There’s no getting around it, veganism is officially trending. In the US alone there has been a 600% increase in the number of people identifying as vegan between 2014 and 2017. Meanwhile over in the UK, the number of vegans have quadrupled in the past four years, and a further one in three Brits have made a conscious effort to stop or reduce their meat consumption. Indeed, whether for reasons of health, environment or cost, veganism is on the rise. Yet, what, if anything, does that mean for the design world?
If you thought veganism was only applicable to the food we eat or the fashion and cosmetics we wear, then you’re only seeing half the picture. From boycotting animal-tested paint, to opting for leather and wool alternatives, the way we choose to decorate our homes can also be vegan. In response, a number of designers have sought to experiment with cruelty-free approaches to their work. Here are five of their most exciting creations.
Salt Crystal Stools
Erez Nevi Pani
The unofficial go-to for all things vegan in the design world, Israeli designer Nevi Pana has made waves in the industry for his innovation and passion for the cruelty-free cause. After committing to a plant-based diet five years ago, it didn’t take long for veganism to permeate all aspects of Nevi Pana’s lifestyle. Since then, the designer has been busy exploring different possibilities in vegan design.
Of particular note is his salt-crystal stool design. Here, Nevi Pana has fashioned a chair from debris found in the Israeli desert – branches, leaves, stones and textile scraps. The form was then submerged in the Dead Sea for several months until it was coated with a ‘skin’ of salt crystals, joining everything together as one.
Overall, Nevi Pana’s work exudes a raw experimental aesthetic, which though fascinating to behold, is perhaps not quite practical for mainstream design. However, this is completely intentional. “Everything looked raw and rough because I wanted people to understand this is just a starting point,” explains the designer. “If everything was polished it would look like the end product. [However] I want everyone to start practicing this with me, between them.”
Dr. Carmen Hijosa
Though not technically a furniture or interior designer, that hasn’t stopped Dr. Carmen Hijosa from making her mark on the future of vegan design. With a background in leather goods, Hijosa knows better than most the issues with real animal leather. In her quest to develop a cruelty-free alternative, she turned to everyone’s favorite tropical treat – pineapples!
More specifically, Pinatex uses the discarded leaves of the pineapple plant. The leaves are separated into individual fibres, before being felted together to create a non-woven fabric leather alternative.
In terms of interiors, many designers have already made use of Pinatex in their projects. 2LG Studio, for instance, showcased the vegan material in the form of a plush armchair at London Olympia’s ‘Ideal Home Show’ last year. Pinatex can also be found as an upholstery option for Tamasine Osher Design’s minimalist Spider Chairs.
Practical, hard-wearing, and, at least aesthetically-speaking, a little kitsch, linoleum is hardly the most fashionable material in interior design. But that could all be about to change thanks to designer and materials researcher, Don Kwaning.
On its own, linoleum is a completely natural, vegan-approved material anyway. Nevertheless, given its sturdy form and texture, lino is hardly the most versatile option out there for designers to play with. Until now that is.
Enter Lino Leather – a form of linoleum which has been treated with a mix of linseed oil, wood fibers and lime stone. The result is a naturally grained leather alternative which is soft and flexible enough to be used in a variety of furniture design applications.
Nir Meiri / Sebastian Cox
With its suede-like texture and minimal aesthetic, mushroom mycelium may well be the new darling of the sustainable materials world. And our favorite designers are wasting no time in getting on board.
In recent years, British-based designers Nir Meiri and Sebastian Cox have debuted lighting ranges featuring the mycelium spores. Mycelium itself is completely vegan, consuming organic and synthetic waste to create its form. This waste typically consists of vegan-friendly materials, including wood and paper, though this does depend on the individual designer.
To read more about mycelium, check out our round up of sustainable design materials made out of food!
Apple Ten Lork
Vegan and sustainable, Apple Ten Lork is a cruelty-free leather alternative made from apple cores and skins. Developed in Italy by industrial waste recycler, Frumat, Apple Ten Lork was borne from the desire to transform biological industrial residuals into a new and sustainable raw material.
Perhaps the most notable use of Apple Ten Lork thus far has been in designer Philippe Starck’s collection for Italian furniture brand Cassina. A total of 16 pieces, including the Volage EX-S sofa, have been covered with this vegan material, proving how experimental textiles can work in commercial business.
Similar in texture to leather, Apple Ten Lork currently comes in three colorways: white, orange and black.