How important is sustainable design to you? Where do you see recycled materials moving in interior design in the future?
Sustainable design is important to us if it is important to our client. We are very client driven, so if this is important to them and what they want to achieve, than we will use everything in our arsenal to see that this plays a role in the concept and design of a project. I try to use existing materials in a new way when we tackle a new project so as to not always build new, but this is not always possible. Sustainability is not our "calling card", so to speak, but it was really satisfying to embrace it the way we did for this particular Levi's store.
That being said, I believe that sustainability is important for the future, although it doesn't necessarily have to be as obvious as it was in this store. What is required by the Interior Architect is deep product and material knowledge, which I feel we have and constantly build on, to develop sustainable retail ideas that don't lose their power or impact for the client. I mean, for so long, sustainability meant FSB chipboard and recycled rubber flooring (amongst other things)...You would walk in a shop and go " wow, this is environmentally friendly`" That is not the future for me.
The future is creating a retail environment with great textures and materials and surfaces with no apparent "environmental friendliness", only to find out that 70% of it is reused or has no carbon footprint and the other 30% came from a store down the street that was demolished. This takes more work and more thinking, but it is the responsibility of the designer and can be ultimately very fulfilling if it succeeds. Almost every material today has a sustainable "cousin" that at its best, is a dead ringer for the "non sustainable" variant or at its least can evoke the look, feel and archetype of the "non sustainable" original. Again, it's out there, you just have to want to find it and learn about it.
Finally, what is your personal favorite part of the shop?
The upstairs denim floor. It has done away with the outdated denim wall and placed this product at a much friendlier and accessible level. Denim is very much about feel and color and texture and this allows the consumer to interact with the staff on a one to one basis and in a very intimate way over their jeans. It's working and innovative, or "rule-breaking", design that works that puts a smile on my face.