In an industry constantly pursuing innovative design that is both environmentally and ethically sound, the implementation of raw materials is directing interior design in 2013.
Natural materials are being sourced and taking on new forms as designers reinvent familiar items with sustainable credentials.
It is estimated that over 40 per cent of waste sent to Australian landfill comes from building activities. This startling figure has encouraged the industry to move toward using a few raw materials for a maximum design effect.
Raw materials also allow designers, builders and building owners to hold onto the history of an item. This back to basics approach sees intelligent materials take on new function, beauty and style as designers work toward zero waste.
Timber is considered one of the most eco-friendly materials when it is derived from a certified sustainable plantation. Timbers are being stripped down and repurposed into something new, beautiful and useful.
Pacific Floors in Melbourne stocks products from Exquisite Surfaces, an innovative timber company reclaiming antique French Oak timbers from old European chalets and stripping them back to reveal a raw and vintage finish.
The timber surface is not polished or varnished and smoothing is kept to a minimum. This movement in flooring is proving to be quite popular as the each piece of timber adds character through its natural elements.
While the earthy colours of timber will always be favourable, 2013 will see designers experiment with stone and smoky grey colours as well.
In one of Australia’s “smartest” design projects, an Armidale home completed by Kylie Mitchell Designs in 2012 featured concrete floors that used a dark grey oxide to increase its capacity to absorb heat to act as a thermal mass.
Organic concrete is a new material that challenges previous notions suggesting that concrete traps water and retains humidity.
Developed by a Spanish designer, organic concrete is now being widely used in vertical gardening as it has the ability to grow plants.
Recycled materials including steel, iron and brass are finding their way on bespoke lighting pieces, wall structures and furniture. From simple patterns to unique-to-touch textures, metals are being welded into sophisticated furniture pieces and are becoming a popular material for 3D wall tiles and decorative art pieces.
This raw appeal in design will continue to reduce carbon footprints across the design industry and offer ethical material choices.