When we set out to plan our Concept Store, we wanted to source everything as sustainably as possible. We also took it as an opportunity to invest in some key pieces that we could use going forward, to illustrate our message and process. One of the focal points in the Concept Store was our huge double windows, and after much deliberation, we decided it was important to tell our story 'From Waste to Wardrobe'.
We were lucky enough to be introduced to the brilliant Lipley And Parker, who helped us to build our dream display boxes. Focused on environmentally conscious design and fabrication, we caught up with them to hear more about their story and their inspiration.
While the boxes were being made, we set out to gather the raw 'waste' materials that were going to be displayed in each box. In partnership with our WeWork office, we set up plastic collection boxes in the communal areas and thanks to everyone in the building, managed to give a lot of plastic waste another life. Our partners sent us materials such as Q-NOVA® by Fulgar and Recover Yarn® and our community donated old clothes to fill the other boxes - it really was a team effort!
Now over to Lipley and Parker!
RS: How did you both get into environmentally conscious design and fabrication?
LP: Throughout our lives we have both always been passionate about the environment and creating a sustainable future. We believe that the climate crisis is the biggest issue facing society today and so for us it is nothing more than logical to have environmental sustainability as a key principle of our practice, whatever we are doing.
There has been a really exciting shift towards sustainable design, particularly in the last decade and we are really inspired by that. It has also shown that there is now a demand for things made in a responsible way and we are excited to be a part of that and work with people who understand the value it has.
With this understanding it’s our aim to build things that last, using a pallet of materials that are ideally, local, recyclable or recycled, reusable and robust while trying to reduce our waste by as much as possible. This puts parameters on our work but we enjoy the challenge of that and find it more satisfying process.
RS: Can you talk us through the making of the Riley Studio display boxes?
LP: With the brand creating sustainable clothing and products from recycled materials, we knew our build had to reflect these environmentally friendly ideals. We chose to use FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved European Oak and recycled acrylic panels to display the waste used to create Riley Studio’s products. European Oak has the highest yield to growth time of any other hardwood tree, whilst if it is FSC approved it means the stewards have managed the landscape to prevent damage to Eco Systems, watersheds, wildlife and the trees themselves. Also being grown in European minimises the environmental impact of transporting the wood, making the product the perfect manifestation of Riley Studios ethos.
RS: What has been your favourite piece that you have made so far?
LP: One of our more recent pieces are the Zero Waste Shelves. Every element of the piece was designed with sustainability at its core. The material is Eko Ply, a sheet material manufactured from 100% waste plastic and timber which typically ends up in land fill or incinerated. Each sheet is engineered in the UK to perform as an alternative to imported plywood or to virgin plastic panels, yet in turn are fully recyclable at end of life. It is longer lasting than traditional timbers, has no maintenance costs and is weather, rot, chemical and acid proof.
Each dimension of the Zero Waste shelves is chosen to minimise waste , meaning out of a 2.4 x 1.2m board there is less than 10cm square of wasted material. The construction method is modular in order to keep production costs to a minimum, making this product aesthetically, financially and environmentally pleasing proving sustainability does not require compromise.
RS: Where do you get your inspiration from?
LP: Design is historically very well documented, making inspiration abundant from a huge number of books, websites, museums and videos. However, as cliché as it sounds, when you start looking you begin seeing inspiration in less obvious places like plants and unintentional colour combinations found in everyday life. We love anything unusual, weird and colourful so art exhibitions and contemporary sculpture we find very influential in both the form and colour of our pieces.
RS: What is your top tip for living more sustainably?
LP: Rather than focusing on the negative results of non sustainable living, focus on the amazingly exciting future of environmentally friendly life. Get excited about the change and try and think in a global mentality, as every one of us trying to help the environment is making a difference.