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Times are changing. As we embark on our journey into a new decade it feels right to take stock to see where we are in our efforts to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. While we may not have reached the destination we had in mind, the Netherlands are leading the charge in creating more sustainable and eco-friendly spaces and giving consumers sustainable options when it comes to homeware.

How can we protect our natural resources

Progress is made everywhere around us and at the moment it is mainly driven by the need to protect the Earth’s natural resources. Take some of the initiatives to reduce the amount of plastics that we use for example. The Dutch Plastic Whale Foundation has been cleaning up beaches for a while now and recently they have put their focus on the Amsterdam Canals. From the waste materials they collect they have made a collection of furniture. You can now own a Whale Tale chair that contains amongst other waste materials 67 recycled PET bottles.

The initiatives to update our homes and offices with eco-friendly innovations can be seen everywhere. Another Dutch company, Physee, has made fantastic progress in developing smart windows. Through a combination of solar cells and sensors they create enough energy to ‘fuel’ our heating and aircon, reducing the dependence on traditional resources.

Closer to home we’re also tracking the development of IKEA’s air-purifying curtains, coated with a mineral-based surface that breaks down common pollutants. The surface of the curtain is treated with a photocatalyst mineral that causes air pollution to break down when light shines through it, allowing us to purify the air in our homes. A similar initiative is underway in the decorative paint category where Sigma Air Pure also uses a technology that filters and neutralises molecules. Quite literally a fresh coat of paint for the home.

Why is it important to protect natural resources?

Clean air in and around the home is one of the challenges for 2020 and beyond, that we did not necessarily foresee when we were predicting the future years ago. And apart from fulfilling a basic need to stay healthy it can also help make our surroundings more beautiful. Another Dutch company, MOSS, are on to this by looking at how to make spaces more sustainable. Introducing living green walls, office landscaping and indoor urban farming.

As we move forward into a new decade, we will see more established brands and entrepreneurs create innovations that deliver an eco-friendly, feel-good factor. Giving us a reason to buy into their products beyond the function they provide. To do this they will have to re-design their business model and think laterally about the way they get to their products.

A nice example of this is the In4nite II project where design studio Joris de Groot examined the various techniques that are applied in the manufacturing of car interiors and translated this into a collection of shoes. The result is a range of stylish footwear that is more durable as well as sustainable. Great thinking that brings us one step closer to a bright future.

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ISSUE 08

We Just Can't Carry On Like This