Over the last few years, design professionals have seen an increased responsibility when it comes to creating beautiful spaces that integrate both sustainability and ethics.
Driven by evolving expectations and demands from consumers, the philosophy of design has changed dramatically, with a growing emphasis on reducing the environmental impact. As a result, interior designers are continuing to position sustainability at the forefront of new projects, overcoming the new and exciting challenges that come with an eco-conscious perspective.
Against this background, the hospitality industry has witnessed the importance of sustainability and the role it plays with their consumer’s decisions. Awareness of carbon footprint and demand for ethically sourced fabrics, such as those woven from plastic ocean waste (which are becoming more widely available), has been seen, particularly in hotels, as environmentally conscious tourists seek out more eco-friendly holidays and experiences.
I see this movement as an unprecedented opportunity for design professionals to become leaders in sustainable and ethical design and pioneer an agenda that is both exciting and innovative.
When I joined leading London design house, Morpheus & Co., our founder Andrew Murray was determined for us to become leaders in the field of sustainable design. Today, we continue to look at ways to steer our projects in more exciting and challenging directions, through careful consideration in our designs. With consumer patterns increasingly focused on environmental impact, we ensure the spaces we create incorporate environmentally conscious elements, such as energy efficiency, as well as accessibility, which is imperative within the hospitality sector.
For every new project we always start with an awareness of our potential carbon footprint and we are very careful to work with suppliers that share our core values. Our ethical approach is reflected in our designs, from the planning stages through to the material selection on each project. We source materials that won’t end up in landfill; where possible, we avoid using heavily pollutant resins, laminates and fabrics, and instead use materials such as bamboo, cork and plant-based natural fibre cements, whilst also thoroughly researching how each of the products we use are produced, to guarantee the lowest level emissions, before sharing a proposal with our client.
For our client, Six Senses Residences Courchevel, we designed and sourced a product that directly benefited education in Ethiopia, using materials from the non-profit Lalibella. The fabrics were handmade by a successful family business, whose mission is empowering and employing marginalised groups, whilst ensuring high quality products. All profits generated went directly to their charitable projects, supporting women artisans and economic growth in Ethiopia.
By handpicking products, upcycling and recycling materials and introducing the latest technology into spaces to minimise carbon footprint, thoughtful, considered design can successfully create high-quality, luxurious spaces for people to enjoy. A great upcycling example at one of our current branded residence projects, saw the introduction of SHIKKUI (an innovative natural Japanese plaster) to promote the air quality in the rooms. SHIKKUI Surface Coatings are a natural lime plaster system for walls and ceilings that achieve a stunning range of traditional and modern finishes, including a full range of Venetian Stucco and stone effects. SHIKKUI coatings are non-toxic and made with up to 50% reprocessed eggshells. What’s more, the coatings are highly porous and naturally antiseptic, so indoor air quality is actively improved for healthier spaces.
At Morpheus & Co, we are seeking to become the leading sustainable design house and, as we embark on more exciting residential and hospitality projects across Europe, and widen our international portfolio, we hope to stand out and set the precedent that will make a lasting difference in the creative world of design.