Sunday, November 25, 2007

Green Trade Shows

As an interior designer, it’s important to be up to date with what’s going on in the green world. I have no problem admitting that I am still learning like everyone else and am trying to find new ways to visually decipher what’s best for my clients. So in early November, I attended a green design trade show in Chicago called Greenville. I like to get a sense of what companies are doing visually with their displays, especially when I use their products in my store, and it helps inspire me with my own projects.

Having a store is a great way to display my ideas and the things I’ve learned from trade shows. People who are looking for alternative design options can actually see what I am using in the shop and get a sense of the design work I do. There’s been a definite shift in materials and people are beginning to care about what they put in their house. They want to know what their options are and what’s different from what has always been done. At Greenville, I was specifically looking for innovative countertop materials, a noticeable piece in a kitchen that is often overlooked.

Everything right now has that terrazzo broken glass feel, reminiscent of recycled pop bottles. I’m looking for ways of taking that design to the next level. Ironically for this trade show, I flew a thousand miles to find a company that I already partner with in town and found a flooring material. It has that earthy wood floor appearance, but it’s made from a newer, renewable material. I also discovered that people are pushing bamboo. Normally I’d think bamboo belongs in a house with a Zen quality or that bamboo with oak cabinets is incongruent. But when I saw this bamboo flooring, it had a beautiful mahogany walnut feel. It’s not expensive, absolutely within normal price ranges and is exactly what I look for. Also on the bamboo front, dark and light strands are being mixed into a single bamboo strand, giving it more texture.

The last thing that really stood out was a really beautiful new take on cork, that’s not your teenage son’s average corkboard wall. This cork is polished and has a more organic quality to it. Check back in with me over the next few weeks for updates on other new discoveries I’m finding out there in the design world.

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