SPOTTED – sustainable product design at New Designers 2016… pt2

On Tuesday, we started our pick of the best sustainable design we spotted at the recent graduate design show New Designers – and with over 3,000 exhibitors showing their work it was no mean feat to select our favourite. Tuesday saw our pick of the ‘different materials’ projects, where the designers have rethought a waste material into something new. Today, we are looking at ‘recycling and repair’…

Starting at the University of Brighton’s 3D Design and Craft stand, we were delighted to see a really interesting mix of well thought out projects, finished beautifully.

Helen Jones 5

The work of Helen Jones, entitled ‘Alternate Endings’ looked to challenge the throwaway culture we have, and endeavours to reinstate the value of a product with visible repair.

Helen Jones 2

The range of products shown were really beautiful – from plastic repairs to ceramic and metal restorations. A very poetic and powerful set of pieces.

Helen Jones 3

Also on the University of Brighton stand was the work of Ella Hetheringon, who immediately had us hooked with her investigations into ‘Forgotten and Future Foods’.

Ella Hetherington 1

Looking into how we could both eat sustainably whilst connecting with the seasons, Ella also created tools made from site specific materials. The marine plastic handled knives were a real thing of beauty…

Ella Hetherington 2

Whilst the detailing on the folded leather bowls was delicate and considered. A very nice set of works indeed.

Moving onto plastics, there were two recycled plastic projects which really stood out for us this year – and interestingly, both won New Designers Awards too. Is this a sustainable shift we see?

Jack Hubery 4

First up is the work of Jack Hubery, who tackled the issues with our obsessions with plastic by creating a kit system to allow people to reuse their own plastics at home.

Jack Hubery 3

The ‘Experiments in Recycled Plastic’ created a series of recycled plastic plates, made using a simple jig that fitted in a domestic oven. Would this type of plastic reuse increase the emotional connectivity with the material and encourage a more sustainable use of plastic? An interesting set of pieces for sure.

In a similar vein, Josh James from the University of West England was also using recycled plastic, with another ‘kit’ to allow plastic reuse at home.

Josh James 1

The pieces had a very appealing, sweetie style aesthetic, with colours and effects marbeled through both the geometrically moulded final products and the nuggets of sample combinations. We particularly liked the illustration of how much material went into a piece.

Josh James 2

And after winning the Not On the High Street Award, we will keep our eyes open for perhaps some bespoke recycled plastic pieces online soon…

So there we have it. Our top eight designers spotted at New Designers 2016 who were doing something sustainable and interesting. We look forward to seeing what they get up to next, and here’s hoping that we will have far more to cover next year.

(all images by claire potter)

SPOTTED – KORXX cork building blocks…

Many of us have really fond memories of using building blocks as children. I would love to think that my architectural profession grew from using said wooden blocks as a tiddler, but in reality I was mostly concerned with building a tower taller or more complex than my brother. Healthy competition. But, wooden building blocks, whilst being robust and traditional can actually be quite heavy – or very damaging if thrown. They also hurt like blazes if you stand on them (which I did with my nephews) with nothing on your feet… So, we were very interested to see the KORXX cork building blocks on Kickstarter…

KORXX brings fun by testing the limits

Looking like beautiful chunks of Wheetabix, the KORXX cork building blocks are constructed from dense, yet soft cork which is FSC registered. And, cork is a very sustainable choice, as the Cork Oak needs harvesting of it’s outer bark every few years to flourish. If harvested sustainably, the Cork Oaks can live to well over 200 years old, can be harvested 20 or so times and can bind in up to 30% more CO2 than many other trees. They are pretty much the stars of the sustainable natural material world.

The cork also has a quality of friction that the standard wooden building block just does not have, so structures that literally cling to one another are possible.

Incredible construction characteristic

The KORXX cork building blocks also come in a variety of child-safe, non-toxic colours, just like their timber counterparts, but we quite like the natural finish. We do like Weetabix though.

KORXX Rainbow

A lovely little project that is up for backing now – check our the KORXX Kickstarter page here.

(images via the KORXX Kickstarter)

The Buster LED Bulb shines bright at Salone del Mobile…

It goes rather without saying that we are huge advocates of the LED bulb in our interior schemes, but until very recently there has been rather a lack of good looking LED bulbs on the market. This can be a problem, especially with the bare bulb trend that is continuing in many designs, from retail and bar design to industrial styled residential spaces. So, we were delighted when we heard about the rather lovely Buster LED bulb by London based design studio Buster + Punch. And when we were in Milan for the Salone del Mobile, we went and said hello…

Buster and Punch chandelier

Heralded as the ‘world’s first designer LED bulb’ the Buster bulb comes in three different colour varieties – crystal, gold and smoked – and looks stunning.

BUSTER BULB_HERO

‘With the design, we wanted to achieve two things. The first was, quite simply, to make LED sexy. The second was to create a more useful light bulb that would give off both an ambient warm glow and a focused spot light – something never achieved by a single light bulb before.’

And this is exactly what the Buster LED bulb does – it looks amazing and works wonderfully, with the clear resin central tube transferring and diffusing the light through the very classic teardrop shaped bulb. It is also a direct replacement for the standard incandescent bulbs, is dimmable and consumes 1/20th of the power of the traditional bulb. Plus, each bulb is a very reasonable £40 or so each.

BUSTER + PUNCH _ DETAILS

‘Buster + Punch are a small independant company that make things, so when we decided to take on the challenge to build the world’s first designer LED bulb people thought we were mad! – Clearly there was a 99% chance that one of the bigger guys would beat us to it.

As I sit here today writing this, we all feel a massive sense of pride, not just becuase we managed to build what we think is a great looking piece of design, but because this simple light bulb might just help the everyman save a little bit of money and help the environment at the same time. It could only be a small shift, but hopefully we can finally get people looking at eco-efficient design in a different light’ says Massimo Buster Minale – Founder & Co-Designer.

Buster LED bulb

And this is key – ‘eco’ or ‘green’ or ‘energy efficient’ design does not need to mean that is does not look great. They are not mutually exclusive terms. They can co-exist – and the more designers that realise this the better.

Well done Buster + Punch.

(photos by claire potter and images courtesy of Buster + Punch)

Easter gift idea – a membership to the Heritage Seed Library…

Before anyone says anything – we are huge fans of chocolate, especially the organic loveliness from Montezumas in Brighton, but we had a thought about what else we would love to give people as a gift this Easter break. With the front of the studio literally springing up before our eyes, the soil warming nicely and the seed packages mounting up, we will be giving the gift of heritage growing – with memberships to the Heritage Seed Library from Garden Organic.

We are very proud to be members, with our annual subs of £18 going towards conserving vegetable types which are not commercially available any more. Some are UK varieties, some from further afield, but the HSL ensures that these varieties are not being lost forever… Plus, as part of our membership – as well as the warm fuzzy feeling of doing something good, we also get to pick six different varieties from the library each December to grow ourselves.

From purple carrots to purple beans and even long lost fruits such as the triffid like Achocha, we have had the joy (and sometimes despair) of growing over the past ten years or so. Plus, there is nothing quite like putting a variety into the summer village show that has not been seen for a few years, if at all.

So, if you have someone that is green fingered and not a huge fan of chocolate, perhaps a membership to the Heritage Seed Library could be in order?

(images via the HSL)

industrial interior design or on trend, eco and simple?

Often, when people find out that we are ‘eco interior architects’, they ask exactly what that means. Do we only use natural materials? Do we use reclaimed materials? Do we have a particular look? The answer varies, but the general consensus is ‘sometimes’. We do use a huge amount of natural materials and specialise in using reclaimed pieces, and whilst our style is very particular to the studio (a general honest, slightly industrial look) it depends hugely on what our client requires. But, the ongoing trend for ‘industrial’ styled spaces tends to lean towards the use of honest, raw, yet highly precise materials.

Designing a Modern Fast Food Restaurant

One such example of this type of interior is with the new fast food restaurant, ‘Simple’ in central Kiev. This innovative restaurant was given a complete identity and interior design by Ukrainian based Brandon Agency, who stuck to the use of organic materials such as plywood, kraft paper and machined timber to create a simple and unified scheme.

brandon-agency-simple-restaurant-8

With the ubiquitous grey (of which we are massive fans…) there is a good balance between the white brick and the green of the plants – another essential ingredient in the stereotypical ‘eco’ interior, which creates a fresh and welcoming, if slightly hipstery space. The design is thorough and beautifully balanced and fits the branding and ethos of the company – simple – very well.

Now, we are fully aware that even though eco interiors can be created in any style, this is the type of project which has come to represent the genre. This is great whilst the grey / green / timber space is being welcomed, but we are pretty keen to break down a myth that perhaps all eco interiors look like this. Many projects that may not be seen as an ‘eco’ interior on the face are actually very responsibly sourced and specified, so if you do not see wood and plants, it does not necessarily mean that it is not an eco interior.

Sometimes you have to scratch the surface a bit…

(images via Design Milk)

the Tomorrow Collective – inspired by the past, designing for the future…

Every day, across the world, we are creating more and more stuff. More stuff that we will use, discard and possibly never see again. Of course, some stuff we will continue to use, cherish and (hopefully) develop and repair throughout our lives, but unfortunately this is rather in the minority. This is one of the major problems with product design – how do we create new ‘things’ that people will want to use and want to keep – and that are relevant to the modern user? The Tomorrow Collective, a group of Masters students from the Lund University’s School of Industrial Design have been pondering this too – creating a range of products that address these issues…

‘In a time when the single person is becoming more and more distanced from where things come from, how they are made, what they are made of and where they inevitably end up, it becomes increasingly harder to see the consequences of our lifestyles and choices. We depend on fossil fuel driven transportation systems, monocultural large-scale farming and non renewable, toxic energy sources. Our economies thrive on productivity and consumption and we live like there’s no tomorrow. The Tomorrow Collective is about exploring ways of enabling us to live a sustainable life in the future. Inspired by past knowledge of how to grow, make and be, the project presents concepts for modern tools and systems that can be used in a cyclic sense, within private homes or to share in smaller communities.’ 

From herb collecting kits, to sunflower seed presses, shoe making / repair kits and natural cleaning systems, the Tomorrow Collective have created a range of really interesting (and thought provoking) projects which are made beautifully too.

Even perfume has gone natural, with a kit allowing you to create your own fragrance from self identified and harvested wild herbs and flowers…

We think designers that think in this way are a delight – without this type of reflective practice, how can we ever start to reassess our current ways of living and bring ourselves in line with what will be required? However, these projects often remain in the beautiful but conceptual sphere – never making it to the wider, consumer based world.

Why is this? Is it a step too far? Do we not have the time (or inclination yet) to be so involved in the processes of our products? Or is now the time that we need to re-educate ourselves and step outside of the vast consumerist world and begin to create for ourselves again… Many ‘trends’ are pointing towards this as a distinct change in mindset, but with the recent apparent decline of the ‘hipster’ there is also the musings of whether this type of self creation will fade back into the self sufficiency past of whence it came.

We hope not. As designers we believe that the personal connection to our products is extremely important. This is the way forward, even though, as the Tomorrow Collective have shown, is discovered through looking back…

THE TOMORROW COLLECTIVE from patrik bruzelius on Vimeo.

rethinking the way we make things… Studio Swine

Yes. For those eagle eyed people out there – yes – the title of this post has been shamelessly ripped off from the subtitle of the marvellous ‘Cradle to Cradle’ manifesto by Braungart and McDonough. But it is something that we think about a great deal here in the studio. We are designers and makers of spaces, things and experiences – and we need to be fully aware of how we go about that. We continually rethink the way we make things. Because of this rather healthy obsession, we are really interested to see how other people are going about it too…

Now, we have featured the Sea Chair project by the great Studio Swine here on The Ecospot before and it remains firmly one of our very favourite projects of all time. It is elegant and beautiful and speaks very poetically about the waste that is affecting our oceans. But Studio Swine also created a project called Can City, which also deals with similar problems in a very similar way…

Can City by Studio Swine

It is an elegant project – perhaps not replicable in large scales, but with a bit of rethinking – why not? We have so much waste that not only creates problems of disposal, health and contamination, but also we need to realise that this is raw material and resources that are literally being wasted. This on a global scale is not sustainable at all, so this kind of rethinking and recovery are becoming absolutely imperative.

As designers, this is our responsibility to rethink the way we make things.

Another award for the studio – we are in the GreenMatch Top 100!

We are really happy today to announce that we have been selected to be part of the GreenMatch Top 100 Green Initiatives for 2015! We are in very wonderful company and are placed at number 10 in the top 20 projects section.

Top 100 "Green" Initiatives

GreenMatch chose the 100 because – ‘The number of organisations, businesses and people that are striving for sustainability and more eco-friendly lifestyles is increasing. We have decided to acknowledge some of these and have gathered 100 sites that deserve special recognition for their efforts in the green energy field.These websites contain excellent resources, media, news and initiatives devoted to our environment and its sustainability.’Top 100

 

Thank you very much to GreenMatch – we are delighted to be part of the Top 100 – you can view the whole list here.

in praise of the refurbished…

We are very lucky at the studio to be located along a very long road in Hove that can only be described as ‘eclectic’. With Portslade Station at one end, and well into the reaches of Hove in another, Portland Road is about a mile or so of houses, schools, a park and a variety of retail spaces (plus our little studio, based in the old public toilet). But theses are not any old retail spaces – they are all mostly small, independent shops and cafes – all very different. But what struck us recently whilst walking to the Post Office (6 minutes from studio) was how many great examples of repair, refurbished, service based industry and reclaimed goods shops there were on Portland Road.

dyson city

There are two launderettes. A sewing and alteration workshop, two computer repair shops, a cobbler, an refurbished oven place. A scattering of secondhand stores, a hardware store and the Bargain Vacuum Centre, to name but a few. And it was in the last store – the Bargain Vacuum Centre that we found the latest addition to our studio – an almost new, refurbished Dyson City vacuum cleaner.

Complete with all the bits and bobs – and a 9 month guarantee, this little vacuum only set us back £50. ‘Any problems and whizz it back’, we were told. ‘Sure, we replied – we are just along the road’. And this is what is great about this type of ‘High Street’ – the mix of people, skills and services – all independent and backlit acrylic sign free – offering the personable experience that is not found elsewhere. This is what we love and this is why we are very proud to be part of Portland Road.

We need to save these types of road, because there is very little that we are not able to access within a 7 minute walk of the studio – and we are very aware that this is a precious rarity. Chains have their places, but these are the roads that can offer us repair, reuse or leasing – on our doorsteps…

Here’s to the refurbished.

Structual Skin makes full use of leather waste…

As designers we are faced with daily choices. How to design something – what it is made of and how we source the materials are key to understanding the impact of our designs. This is why we choose to work with as much ‘waste’ material as possible in our work and we are delighted to see examples of how other designers are tackling the same issues. The Structural Skin project by Spanish designer  Jorge Penadés is a great example of very alternative thinking.

Jorge Penadés-Structural-Skin-1

Leather working, whilst very traditional, is extremely wasteful and inefficient as a process, so Penades has created a new method for using the scraps of otherwise discarded leather. The pieces, after being shredded, are bound and compressed to produce a material that looks rather like a bar of nut studded chocolate, but can be used to create new products – like the examples from the capsule collection which features a clothes rail and side table.

Jorge Penadés-Structural-Skin-3

Due to the natural quality of the material, it features a whole range of colours and patternations, adding to the individual nature of each of the pieces.

This lovely video shows the process…

Structural Skin from Jorge Penadés on Vimeo.

2014 recap – September – the narrative of the Jerwood…

September and May are always two of the busiest months for us at the studio, with the Brighton Festival and the London Design Festival, but we managed to have a day off – and we went to the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings…

first published 8th September…

Sometimes it is good to do things on the spur of the moment, and yesterday was one such day. The sun was shining – the last hurrah of summer – and so with nothing else planned, a trip was hatched to visit Hastings, and specifically, the Jerwood Gallery which had an exhibition by Quentin Blake – a personal childhood hero.hastings Jerwood 6Even though I had not visited Hastings for a very long while, I remember far back in the depths of my architecture education when I became obsessed with the tall, pitched roofed net houses on the Rock-O-Nore road. There was something about the honesty of their construction, both in terms of orientation, structure and materials that made them incredibly appealing. Like stretched sentinels they stand over the Old Town beach, with the fishing boats and fresh fish huts below. I loved them.

hastings Jerwood 4So when I found out a while back that the Jerwood would stand within touching distance of my beloved net huts I was a little wary. Without a deep connection to this site, the new building could stick out like a very modern and very sore thumb. However, when I saw the resulting building on the pages of architecture blogs and the design press in 2012 I was delighted. The building looked sensitive yet unapologetic and well, fitted.

hastings Jerwood 7But – architecture is something that you experience, not read about. A well composed photograph will tell you so much, but it is not until you are in any space that youdiscover the delights of the building as well as areas which perhaps do not work as well. Noise, smell, light, how the building copes with few people, masses of people. How the building feels in its skin and its surroundings.

I was not disappointed. HAT have created a delightful building. Passing the fading ‘No Jerwood’ signs on Rock-O-Nore Road towards the gallery, it felt a little sad that a few of the local residents felt this way – and enough to keep the signs up well after the gallery’s opening.

hastings Jerwood 2

The immediate appearance blends beautifully with the surrounding net huts – the monolithic building is certainly wider, but being clad in black shimmering iridescent tiles both the literal cues and the poetic cues to the fishing buildings and heritage are apparent.

Hastings Jerwood 1And the building is exceedingly clever. It is always a personal marker of a great building when I become obsessed with the structure and details perhaps a little more than the objects that the building contains. Details and junctions between flooring, the slatted walls looking up towards the rooflights, the cor-ten steel signage, the oak handrails that already feel polished, the shadows cast across the concrete floors…

hastings Jerwood 3But, one of the areas that I was most impressed with was how the building dealt with its location. The net huts surrounding the building are not hidden. They suddenly appear, framed within floor to ceiling windows in galleries – so much so that their height and scale can be fully appreciated in a way that is not possible at ground level. The building at the top of the East cliff lift is also framed and celebrated too, along with the low timber clad fresh fish huts at the rear of the Jerwood.

hastings jerwood 5Even in the courtyard area, the net huts sit nicely above the lowered fence line and talk to the oily Jerwood tiles beside beautifully. Like distant cousins, but with a similar family trait. Pitched rooflights on the top of the Jerwood also mimic the roof lines of the huts, creating another line woven in the contextural success of the building.

The art, is of course, wonderful. Interesting, well displayed and beautifully lit. But for me, the building is the real stunner.

(Photos by claire potter)

december wish list day 11 – a KeepCup Brew limited edition cup…

As many of you know, we are fully committed members of the reduce and reuse community. If we can try and reduce the amount that we consume and of course, reuse as much as we can, the little actions really do add up to a much bigger action. This is why, along with the fact that we tend to be running in between sites with our coffees, that we are huge fans of the KeepCup. We have one each, and not a day goes by when we do not use them to have our drinks on the go, so for today’s wish list, we have chosen one of the new KeepCup Brew limited edition cups…

KeepCup Brew limited edition cup

Now, this is a different beast to my black and lime green plastic KeepCup – a heavier and more sophisticated version in glass, plastic and cork, the KeepCup Brew is rather lovely indeed. But, like all KeepCups, the size is barista standard (8oz or 12oz), so you are able to hand your cup over any coffee counter and get it filled without any bother at all.

At some places we have even got a discount for using our own cup – double winner.

Plus, unlike many drink on the go cups, the KeepCup is easy to drink from. We know that this should be a standard requirement for a cup, but as many of us know, this is not always the case and many occasions have found us with spillages, leaks and drips.

So, as well as getting a cup that looks beautiful, is refillable (easily) and can be drunk from, the KeepCup has a low environmental impact. The plastic versions for example, contain the same amount of plastic as 20 standard disposable polyethylene lined cups and polystyrene lids. That is not that many lattes before you are ahead in the plastic stakes, let alone the fact that the plastic is staying firmly out of landfill. And when it gets the end of it’s life – each part of the cup can be split into separate parts – easily and quickly – for recycling.

And the KeepCup Brew limited edition also has a cork band – another great material not only for it’s insulative properties but also the fact that cork has to be harvested from the cork Oak for the tree to survive. Literally use it or lose it.

A great, useful, responsible present – and one that will do good and not break the bank too.

Check out the KeepCup website for details on the range…

december wish list day 7 – anything from Hiut Denim…

Ok. So we are being a bit self indulgent for our latest december wish list post, but if anyone wants to buy us clothes this Christmas, we are putting anything from the rather fantastic Hiut Denim on the list. For even though in their words, they ‘only make jeans’, they make the most wonderful jeans, in the most wonderful way.

Many people (including us) didn’t know that the little Welsh town of Cardigan was once a powerhouse of the denim jean industry, with 400 locals creating in the region of 35,000 pairs a week – enough to clothe the residents of the town about nine times over every seven days or so, for 40 years. Which is incredible. However, one day, the factory was closed and the production stopped.

Fortunately, David and Clare Hieatt, (who also founded another studio favourite – Howies) thought that this was wrong, and realising that the skills and expertise were still in the town, reopened the factory as Hiut Denim. So, once more, the jeans are produced from marvellous denims in the little Welsh town.

This is wonderful. A beautiful story – but this is not where the story ends. Actually, this is just the starting point for the stories as each pair of jeans comes with its own ‘History Tag’ – a code that is logged and is unique to the pair. And instead of this being a static record of the piece of clothing, you are encouraged to engage with your History Tag and upload information – pictures, places and memories – to your tag, so the jeans are able to digitally store their history as well as physically, with the little bumps and scratches that they will build up over the years.

This type of personal, or emotional attachment is very interesting to explore with products. If we feel ‘attached’ to an item, are we less likely to throw it away? Will we retain it for longer? And if we do give it away, can another user access the stories that we have attributed to the jeans? We have probably all stroked the arm of an antique wood chair and pondered on the people who have sat on it, touched it. Wondered about how old it was, who made it and where it has travelled. These stories we can fill in ourselves, but what if we were able to really understand the life of an object? Would it cease to be an ‘object’ and be something of more value?

Anyway. We digress into another area of studio obsession. But day 7 of our wish list belongs distinctly to Hiut Denim. Wonderful.

(image via Hiut Denim)

december wish list day 6 – drop top lamp shade by Plumen…

Day six already on our December wish list, and today we are choosing something nice for the home. Beautiful and responsible too. The very lovely Drop Top Lamp shade by Plumen – complete with one of the stunning and award winning energy saving Plumen 001 bulbs by Hulger.

Drop Top Lamp Shade (A) Set - Black

This shade and bulb combo is certainly something very special. The hand blown glass shade softens the side glare of the bulb, whilst still perfectly illuminating downwards. Available in a variety of colours, this darker shades of this, er, shade disguises the bulb inside until the power is on and the now iconic shape of the Plumen 001 is revealed. This is why we would plump for the black version of this beautiful combo.

Drop Top Lamp Shade (A) Set - BlackAND the drop pendant set comes with a lovely drop cap also, which you can also choose the finish of. Copper? Very big in interiors this season and would set off the black glass shade beautifully. Drop Cap Pendant Set - Copper

Depending on your combination of shade, bulb and drop cap, this complete Plumen set comes in around £100, which really is not a huge amount for a real piece of statement lighting. Only problem is that we certainly will not be finding this in our stockings this Christmas as the pre-orders are being dispatched in February.

But hey ho. We can live with an IOU…

(all images courtesy of Hulger)

SPOTTED – picking our Christmas tree at Wilderness Wood…

We are suckers for a bit of tradition. Especially when it is a nice tradition – and really, we are heading full whack into one of the busiest times of year as far as tradition goes. We apologise in advance for using the C word in November, but hey. Christmas. Someone told me yesterday that there are only six weekends until Christmas. Six. Somehow that put the panic in a little bit, but we are safe in the knowledge that we have already bagged our tree. We went and reserved it at Wilderness Wood…wilderness wood 1

Some of you may know about our traditional trip up to the working wood, Wilderness Wood in Sussex – where every November (second weekend) we head up to get a tag, pay our £10 deposit and choose our tree in the Christmas tree plantation.

This year, was no different. We headed up on a sunny Sunday, boots at the ready, filled with excitement that was tinged with a little bit of apprehension. This was to be the first year that the wood was under new ownership after the Yarrow’s, who had founded the working wood in the 1970’s decided to retire. Would it be the same? Would the pots of tea be as huge, the cake so delicious and the atmosphere so friendly and welcoming?wilderness wood 2

Well, yes. We needn’t have worried. The barn was as packed as usual, the tea and the cake were both huge and delicious and the Christmas tree plantation was as we had expected.wilderness wood 3

With number 232 on our tag, there were lots of families and members who had reserved their trees before us, but there was still loads of selection available. Unfortunately, not the Douglas Fir that we have grown to love for its soft, fragrant, limey green needles, but still lots in the fir and spruce categories. Like the children in the plantation, we scooted up and down the hill, trying to find ‘the one’. There were a few contenders, but we eventually settled on one – a lovely Nordmann Fir – an excellent needle keeper, even when cut. Wilderness Wood has good Blue Spruces this year too, so if you are looking for one of these, ethically produced, then it is a good possibility.wilderness wood 4

Now, many of you will question whether driving to choose, then harvest a tree is perhaps the most ‘eco’ way to get a Christmas tree – and even if a real tree is perhaps the best choice. But we believe that this is not only about the tree, but the tradition of picking one – safe in the knowledge that it has been cared for in the right way. It is as ethical as possible. Plus, as we will compost the tree after, the tree becomes a biological nutrient for our own studio garden.

So. Full of tea, cake and with our tree reserved, we headed home. And we will go back in about a month and cut him down, bring him to the studio for Christmas. Ironically, we have named him Doug.

(go to the Wilderness Wood website for full details of their pick your own Christmas trees. all photos by claire potter)