we are thinking and creating!

Back then it was all we could do to ensure that the products we used and specified came from a good place – be it recycled, non toxic or sustainably sourced. Style and aesthetics were almost dirty words but for me a real aspiration, and it was a right old challenge to make disparate, but functional products work together.

As an architecturally trained designer I’m always balancing the “form vs function” ideology. What good is a dining chair if it looks good but is uncomfortable, and buckles under weight? Equally what if it’s sturdily made but looks like it belongs in a fast food joint? Neither work for me.

The perfect chair is a considered combination of form as well as function. Or rather it was until we started having to consider the environmental impact of the spaces and buildings that we create, as well as the aesthetics and purpose of the design.

So now we need to throw in the added element that the chair should have a good provenance – that it’s well made, in good working conditions, from sustainable materials, and can bio degrade or be recycled at the end of its useful life.

It’s a tough call but it is getting easier all the time.  Pulling together the practical requirements, the environmental provenance and getting the “ooooh” factor from my clients in one hit is what I’m after.

Good, beautiful design has the ability to cause an emotional response from us, to get us excited, and I would argue that it is an essential part of sustainable design. Our interiors should be practical, should be sustainable, and should be beautiful. It’s as simple and essential as that.

When I was asked to write this first blog for Alternative I was happy to do it, as it’s a brand I believe shares these same design values. I’m a big fan of their Quirky range – and you have to admire their daring to stick their necks out with a product that has such colour, pattern and character. It’s an ambitious leap, and from what I can see, this approach is certainly paying off.

It’s all part of what I see as sustainable design growing up. It’s accepting that as human beings we are emotionally led, and by keying into this simple aesthetic need we can help drive a more environmental approach to creating better places to live in.

Now all we need to do is tell the world – to create spaces that are better for us, better for our environment and beautiful to live in. Thank goodness we have blogs to help us out!

Oliver Heath, Heath Design Ltd.
2nd Floor, 
37 Ship Street, 

Tel: +44 (0) 1273 326031  

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