The "new" sustainability for environmentally conciencious design

 I occasionally ponder what it has taken to produce an item in my home. All the processes, electricity, petroleum, chemicals, plant products and water to make plastic, chip board, material, paper, metal or glass. How the raw materials are then transported to another factory using more petrol. How it is then converted to the final product with goodness knows how many more steps.  Then what was required to transport the item to the shop where I purchased it?  Was there a plane, a boat, trucks or trains involved?  It is quite mind boggling especially when you consider this for every item in your house! Then on the flip side… what happens when these things break, are no longer needed or wanted? 

In our modern day society, there is so much cheap and easy consumerism available to us at only a click away that it is so easy to forget the impact on our environment that every choice and purchase we make has.   Back in the day when purchasing quality over quantity was the norm, the high volume of imported, low quality and low priced home wares were just not available. Businesses relied on their reputation and the quality of their goods to succeed. Couples when setting up home together were gifted hand me downs (my Mum still has and uses her hand me down Kenwood mixer!) and purchased second hand or quality pieces to fill in the holes.  These items were only replaced when they couldn't be mended and thrown out when then couldn't be re-purposed. It is my intention to bring this philosophy of quality, thriftiness, permanency and environmentally conscientious design into our business, home and everything that goes in it. 

 What I am calling the ‘new’ sustainability seems to be entering our collective consciousness just as green bags, black balloons and not being wally's with water did. Consumers are conscientiously purchasing things that are quality and made to last to reduce the need to produce more items to replace it and the broken or no longer wanted items ending up in land fill. Home owners and those in the design trade are thinking long term by using solid, well made and malleable pieces as the foundation and the on trend colors, patterns and shapes within the smaller items such as pillows, throws, artwork and lighting to round out the design.

 I was blessed to witness a presentation from Michelle Greene of Pure Greene interiors that cemented my thoughts about the interior design of my home and how to make it sustainable. That is to purchase quality rather than quantity, buy only what you LOVE rather than just like and find items that have multiple purposes.  A beautiful bowl that can be used a decorative piece, a vase or a serving platter. That you create your home around what is important to you and your family not what is on trend.  In this way, the décor of your home evolves with you rather than needs an overhaul when the next trend comes in. You take aspects you love from what’s in and make it your own and only if you need it... 


Alison Collins is the Co-Owner of Bombora Custom Furniture and in charge of all things other than making furniture!