Sustainable Interiors in 7 Questions with Laura Baross
Over 10 years ago we started Elvis & Kresse, a sustainable luxury business based on three activities: rescuing materials that would otherwise go to landfill, transforming these into hand-crafted accessories and homeware, and donating 50% of the profits to charity. This is our way of tackling the second most polluting industry there is*, through problem solving, through our actions. Over the years we have met some incredible people who are all working to make the world better, in many different ways, and we wanted to find out their thoughts on our industry.
This week we took some time to talk to New York based Laura Baross, the founder of Design with Care. An interior design platform that prioritises sustainably sourced materials and finishes, that works exclusively with environmentally and socially conscious design brands.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
I was born and raised surrounded by art. After architectural studies my path led to Interior Design. Before graduating I started to become more conscious about my next steps and understood the impact my work will have on the planet and future generations. Therefore I started an eco-friendly design platform called DESIGN with CARE. We put emphasis on sourcing exclusively from eco-friendly vendors and introduce only sustainable finishes to the spaces we design.
2. Everyone has an unexpected luxury — or a different way of defining luxury. What does luxury mean to you? What do you consider to be a luxury that others might not?
I always put functionality first. Even an object that is less aesthetically pleasing at first sight with an astonishing story behind it becomes beautiful to me. Same applies when it comes to luxury. Purposeful, sustainably made and great quality products that last long, is what defines luxury in my mind.
3. What is the most environmentally or socially positive project you have ever worked on?
One of the most conscious projects I worked on is definitely The Package Free Shop. It is the first Zero Waste lifestyle store in New York. The founder, Lauren Singer had an idea to bring everything that individuals need to transition to a low waste lifestyle under one roof. The initial pop-up was designed to educate customers about their everyday habits and offer them tools that can help them keep life less trashy. It functioned both as a market place and an informative gallery space with sketches on the walls, mimicking real life situations.
The space was designed within the same low waste guidelines. Everything was handmade, up-cycled and custom-built by Brooklyn artisans. We used certified wood, sourced certain elements from The Big Reuse and kept the aesthetics minimal and simple.
4. Do you think the future of interiors is sustainable? Why? Why not?
Let’s assume in all the production they use raw materials that come only from sustainable sources or reuse post-consumer recycled materials. Companies manage to lower the waste that comes with shipping and delivering and interior designers start incorporating only eco-friendly materials in projects. It doesn’t sound too futuristic or unmanageable right? This is exactly what we do at D\\’C We’re hoping to keep pushing the sustainability standards of the current market and motivate more companies to switch to greener manufacturing.
5. Do you have a piece of clothing, furniture, or an accessory that you have had forever — a completely indispensable classic?
When my Mom was my age she played in a band and had the coolest clothes in town. Over the years she went through minimizing her wardrobe multiple times, but luckily kept the best pieces for me. Her high rise jeans and a vintage biker jacket are definitely my favourite to wear.
6. Tell us about the last thing you bought which would be considered a socially or environmentally sustainable. Why did you choose it?
It was an outdoor bistro table that I purchased for one of my projects at a Brooklyn thrift shop. I love shopping vintage and second hand furniture in good conditions, because it is one of the most sustainable ways to find what we need without exhausting new resources.
7. If you could make one change in your own industry, to make it better, what would that be and how would you tackle it?
I would love to see biodegradable plastic wraps and compostable plastic bags in our industry. Renovations and furniture handling come with a lot of mess. We wrap products to protect them during shipping and cover up existing interior surfaces to avoid any damage. After the work is done all these non-recyclable plastic coverings are sent to landfills. If we had less harmful ways to keep the finishes clean without sacrificing our environment that would be very helpful.