How to furnish a house in a sustainable way
The themes of sustainability and respect for the environment have been of interest to interior designers, architects and clients since the 1970s. Living in sustainable spaces and furnishing in a way that keeps the impact on the ecosystem to a minimum is now a priority. Between traditional materials, innovative solutions and creative ideas, it is possible to realise extraordinary furnishing projects that guarantee comfort, elegance and zero impact.
Sustainable furniture and respecting the cycle of nature
Sustainable furniture designs are inspired by nature and its exceptional capacity for regeneration. In homes and workplaces, furniture is made from natural materials: from wood and glass to plant fibres such as cotton, linen and jute. There is also no shortage of design objects made from waste materials, such as upholstery made from old fabrics or objects made from stone waste.
To live in a truly sustainable environment, it is not enough to choose wooden furniture or cotton home textiles. The origin of the materials and how they have been treated are also decisive in determining their actual impact on the environment.
In a home where the furnishings are inspired by the principles of sustainability and eco-compatibility, wooden furniture and floors must be treated with natural glues and paints, without the addition of synthetic substances which, once released into the environment, can pollute the soil or water.
Renewed awareness of these issues has also led to a revival of traditional treatments devised in the past by craftsmen and expert woodworkers. One example is the Japanese technique of shuosugiban, also known as yakisugi, which consists of treating wood with fire. Burning the surface of the wood planks makes the material more resistant to moisture, fire itself, insect and pest attack and increases its durability.
In zero impact houses the amount of plastic is reduced to a minimum. In some ways, the eco-design philosophy is a bit of a return to the past, with the rediscovery of materials that were perhaps too hastily cast aside and replaced by plastic. In the kitchen, for example, there is a rediscovery of the qualities of glass and ceramics for everyday objects and decorative elements. From vases used for flowers and plants to jugs used for drinks, food and spice containers, the use of glass and ceramics fills the most avant-garde kitchens with colour and style.
In addition to assessing the quality and origin of the different materials, when choosing furniture, an eco-design project should also consider how the different elements of the furniture can be reused at the end of their life cycle.
Reuse and recycle for zero impact furniture
Reuse and recycle are two key concepts for anyone who wants to live in sustainable spaces. These two concepts can be interpreted and declined in many ways, even original ones. For example, you can decide to furnish your home with retro furniture and objects that would otherwise have become waste. But you can also create personalised furniture or accessories using recycled materials in a creative way.
Design chandeliers obtained by reusing old bicycle wheels, outdoor tables made from pallets, bookcases created with wooden boxes are just some of the infinite possibilities of creative reuse of sustainable and easily accessible materials.
The idea is to be able to imagine new possible and original applications for objects and materials. In eco-design, ethics and aesthetics come together to create innovative projects that are in harmony with the environment and in line with the wishes and tastes of people living in their homes.
Design with low environmental impact also involves lighting choices. Opting for low energy consumption lamps reduces energy wastage without negative consequences on the well-being and quality of life of the environment. The same reasoning applies to home energy efficiency management systems. Installing a small domestic solar system to produce electricity and hot water for sanitary use is another way to make household activities more sustainable.
By reducing energy consumption and finding solutions based on essentiality and functionality, it is possible to furnish any type of environment in a sustainable way, adapting it to the styles and preferences of those who have to live or work in it.
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Il Piccolo is a luxury joinery, specialised in interior design. We are a recognized brand, spokesman of the made in Italy all over the world.
For over 50 years, we have been serving the most demanding clients and the most innovative designers. We are reliable interpreters of the projects of architecture studios, which we work alongside as consultants on the latest in industrial design and as scouts for unique pieces to be included in furnishings, from modern antiques to contemporary art.
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