Material Questions….

                This week for me the most inspiring and intriguing part of the week was the information presented at the LOLA show. I was impressed by examples of interior design aspect companies that have created cradle to cradle products- that can be used for all spectrums of the industry. Through the reading of the week I was inspired by the questions that should be considered when selecting materials for a project- because this is a key element in material selection currently and if we slightly tweak these questions in the direction of sustainability we will most likely select more environmentally friendly products. An also another key element in this week’s discussion that was intriguing to me was the exploration of chemicals and toxins in products; because other than VOC’s we really haven’t learned much about toxins.

                As far as the products presented in the LOLA show I found three to extremely interesting: Eco by Cosentino, Xorel fabric by Carnegie and the mushroom products by Evocative. Eco was particularly interesting to me because I spent my summer internship at a custom kitchen and bath design company, so I worked with outer counter top materials on a daily basis and learned about the extreme cost and environmental damages of the traditional “granite and marble” counters. While we had other counter top choices for clients that were labeled “green”, Eco out shines those products tremendously in the fact that they actually eliminate landfill waste and use healthier resins- that are also sustainable.  The fabric Xorel by Carnegie was a product that I had never even heard of and also I had no idea was plausible to create. Most intriguing to me about Xorel was the performance factors: a fabric that has “build in” flame retardant, doesn’t fade and has a jaw dropping figure of 1 million double rubs is phenomenal. It also great that such a sustainable and eco-friendly product can be used in the hardest industry to specify materials for- healthcare- and it has a lifetime of at least 30 years.  Last but not least the mushroom products from Ecovative were a phenomenal find. You don’t have to be a designer to know that packaging is an issue and who doesn’t hate boxes backed full of Styrofoam that sticks to everything if it escapes. I had never heard of mushroom products before nor did I have any idea that mushrooms and basic agricultural by products could create such durable/strong packaging that just simply biodegrades. Absolute genius idea in my mind and I really hope that all manufacturers start using this product to package goods- because I could see this being not only an industry changer but also a perfect way to get consumers more involved in sustainable consumption.

                So great products are only great if they are actually used; so how do we promote and encourage use of these amazing products and more importantly how do we encourage these innovative companies to continue to push the boundaries and produce more phenomenal products?  Also a big part of these products being successful is the idea of consumer taking advantage of take back programs; so how do we remind consumers of these programs and actually get them to participate? 

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