It’s no secret that designing and manufacturing with sustainable materials is on the rise – and it couldn’t be happening at a better time. One product that continues to impress and lend itself to a myriad of applications is ECONYL® nylon. We’ve talked about the benefits of its use before: it’s made from 100% waste, is 100% recyclable, and offers up to a 90% reduction in global warming potential when compared to nylon from fossil sources. Good design and quality life can live together harmoniously and beautifully when we make smart material choices.
“Interior designers [and architects] have an opportunity to positively impact the environment through purposeful, sustainable design. It starts with their materials. In fact, designers can influence up to 90% of a product’s environmental footprint with their early design decisions by choosing sustainable materials,” said Giulio Bonazzi, Chairman & CEO, Aquafil Group. “When designing a space, we must commit to learning more about the materials we use. Not just whether they are beautiful and functional, but also how they will be deconstructed and whether they are able to be repurposed. Our creativity and potential for design is unlimited, but our resources are not. We must select materials with consideration of their environmental impact to achieve a circular economy, reducing waste and creating a better future.”
The capabilities of ECONYL® nylon were on display earlier this month in Chicago for NeoCon 2022. The ECONYL® by Aquafil Showroom featured several eco-conscious collections using the ingredient created by Bentley Mills, Delos Rugs, FLOR, Interface, Milliken, and alcarol. Above, Delos previewed its Azure Capsule Collection, inspired by Blue Mind Theory and nature; it reflects tranquil waters. The series pushes the boundaries of robotic tufting to create visual masterpieces that just might reawaken your creative side. The collection will launch early Fall 2022.
The Daytripper Collection by Bentley Mills is the brand’s take on the emotions of the world beginning to reopen. Many of us are looking forward to losing track of time at a museum or gallery, and this is Bentley’s representation of our minds, eyes, and hearts returning to these creative and artistic experiences. The collection features four patterns, each with varying depth and shimmer and a unique scale and proportion.
Interface’s new Beaumont Range™ collection includes four styles influenced by the ever-changing environment of mountain trails. The series of carpet tiles hopes to broaden the connection we feel when outdoors in nature. With the assistance of ECONYL® nylon, the collection considers the environment while also promoting that feeling of well-being that comes with spending time outdoors. Innovative technology allows for a new design technique that turns multiple biophilic patterns into one for large floorscapes, giving you the chance to carry the translated experience inside.
FLOR’s Zera Collection is part of the above Beaumont Range, a companion carpet tile style that transforms the timeless elegance of marbled stone. Its patterns bring another element of biophilic design into the fold, available in a color range of forest green to slate gray. The just launched flooring collection aims to increase your productivity while simultaneously improving upon your well-being.
alcarol stepped in with something fresh and unexpected in the form of their Wave Screen in the Ocean Networks Collection. Fishing nets are a huge waste problem in our oceans – but by melting colorful nets with ECONYL® nylon it’s possible to reclaim and reuse them. The artistic marbled effect that comes from the process mimics nets that have become tangled in coral and seabeds. In the collection you’ll find tabletops, a suspension lamp, and now abstract room dividers meant to remind you of the ocean. The Fluctus Suspension Lamp, seen below, is a representation of the ocean as seen from underwater. The filtered light that comes through the material creates an otherworldly filtered effect.
Inspired by the natural transitions that occur between land and water, Milliken’s Coastline Collection creates subtle gradients that organically connect and flow together. Think of ocean waves, sandy beaches, grassy marshes, and rocky cliffs as the force behind this nature-inspired series. As you can see, zero aesthetics were sacrificed when creating this floor covering from ECONYL® yarn. The collection will launch in July 2022.
A product that garnered lots of attention in the showroom is the innovative noho move chair. The former Best of NeoCon Award winner – Gold Seating and Sustainability – ensures correct posture and ergonomic comfort. Made with ECONYL® nylon, noho is able to flex as your body moves with a design that uses 82% renewable energy sources. Noho can last a lifetime, because at the end of its use it can be recycled into something new.
Overall, attendees who visited ECONYL®’s showroom at NeoCon showed a lot of excitement about where the material is headed and the possibilities that exist for it outside of carpet flooring. Architects and designers said they’ve been seeing more and more ECONYL® nylon in consumer fashion, and find the outside-the-box thinking inspiring. There were also plenty of automotive companies at the show looking for new ideas and materials in – you guessed it – the sustainable category. There’s a heightened interest, and people have smart questions about what it means to be truly sustainable on a technological level. Another area of intrigue is bio-based materials, which Aquafil is in the research and development phases of exploring for nylon creation. With ECONYL® fibers now available in 177 colors – including six new hues this year – we’d say the design thinking behind the material is just about endless.
But these days design includes more than aesthetic and function – it includes thinking ahead to what will happen to these products in the future. Once their purposes have been fulfilled what will they go on to become? Unfortunately, in most cases it will be waste. Committing to making beautiful things without further damaging the planet is entirely possible through the use of innovative materials like ECONYL® nylon. If you look at the brands above, along with other design companies doing the work, it’s clear that using these materials doesn’t limit quality or artistic vision in any way, but they do make a difference to our environment.
Continued technological advances are making headway thanks to the search for purpose and intention in design. Focusing on sustainability has “encouraged meaningful discussions, spurred innovation in materials, and evolved our processes,” said Bonazzi. Places like the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design are raising red flags around toxins found in building materials, and moving to create healthier new resources for the designers and architects of tomorrow. The Material Bank and its brand partners are rethinking how we source materials by shipping multiple brands in one box. It’s not revolutionary, it’s just thoughtful decision making that hasn’t been done before. We need more of this smart thinking and these mindful choices made now for the sake of ourselves and our planet. Join the movement with ECONYL® nylon.