Time for Timeless Design
How Art and Craft from the Past Can Sustain Our Future
Vancouver is a hub of new thinking in design across so many media and materials that it’s hard to keep up. Haute took a tour of IDS in Vancouver in Fall 2022 to discover how creative minds are harvesting ideas from other disciplines to make tomorrow’s heirlooms.
First stop, furniture made with old soles and a conversation with designer Irina Flore and collaborator Thomas Claypool, co-founder of Native Shoes.
How and when did the Native furniture collab come about?
IF: Two years ago. After visiting IDS in 2019, I learned about The Remix Project, and I was interested to learn more about the material and the reclaiming and recycling process.
After expressing my interest in learning more about it, I was introduced to Thomas.
We started to discuss the possibilities, and I started designing a few different furniture and home accessories. It’s a fantastic project, and I loved every part of it.
What was the biggest challenge in dealing with recycled material?
TC: For Native, setting up the reverse logistics and processing necessary to collect and prepare the shoes for their next life.
IF: In terms of designing furniture, we think of durability and functionality, along with aesthetics, as important aspects. Designing furniture or a sculpture that can be functional in a home means ensuring the material’s durability and functionality. I chose metal and Remix™ material because they both can be recycled over and over again.
The challenging part from the design perspective was to ensure that the sculpture would be durable and timeless.
Irina, how has sustainability thinking changed your design practice?
IF: Choosing to work with material and fabrication processes that consider the important aspects of sustainability is essential in my design practice. Sustainability is always something I consider when designing something new.
I always try to think of what happens with these objects I design once their life ends.
What’s the potential for design to impact climate change?
IF: Design is a vast term, and this is why I believe it could have a positive impact on climate change because it could make a change in so many different fields.
TC: Significant in many ways, from designing for circularity, to designing for reduced resource requirements.
What does the future hold for collaborations?
IF: I believe in beautiful collaborations and bright minds coming together to do something good. So I am thrilled to see how this collaboration and collection will evolve.
TC: The trend of the “collab” is fickle as fashion itself, but truly inspired collaborations like this one will always shine.
“THE CHALLENGING PART FROM THE DESIGN PERSPECTIVE WAS TO ENSURE THAT THE SCULPTURE WOULD BE DURABLE AND TIMELESS.”
Has your formative experience with craftspeople helped you to incorporate recycled materials?
IF: Yes, working with small workshops has taught me many things, and one of them, for sure, is to work with materials that can be recycled. I was born into a family of craftspeople, and I learned
from an early age that reclaiming something and repurposing it is meaningful.
TC: A zero-waste philosophy is integral to the work of so many craftspeople I have had the pleasure of working with in the past. This allows us to create as much as possible regularly incorporating reclaimed, upcycled and recycled materials.
Irina, your work occupies a space between design and art. How do you bridge that gap?
IF: I studied in France in an art school where the design process was essential.
This bridge between art and design is more about the process and what defines that object. It could be a functional art object handcrafted with exceptional results, or it could be an object fabricated by a larger manufacturer. It’s all about the process and the story behind it.