These days, it is common to see the buzzwords “organic” and “natural” almost everywhere you look. Cost and ease of access used to be a priority, but nowadays, more and more consumers are focused on quality and how products affect the environment and their own health. Just as for food and clothes, the relevance of natural ingredients in other consumer goods is increasing.
Many consumers have taken it upon themselves to make their own skincare, makeup and even cleaning products at home to ensure they know exactly what is in the products that they are using. Organic and natural ingredients are sought after as there is a push to eliminate the artificial and toxic ones. While it may be considered a trend to some, consumers are taking on more responsibility for the products that they purchase and the market is certainly responding. This shift has many benefits for both our health and nature, while we are provided with high-performing materials that are hard, if not impossible to copy. Let us now take a look at the development of the furniture industry.
As there are so many products on the market, it is important to start out by identifying what is and what contains truly natural materials. A natural material is, by definition, a product that comes directly from plants, the ground or animals or a mineral or metal that is extracted directly from them. A natural material could be a biotic material (i.e. wood, natural fibre), inorganic material (stone, composites, native metal), or other form such as pure soil. A home design that incorporates marble, metals and wood, for example, is one that focuses greatly on incorporating natural elements into the home.
While natural materials offer a source of organic grounding, there are also many advantages to using them. For example, there is nothing like looking at a marble countertop. It looks beautiful, offers depth/colour and is very durable; it is a beauty straight from nature. Since it is a natural material, the quality is also extremely high. As Robert Ritchie, a materials scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said, “Biological materials have multiple scales, six or seven or eight levels where characteristic structure of that dimension [emerge].” Though this may result in a higher upfront cost, it is worth the investment as the product lasts much longer and ends up costing less then purchasing and re-purchasing those made of synthetic materials.
Playing with metals, marble and wood gives you the opportunity to use materials created straight from nature to use one-of-a-kind textures, shapes and colours. In any marble slab or custom wood piece, you will never see the exact same grain and design. You can draw creativity and inspiration from the materials you are working with and pick out other excellent pieces designed by furniture designers who are inspired from nature, as well.
Unopiù, for instance, is a company that uses natural materials including wood, fibres, metals and stone to create its luxury garden furniture. Unopiù’s products are created locally near Rome (Italy) and the furniture pieces have a very specific note, since they are produced from local materials. For example, they used travertine for tables (Table Thor and Table Mirto) for this year’s collection. And it’s exactly travertine to be one of the most characteristic natural materials of the area since Ancient Roman times. If you are looking to incorporate natural elements into your home, it is now very common for companies that cherish natural materials, such as Unopiù, to allow clients to feel the materials and be a part of the process.
Home living sees many trends and changes, but this commitment to buy natural and organic elements is going to benefit your home design, wallet and our environment all in one.
Words by Mary Davies
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