sustainable design: grand inspiration from milan design week 2022

in sustainable design

Sustainable development in the design industry is evolving at a promising pace. Today, mindful products and materials meet very different styles, making sustainable innovation an option for nearly every design project.

Let’s get inspired with projects from Milan Design Week 2022 that bring together material research, the reinterpretation of waste as a resource, and a refined to grand style.

interdisciplinary offcuts

Besides being a sustainable choice, repurposing waste coming from a different industry creates an interesting point of contact between disciplines. Objects then become a reminder of the fact that – after all – waste is a single big problem humanity has, and that working together is essential to tackle it.

Hold On is the result of the intersection between fashion waste and product design. Fabric offcuts from the fashion company Simone Wild (opened in a new window/tab) are repurposed by the design studio Haus Otto (opened in a new window/tab) as upholstery for a collection of wall hooks. The hooks double as shallow shelves and add tactility, colour, and interest with their sculptural shape and refined velvet finish.

Textile wall hooks.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Haus Otto (opened in a new window/tab)
Velvet wall hook with an anorak hung on it.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Haus Otto (opened in a new window/tab)
Velvet wall hook doubling as a shallow shelf for papers.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Haus Otto (opened in a new window/tab)

don’t call it kitchen waste

One of the most incredible transformations in sustainable design is that from organic waste to design pieces.

Citrus Peel Wall is a curved and sculptural room divider designed by Matter Matters (opened in a new window/tab). A 3d-printed frame is infilled with thin sheets made with dehydrated citrus peels. The result is a lightweight, porous, and translucent modular screen that adds a subtle tint to the light that shines through it. Hard to believe the raw material is waste!

Room divider made with citrus peels.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Matter Matters (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up view of the screen hit by light.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Matter Matters (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up view of the screen showing its translucency.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Matter Matters (opened in a new window/tab)

from nature to design

Natural materials offer a wealth of design opportunities. From a sustainable development perspective, this moves beyond wood, stone, and what has been traditionally called natural material to include waste as well.

With View 20, Nature Squared (opened in a new window/tab) has showcased an incredible potential, crafting a grand canopy structure entirely out of waste. The woven parts are handmade with abaca leaves, rattan and gold yarns for shine. The columns create a grand and rich design using a mix of reclaimed bamboo and a crushed-eggshell-based material.
This project was inspired by Indian architecture and reproduces the traditional mix of textures, shine, and intricate shapes entirely with waste!

Grand canopy-like structure made with waste.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Nature Squared (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of the intricate shape of the columns.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Nature Squared (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of the intricate finish of the column base.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Nature Squared (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of the structure's textures.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Nature Squared (opened in a new window/tab)

These projects show another face of sustainable design innovation, proving that waste-based materials fit perfectly in luxurious and grand styles too! At this point it’s safe to say that the options are there no matter the style; it’s on us designers to choose them!

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