Our Eco-friendly Sofa Made of Recycled Fabric yarns taken from the fashion industry
Conscious, considered design that is built to last is at the very heart of what we do, from furniture through to fabrics. With the addition of our recycled cotton range, a sustainable choice that’s durable and versatile enough to be enjoyed every day.
Collaborating with Cate St Hill, an interiors writer and stylist who aims to show stylish spaces that are minimal yet feel authentic, honest, warm and inviting. She believes it’s all about curating a home with less but better – prioritising simplicity, sustainability and design built to last.
She shares with us about her new eco-friendly sofa and how it captures the heart essence of our business, our commitment to craftmanship, function and drive towards sustainability.
Let me introduce you to our new sofa! Douglas is an elegant, eco-friendly sofa from British Design Shop, finished in a soft recycled cotton fabric. Taking pride of place in the cosiest corner of our living room, the pale beige brings a classic, timeless look to our neutral home. The clean, streamlined form adds contemporary, architectural lines to the space, while the high arms provide a cocooning retreat to hide away in. With all this time spent at home, it’s fast becoming our favourite place to be – whether curling up with a book or putting our feet up to watch a movie.
Our new eco-friendly sofa has both form and function. Designed by Russell Gillott, it has a slimline structure that looks smart, with softly rounded lozenge shaped cushions. A high level of craftsmanship ensures that the sofa will stand the test of time, combining a hand-crafted hardwood frame with concealed lumbar support. It’s not just all good looks.
With a respect for time-honoured methods and carefully chosen, quality materials, our furniture is designed to bring ‘distinctive style to everyday living’.
‘In our world, contemporary design blends seamlessly with traditional furniture making skills honed over time. Designers and craftsmen working intuitively together to make classic designs of the future,’ says British Design Shop.’
And because they supply direct from the factory, they can combine high levels of quality with competitive prices, offering sofas starting from £1,799.
What appealed to me about British Design Shop, though, was their commitment to craft and sustainability. British Design Shop furniture comes direct from the maker, supporting local, skilled craftsmen who, it can be argued, have been somewhat forgotten in the pursuit of cheap, affordable designs shipped quickly from overseas. A British made product is inherently more sustainable for those of us living in the UK, than something that might be transported hundreds or thousands of miles from elsewhere. The same would be true if you lived in America and bought a US-made product, or Scandinavia and bought a Danish-made design.
‘Having sourced furniture overseas in the past prior to starting British Design Shop, I witnessed very low staff wages, relatively poor factory conditions, long working hours and no evidence of any green considerations,’ says British Design Shop founder Nick Powell. ‘The carbon footprint is mainly in the transportation of the goods, with the transport costs being offset commercially versus low labour costs by the importers. This was one of the main drivers behind starting the company as we wanted to champion local design and local skilled craftsmanship (without the need to ship sofas around the world). The opportunity provided by the internet is that we can connect those skills with local buyers and provide a better-quality product at a reasonable price.’
When British Design Shop was looking to add a selection of recycled fabrics to their range, it was the perfect opportunity to collaborate on a project together.’
British Design Shop has a showroom in London where you can book an appointment and see some of their most popular designs in person. This really helped the decision-making process, being able to sit in one of their designs and see the level of craftsmanship up close. British Design Shop will also send out up to six free fabric samples, so you can make sure the material looks just as good at home.
I was instantly drawn to the Douglas and it’s matching footstool. The designer Russell Gillott worked as a senior interior designer in the yacht industry, which can perhaps be referenced in the smooth, straight lines and meticulous finish of the Douglas. From the bespoke, black, powder-coated legs to the twin-needled stitching that runs along the edge of the cushions, you can feel the close attention to detail.
The slender frame of this eco-friendly sofa is achieved by using locally sourced, kiln-dried hardwood that is able to retain its shape and stability over time (usually a cheaper sofa would have a leg in the middle of the frame to support it). It is further strengthened with reinforcing blocks and frame joints that are glued, dowelled and screwed together. The square shell of the sofa is formed of elasticated upholstery seat webbing under a layer of polypropylene fleece, while the cushions get their comfort from the combination of Reflex foam and Dacron for softness.
The back cushions of our previous sofa used to flop down and loose their shape, whereas these are sewn together so they can always retain their upright form. The best bit though is the angled lumbar support cushion that hides behind these back cushions. We always used to get back pain from slumping in our low back sofa, but this clever addition helps support your reclining back, encouraging you to sit in a more upright position. I particularly like sitting with my back to one of the high back arms and putting my feet on the sofa, it’s so much more comfortable and cosy for reading.
British Design Shop have over 90 premium and luxury fabrics to choose from, including stain guard options for those with children or pets. As British Design Shop were introducing a recycled cotton for the first time, I was given free rein to select a fabric from one of their suppliers, The Romo Group. Numerous samples later and I fell for the soft, natural texture of their Osumi range. From warm neutrals to serene blues and earthy tones, this washable recycled cotton has a subtle melange effect that gives it character and tactility. I chose the colour Osprey; a muted beige that will go with everything, no matter how our living room evolves.