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Trend Research: Eco-Conscious Home - Upcycled Materials

Adopting a sustainable lifestyle within the home translates, first of all, into efforts to cut energy consumption. This is becomingly increasingly crucial at every stage of design, from construction to interiors.

This is where next generation smart technologies come in, enabling the energy efficiency of both domestic and office spaces to be monitored around the clock, and becoming an integral part of the domestic landscape.


Netatmo, a French company specialising in smart systems for the home, has worked with designer Philippe Starck to produce intelligent radiator valves that cut up to 37% of domestic heating energy consumption. The valves allow the temperature to be controlled and the radiators turned on and off as desired, to suit the habits, the usage and the composition of the family nucleus, room by room, as well as remotely.

This means that the central heating in the various parts of the house can be set to come on only at peak times avoiding needless waste. The valves are also fitted with sensors that can gauge precisely and in real time all contributory factors such as the weather, the home insulation, the number of people in a room and whether any appliances are being used – and regulate their use.


The extreme functional efficiency of the valves, combined with Starck’s intuitive and minimalist design makes them suitable for every sort and kind of interior. In the hands of the French designer, the valves become translucent Plexiglass cylinders complete with digital display, and can be customised with interchangeable basic colours, as desired.
The extreme functional efficiency of the valves, combined with Starck’s intuitive and minimalist design makes them suitable for every sort and kind of interior. The valves can be voice-controlled through Siri or the Apple HomeKit as well as via a special smartphone app


According to Dutch designer Nienke Hoogvliet, algae will increasingly become a feature of the interior design and architectural world. Aside from their beneficial effects on our bodies, seaweed is finding original application in the textile and construction fields and as an energy resource for buildings. Debate on their use in these fields is wide open. 
After years of dedicated study, the designer has produced her first collection, which includes a seat, a side table and some bowls, which also serve as a demonstration of all the materials that can be derived from this particular raw material.

First and foremost is a textile fibre, from which the seat is made, created by extracting cellulose from kelp and working it by hand. The result is a viscose-like fabric, but softer to the touch. Nienke also used the seaweed to dye the fabric naturally, with different varieties creating different colours (from green and brown to grey, pink and purple). 


The waste from this process is used to obtain the finish of the wooden top of the side table, another piece in the collection, using paint made from bladderwrack, a common seaweed in Holland. Bringing the optimisation process full circle, the residue from this latter procedure was used to make the bio-plastic bowls, proof of the enormous potential residing in this natural and renewable resource.