Harding & Read’s Legacy Lounge – House & Garden’s VIP space at Decorex 2019
The issue of sustainability can feel daunting. So fundamental, complex and overwhelming, it can numb us into a state of paralysis. What is more, in the interior design world, we are often in the business of fueling consumption and we are unlikely to be able to consume our way towards greater sustainability. However, our position as super consumers and influencers gives us an opportunity – to be a force for good and to inspire change.
We have the imagination to do things differently and the ability to make the better choices aspirational. We can champion those around us who are already leading the way and use our significant purchasing power to prompt other suppliers to act responsibly. We can also become more thoughtful about how to nurture a positive, sustainable dynamic between environmental, economic and social needs for future generations.
Hence our choice of name for this years lounge: Legacy. Designing the lounge created an opportunity to ask questions of ourselves about how we do things and recognise the people around us who are moving in the right direction. A chance to talk about what we have inherited, the bad and the good, and make a plan for what we will leave behind.
So, in collaboration with Vinterior, Farrow & Ball and British Standard we hope to have created a space that illustrates how sustainable design practice can work hand in glove with beautiful design.
Everything in the lounge is for sale by on-line charity auction, raising money for Emmaus. Their vision is of a world where everyone has somewhere to live and a sense of belonging – an ambition close to the hearts of those of us in the business of creating homes.
We are really into stories. We are driven by the personal story of each client, and the backstory of the objects that make up their home. We strive to understand each ingredient our clients are going to be living alongside and work hard to find pieces that resonate with them. These pieces needn’t be expensive, but they do have to have to be thoughtful and meaningful. The quality, provenance and relevance of each piece determines whether a piece will become a legacy item – of indefinite use and worthy of handing down.
Our approach to interiors rejects today’s impulsive, disposable culture, which fuels over-consumption and waste. It is a mindset that we hope to have demonstrated in this year’s legacy lounge – an immersive experience of our inherently sustainable approach to interiors.
This is an approach that echoes the “buy once, buy well” philosophy of British Standard, whose kitchen cabinetry forms the bar area of the lounge. Plain English Design Director, Merlin Wright explains: “We firmly subscribe to the view that one should buy better and fewer things. As with our bespoke kitchens, our off-the-peg cupboards are of timeless design, built to last indefinitely out of materials that age well.” The cabinetry is paired with a reclaimed iroko worktop from Retrouvius who, have set an industry gold-standard for sustainable design, by making repurposed pieces aspirational. Elsewhere, handmade, hand-painted delft tiles have been supplied by Douglas Watson, who has reworked reject tiles that would otherwise have become waste.
Antiques from different periods are used throughout the space, sourced via the online platform, Vinterior. Re-using things is just about the most responsible thing we can do, the Vinterior platform makes that easy and affordable for all. The lounge showcases how even low value pieces are often well made and lend atmosphere and a sense of history to a space.
Whilst antiques add soul to our spaces, textiles, lighting, and artwork creates a comfortable, contemporary atmosphere. Colour is key to this and the striking combinations of modern green and dark mahogany hues in the lounge is achieved with paint supplied by Farrow & Ball, a company with impeccable green credentials. The artwork for the space has been curated with Branch Arts and much of the decorative lighting is by Rosi de Ruig.
The antique dealer and maker, Matthew Cox, has supplied three furniture pieces for the lounge, including the kitchen island and the central “legacy table”, an impressively simple design crafted from offcuts by his team of apprentices. It’s a piece that remains affordable, whilst keeping craftsmanship alive. Guests will also be able to recline in chairs provided by the renowned antique dealer and maker, Christopher Howe, who intimately understands his honourable supply chain and carbon off-sets any products that are shipped from overseas.
Rugs come courtesy of our long-term collaborator, Christine Van Der Hurd. Christine has been in the business of making carpets for a really long time. Over that period she has built up relationships with making communities in Nepal and India. The work that she gives them keeps their craft alive. As a result, the items we buy from Vanderhurd come with an understanding that the client is playing a part in something good.
The subject of sustainability has been bandied around so much, it can feel overwhelming. It helps to realise that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In fact, that approach isn’t helpful because the fear of being seen to get something wrong gets in the way of doing anything at all. We intend to do the best job we can and learn lots along the way. There will be times when we can’t do things as well as we want and we will get things wrong, but we absolutely have to give it a go.