New York House created the Innovative Green Design Awardssm this year to further this conversation and showcase newness to its wide audience. [For complete coverage, see page 26.]
The judging, which took place at the end of April, netted many fascinating discussions about sustainability, the different shades of green, and, of course, greenwashing.
When the panel was considering appliances and furniture, the issue over domestic versus imported products—and ways in which overseas companies are reducing their carbon footprint—arose. In some cases, such as the Liebherr refrigerator, the panel found the impact of ocean shipping was outweighed by the minimal environmental footprint of the manufacturing and packaging, and the ultra efficiency of the product itself.
Making green products accessible was another hot topic, as the panelists discussed the responsibility major manufacturers have to reduce their eco footprint and bring affordably-priced green goods to the masses. Green can no longer be elitist; beautiful designs that are also ecofriendly must be made accessible, the judges felt. And this must be expressed in a commitment to the environment, not just a nod (as some upholstery companies made ecofriendly fabrics and cushions optional rather than standard).
The judges got really excited by several cradle-to-cradle concepts among the entries and favored these companies for their forethought and innovation. Universal Fibers’ ReFresh fibers, which divert literally tons of Nylon-66 fibers from landfills, and Loll Designs’ reuse of skate park materials for its outdoor furniture were just two winning examples.
As Chris Madden so eloquently puts it, “It is so important to recognize and award those designers whose crucial work is helping to address the environmental challenges we are facing and will continue to face in the future.”
The team at New York House thanks everyone involved in IGDA for making this first year a smashing success!