I have a huge interest in MATERIALS. So much in fact it influenced how I named my company.
I studied Furniture & Product Design in the late 80s / early 90s - that was A LOT about materials (and processes). One of my degree projects was a piece of furniture made from a board material called TECTAN which is recycled post consumer Tetra Pak. It was not only about beauty for me even then. The materials needed to be conscious.
At The Body Shop HQ I was part of the monitoring of materials used in their store design to marry up with their strong ethics and values
- avoid PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
- avoid formaldehyde
- use FSC sustainable timber (Forest Stewardship Council)
- avoid animal products and animal tested paint, minimal VOC content
- reclaimed, reused and recycled materials
- use of Community Trade materials
We all should have a huge interest in materials and increase our awareness. What we use in our spaces is so important to occupant health (that's human AND animal), those in the extraction and production process, those who install them, the lifecycle - use and end of life - leaching and contamination.
Powerful quote is from - Alison Mears - Director, Healthy Materials Lab, at Parsons - The New School
I've still got so much learning to do. And as I said in my last Journal post - that's not going to stop!
I've just completed the four courses that make up the HEALTHY MATERIALS AND SUSTAINABLE BUILDING curriculum at Parson's The New School which I've been studying since January. The people behind their EXCELLENT Materials Lab have created this excellent and broad-ranging course for those involved in the Built Environment. It identifies Chemicals and Materials of concern, how to avoid them in clients projects, what tools can be used - certifications and labels, what frameworks exist and the difference between them, how project teams can collaborate and execute healthier projects, how they are maintained and monitored to continue to be healthier and better spaces for our clients.
My specifications will be improved after this!
I really recommend it to my industry colleagues.