Sustainability ideas inspire the Roger Lewis collection

Few businesses are in any doubt that reducing negative impact is fundamental to their strategic forecasting, but that doesn’t make the task easy. Striking a balance between functionality, aesthetic and sustainability presents product designers with a complex matrix of often competing needs.

Resolving these tensions is especially acute in the furniture industry, where the lifespan of the average sofa is well into double-digits before it is usually consigned to landfill. Curating collections that deliver durability, with options to repair and repurpose, based on circularity principles and other sustainable manufacturing approaches, is becoming intrinsic to the decision-making process.

“The industry is embracing recycled materials at a great pace,” says Marc Richard, Roger Lewis’ Managing Director. “We’re seeing advancements in material science emerging all the time.”

Inspiring a new, sustainably designed collection

Seeking out materials with high-sustainability values has been a major push for Marc and the Roger Lewis team. Their efforts have come to life with the launch of last year’s collection, which is fully customisable.

Marc explains: “We’ve worked with some incredible manufacturers from wood suppliers to pioneering fabric producers. The latest ranges showcases some of the best products we have found, but the search never stops, and we will continue to evolve our ranges as the technology develops.”

Designed by Roger Lewis’ in-house team, the newest products offer a contemporary aesthetic drawing on some of the latest developments in sustainable materials. When shooting these products last year instead of conventional fabrics, the team chose some more sustainable fabrics to upholster the pieces in. The Kenmare Cosy sofa used a PET recycled weave made entirely from waste plastic bottles. Produced by Kirkby Design, approximately thirty-five 1.5-litre bottles are used to make one meter of fabric. Kirby Design has also pledged to support the Marine Conservation Society’s projects, helping to protect “seas, shores and wildlife”. Kvadrat’s Re-wool fabric also featured in the photoshoot and is designed around circularity principles with 45% of the finished material coming from recycled wool. Other highlights include a vegan faux leather from Cristina Marrone, as seen on the Braye pouffe.

The sustainability focus continues with two bed designs – Lundy and Harlyn, which both feature FSC European Redwood construction throughout, including suspension slats. Lundy is 100% recyclable and is available in three wooden finishes with bespoke finishes available for larger quantities. In addition, the material used on the Harlyn bed design is Hemp Oat, woven from a blend of wool and hemp by Camira Fabrics and is certified to the EU Ecolabel.

A resilient business model

David Chenery, Director at interior architecture and design company Object Space Place, sees growing demand for sustainably produced furniture, especially in hospitality.

He explains: “Businesses want to create a resilient model and you cannot do this without engaging with questions of sustainability. The demolition, construction and fitout industry are big contributors of carbon and waste within our economy, and we need to find ways to decarbonise this sector. A typical building may be fitted out 20-30 times in its lifespan and the embodied carbon of those will likely exceed that of the architectural building.”

He adds: “The best venues are realising this and taking steps like measuring their carbon footprint, repairing, and remanufacturing elements they already have, using recycled materials and designing for future flexibility. And importantly, they are looking for forward thinking suppliers that can support this mission.”

Chenery is excited about the pipeline of innovations being developed across the industry. “There are almost too many to mention,” he says, but highlights a few to watch:

“On the materials front, C2C certified paints from Graphenestone, StoneCycling’s WasteBasedBricks and Pineapple leather from Pinatex are very interesting. On the lighting side, mycelium pendant lamps from and the SkinFlint Full Circle buy-back scheme both look to be exciting initiatives.” To find out more about the new range or receive samples, drop us a line

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