12 July 2012
This week, we caught up with Greg Natale, an award winning interior designer, to talk about his take on sustainability.
What role do you believe sustainability has in the interiors industry?
As Interior designers, it is important that we address sustainability in order to create healthy spaces for our clients to live, work and play in. We also strive to respect the existing built form we are given to work within and the surrounding environment.
Do you believe that people care more about buying environmentally friendly products these days, if so, how is it impacting their lives?
Environmentally friendly products are more readily available and are usually a lot more cost effective in the long run. Therefore they are more appealing to people who are looking to be sustainable or save where possible.
When recommending interior products to your clients what emphasis do you place on where the product was made, how it effects the environment and the people that make the products?
Our clients quite often ask us where the products we suggest are made, and what they are made from, so it becomes our responsibility to be well educated on the products we recommend.
Does your office actively practice sustainable goodness such as recycling and reducing waste?
Yes, in our office we have two separate bins, one for recycling and the other for general rubbish. The paper in our recycling bin gets used for sketching ideas and note taking.
How could you influence your clients to be more environmentally conscious about what products they choose?
Our clients trust that we recommend products of a high quality, and that involves recommending more environmentally friendly products. It is our responsibility to have a sound knowledge on these products in order to influence our clients to use them.
Tell us about a recent project that you have completed for a client that has an eco theme.
A recent project is the Astor Apartment. The Astor has a great policy for recycling architectural elements from their apartments so what was removed was used in other areas and what wasn’t used in the apartment was given to the building management for other apartment refurbishments, including cornicing, skirting’s, doors and floorboards. Little, to no new building materials were brought to site as the original features of the apartment, such as the mouldings and coves, were not demolished but simply restored. Low VOC painting finishes, including the hand painted joinery finish, were used throughout. The materials are highly luxurious yet highly durable to stand the test of time for another century.
Why do you think clients shy away from choosing eco options?
Clients shy away from choosing eco options which appear more expensive at first, but are actually more cost effective in the long run.
Where do you see the sustainable housing industry in five years?
More and more each day, we see the construction of housing moving towards using natural, recycled and locally sourced materials, and construction techniques which are more efficient and use less energy.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about in relation to sustainability?
With lighting being a vital aspect of our interiors, it is our aim to use fixtures which give off the best quality of light. We frequently recommend and use energy efficient LED lighting in our interiors, due to its long life span and excellent light output.