5 cool sustainable materials - Grand Designs Magazine

5 cool sustainable materials

Manufacturers all over the world are bringing innovative sustainable building and interiors products to the market. Here are some that might be perfect for your next project...

By Mary Richards |

With eco-friendly consideration high on the list for many people when embarking on a project, doing what’s best for the environment should encompass every choice, down to the materials used throughout. Manufacturers worldwide are bringing new, sustainable building and interiors products to the market; here are some that could be use for your next project.

Recork: cork flooring

Recork’s Una flooring is made from 86% cork from the cork oak forests of Portugal, which are known as the Montado. Cork trees absorb three to five times as much carbon dioxide as other types of trees, and it is estimated that Portuguese cork oak forests help offset 10 million tons of carbon every year. Cork is the bark of the trees, harvested by hand every seven years in a way that doesn’t harm the trees, making cork a very sustainable product.

Most of the cork goes to make corks for bottles. Una flooring is extra sustainable because it is made from a combination of waste cork from the bottle-stopper industry and young, early-harvest cork that isn’t suitable for making bottle stoppers. It’s available in a range of shades £48.60 per m2. Recork also sells some lovely rugs made of cork.

Image credit: Recork

Kebony: softwood that looks like tropical hardwood

Kebony transforms sustainable FSC-certified softwoods, such as pine, into decking and cladding with the mechanical properties of tropical hardwoods. The wood is infused with a bio-based liquid to activate a chemical reaction in the cell walls that makes it dimensionally stable, and then cured with heat. The resulting wood has an increased tolerance for water and does not splinter, which makes for a much longer lifespan. It also contains no toxins or chemicals.

Image credit: Kirsten Ellis for Kebony

Tapi Treadkindly: carpet made from clothing waste and plastic bottles

Tapi’s Treadkindly carpet is made from reclaimed clothing waste and plastic bottles. It’s available in 18 colours in five ranges priced from £22.99 to £29.99 per m2. There’s an underlay, too, also made in Yorkshire using recycled bottles.

Image credit: Tapi

Alusion: honeycomb aluminium sheeting

Alusion is an unusual and beautiful sheet material made by injecting air into molten aluminium. Available with different grades of honeycomb texture, it is made with up to 100% recycled content, and is 100% recyclable. It is available in standard sheets 1220mm x 2440mm, or in custom sizes. It can be used inside out on exterior surfaces to bring a really interesting metallic textured surface.

Image credit: Alusion

Organoid: natural surfaces containing real plants

Image credit: Organoid

Organoid natural surfaces are beautiful wallcoverings and floorings made from natural raw materials like alpine hay, rose petals, lavender stalks. These are applied to various backings including natural flax fleece, high pressure laminates, self-adhesive films, shiny gold paper, white eco fleece, and acoustic wall treatments. The manufacturing process uses bio resins that are up to 100 % biodegradable and free of plasticizers and solvents. The grasses and flowers in the materials retain their colour and even their fragrance. The results are simply stunning, flecked with pressed petals, leaves and seeds. The ultimate in biophilic design that brings beautiful plant life of the Austrian Tyrol into your home.

Image credit: Organoid