Design Star exhibit shows us how to make an entire room healthful and sustainable
An old church pew becomes a bookcase. Recycled wood chips are turned into a desktop. All items and finishes in the room are proven to have low or no chemical emissions, and the electronic devises are energy-efficient.
While we talk daily about “green” products on this website, it takes more than one “green” product to create a “green” room or building – a point many are missing in their enthusiasm to use products that are better for human health, and the health of the planet. Cincinnati interior designer A. Maris Bernard is not guilty of this oversight.
Her “Environmentally Eclectic Office,” part of the DesignStar series now on display at the Art Design Consultants gallery downtown, shows us how to do sustainable design correctly.
“This space uses products and materials that are reused, repurposed, recycled and reclaimed,” she says. “They bring embodied energy to new and exciting spaces that challenge our perceptions of the built environment.”
This does not mean everything in the room is old. The contemporary desktop, supplied by Greener Stock, is made from recycled wood chips and non-hazardous acrylic polymer. The base of the table is reused. The adjacent mobile table, also newly constructed, is made of fiberboard scraps from a large bookcase project.
The rug, also new, is 100-percent natural wool.
The file cabinet and corner bar table and stools have GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification for low-emitting materials. The desk chair, made from recycled materials, is VOC- (Volatile Organic Compound) and PVC- (Poly Vinyl Chloride) free. And the blue walls are painted with zero-VOC Harmony from Sherwin Williams. And the artwork behind the desk, by Artist Marti Niemscyk, uses found objects on recycled paper. Pottery and decorative items throughout the room are from consignment shops.
Bernard, a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional), also incorporates attention-getting use of antique and refurbished items. My favorite is the 1860’s church pew that is used as a bookcase. There’s also a wood mantle from a demolished building and a decorative window taken from a demolished greenhouse.
A refurbished Martha Washington Chair contains 100-percent recycled polyester content and an upholstered chair in the corner contains foam with no fluorocarbon content.
That these items sit on a stained, horizontal-grain bamboo floor is a coincidence. The floor preexisted in the space, selected by Litsa Spanos, owner of the gallery. Because the bamboo floor is stained, it goes with virtually any décor – a good thing because the space is redecorated regularly as part of the gallery’s Design Star series.
A. Maris Bernard’s “Environmentally Eclectic Office” is on display until July 1, 2011 at Art Design Consultants, Inc., 310 Culvert St., Cincinnati, OH.
– Nancy Kibbee is Editor at www.naturalinteriors.com.