| by Dan Black
As a part of our #DesignforHealth campaign we are lucky enough to be working with some of the countries most exciting lifestyle and design bloggers.
One of collaborations is with TheDesignSheppard’s Stacey Sheppard. Stacey started her career in design and architecture writing for Design Kitchen & Bathroom magazine and still writes for a number of leading design and interiors magazines and websites.
Originally set up as a way to round up inspirational and innovative projects, products and concepts, TheDesignSheppard blog has been on the Black + Blum team’s radar for a while, as we too are constantly inspired by innovations in design that make everyday products beautiful and functional.
Although our other bloggers have looked at recipes and styling, Stacey’s approach to health and design is different in that she is going to be looking at how our materials promote that ethos. One of Stacey’s beliefs is how the the environment you surround yourself with can support your wellness and health. From her borderline obsession with beautifully architectural plants and greenery to help keep the winter blues away, to reviewing wellness hotels in Paris, Stacey’s blog is peppered with design ideas that enhance and support an overall healthier lifestyle.
Stacey will be working with us to specifically examine and explore the range of wonderful natural materials we use in our Lunch Box range. From stainless steel to bamboo, Black + Blum painstakingly choose not only the most beautiful of products, but the most functional for their purpose. Stacey is going to be shooting and styling our sandwich box, thermo pot and steel water bottle to bring this ethos to life as a part of our #DesignforHealth campaign.
Ahead of our collaboration with her, we caught up with Stacey to ask her some questions:
What is it about the B+B materials that you particularly like?
I am a really big fan of natural materials. I love the way that they look and feel. I also like the sustainability factor and knowing that materials like bamboo and cork are plentiful, regenerate quickly and do not pollute the environment in the way that plastics do for example. I was intrigued to see that B+B also use vegan leather. This is not a material I have had any experience with but it is definitely something I’d like to explore more.
What is your most memorable moment of your blogging career so far?
Can I choose two? The first one would have to be being chosen to attend BlogTour in New York back in 2012. BlogTour is a project run by Modenus which sees small groups of design and lifestyle bloggers attending industry events around the globe and reporting back to their readers. I was honoured to attend alongside some really fantastic British bloggers, many of whom I now consider to be good friends. More recently, I was shortlisted by Vuelio for a Blog Award in the DIY & Interior Design category and I got to attend a swanky event in London. I didn’t win, but I felt so proud just to have made the shortlist. It is award nominations and rankings like these that make my blogging journey worthwhile. It’s so nice to feel appreciated and that what I do means something to people.
What impact has blogging had on your life / career?
I originally set up my blog when I was made redundant from my full time staff writer position on a kitchen & bathroom magazine. I went on to edit various other magazines, but none of them focussed on interiors, which had become a real passion for me. So I decided to write a blog as a way of keeping my hand in the industry and keeping abreast of all the trends, product innovations and great designers that were coming through.
I was writing just for me really and my aim was to eventually get back into magazines, but things didn’t really work out that way. My blog unexpectedly took off and my following grew and grew.
How do you stay inspired about interiors?
What really inspires me is people and their stories. I love interviewing the people behind the products and projects and hearing about their journeys, experiences and motivations. Sometimes, for example, you come across great products that may have a really big price tag, but once you learn about the product development and see how that product is made,
it really helps you to appreciate it a lot more. Basically I like the human element of design and it’s the people and their stories that inspire me most.
Is there anything in the interiors world at the moment that is really exciting you?
I’ve recently been learning a little bit about parametric design which is a process whereby the parameters of a product are determined by a code or algorithm that has been written by parametric designers. The result is that the end user has much greater control over the outcome of the design process. I’ve seen this in action being used to create custom built storage solutions that can be made to fit any space. It’s really quite interesting.
I’m also always interested in material innovations and seeing how designers use materials in unexpected ways. I recently discovered a company called Solidwool, which is actually based just down the road from me in Devon. They have developed a unique composite material that uses wool and bio-resin. It’s kind of like fibreglass but uses wool as the reinforcement instead of glass. The aim is for Solidwool to be considered as a sustainable alternative to petrochemical based structural reinforced plastics. For me that is extremely exciting. I’m clearly a bit of a geek!
What do you think is going to be a big trend this year?
This year I think we are going to see a big trend for texture and natural materials in interiors. We’re seeing a lot of furniture and lighting that has a handmade feel to it. Pieces that are made from rattan, wicker and bamboo are becoming increasingly popular. When it comes to textiles we’re seeing texture as well. Fringing is starting to make its mark and there are lots of cushions with raw edges coming through. Macrame is also featuring in lots of interiors at the moment as wall hangings or plant hangers for example.
I think we’re reaching a point where people have had enough of our reckless throwaway consumerism. We’re starting to realise the destructive nature of mass consumption and as a result we’re looking for more sustainable, renewable and recyclable options when it comes to our material choices. This is probably what is driving this trend for natural materials.