I didn’t necessarily have a grand, earth-shattering epiphany, but I’m slowly starting to understand that sustainability is pretty relative and can really change your perception on how things are made, distributed, used, and disposed.
Learning that natural fibers aren’t always as sustainable was eye opening and surprising, but also made a lot of sense. If anything, I was more surprised that I didn’t piece things together in the first place. But as a future Interior Designer, it also made me feel a lot better using some of the synthetics because the industry tends to lead more towards synthetics for durability, price, and industry standard. However, as Materials Maze mentions, sustainable products do not mean lower quality, which just makes me happy. So there’s pretty much no excuse to NOT be sustainable, it’s just that what is sustainable might actually shock you. If you go by the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) you should be solid on making the right choice for your design.
So yeah, Environmental Trade-Offs are totally a thing. And natural isn’t always best, believe it or not. It was really important to read this and it is very significant to our learning, because what if we had always specified certain products due to how “natural” they were, when really they were causing just as much damage to the environment (past, present, and future) as the synthetic that is more durable, won’t have to be replaced sooner like the natural product, and that costs a lot less. Being sustainable is extremely important, but so is being smart.
I think it would be interesting to see some applications of this concept in actual designed spaces. Seeing the research and the actual fruition of the study would be a great learning