Within a year, Löyly, the dynamic sauna complex on the Helsinki waterfront, has become an atmospheric design destination and award-winning architectural landmark.
By Meri FrigRead More
We explore the characteristics of the Scandi-craze in the field of interior design with the expertise of Christina Forsberg, London-based Norwegian architect and consultant. On her elegant blog Scandinavialist, she exposes all the 'must-knows' and 'oh-wows' of Scandinavian design.
By Meri FrigRead More
Hailing from Estonia, textile designer Mare Kelpman creates thick blanket-like wool coats that warm up even in the coldest nights of Nordic winter. Kelpman Textile’s latest collection Sophy combines sustainable design, architectural elegance and Nordic simplicity. Her unique patterns laced with asymmetry and artistic colour combinations are beautifully eye-catching. What inspires such magnificent design?, we ask.
Words: Johanna Raudsepp
We love seeing designers with an eco-friendly approach cropping up in the Scandinavian region, but we must admit this way of looking at design has not conquered the world yet. Why have you chosen to pursue sustainable approach in textile design?
For a while I taught at the Estonian Academy of Arts and I always urged my students to think what to do and how to execute it. [I’ve always advised students that] if you don’t have a sustainable idea, then seriously consider, if it’s worth creating at all. Following this path is pricey, which is why it’s marginal – the profit won’t be great nor happen fast. The way I see it, for me there is simply no other way – the joy from creating is far more important than the profit you make. I don’t see any reason to overwhelm the world with even more synthetic things.
What are the setbacks you have experienced following the sustainable route?
I can’t say that I have. More or less so, I have encountered the expected issues of having a small business and finding the right partners, who are flexible to fulfil orders of all sizes. In Estonia, my products were initially received with jaws dropped– what do you mean you’re making wool clothing? Where’s the glamour and affluence usually en vogue in the local fashion scene? I exhibited my products at many foreign fairs and finally got the reassurance I’m doing the right thing. Now I’ve realised that small businesses emphasising natural textiles are emerging, too.
What inspires you in creating different textiles?
Primarily the people who I create for in my head. I feel like I know my potential client quite well. However, focusing only on the commercial side doesn’t work either. I am inspired by rhythms and colours from nature and architecture. What really drives me is conquering technological challenges. You can dream of different fabrics and structures all you want, but it really comes down to the technical ability of the partners. Creating textiles requires a compromise between dreams and reality.
What material do enjoy working with the most?
Right now, my favourite is wool, as you can see from my product range. But every material can be challenging to work with, if you choose the right approach. For example, in the summer season I reach for linen and a little bit of silk as well. Wool is a material for which you don’t have to kill or exhaust dry land, as sheep require shearing. Since I only work with European materials, I know where and how the yarn is created, in what conditions and I can be sure that it’s also certified. I produce all my products and fabrics in Europe and I know those small factories well.
If you had to compare your design to a natural phenomenon, what would it be and why?
Perhaps the refreshing morning dew before a hot day. Freshens the air.
What can we look forward to in 2017?
Hopefully great execution of some fresh ideas. A year ago, I didn’t even plan on having my own store. Now that has been set up and gotten a lot of positive feedback. I like to let life surprise me and am open to new challenges on the way.
Find Mare Kelpman's designs in Tallinn, Estonia, at the Kelpman Textile store, or online at www.marekelpman.eu.
We often wonder how sustainable living and slower lifestyle could be incorporated into our day-to-day lives. One approach that benefits living slow is making the most of your time — enjoying the various experiences life has to offer to the fullest. Travelling is a great example of that experience, and having a relaxing stay, without too many fancy, digital nuisances, is something we often strive for. Thanks to innovations in architecture and increasing interest in running a healthy lifestyle, some hotels have now become the epitome of sustainable design — creating a pure, holistic atmosphere for your stay. We took a glimpse into the environmental solutions at Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus in Hamburg, Germany, where modern architecture meets fully sustainable accommodation.
Words: Johanna Raudsepp
The extraordinary wooden façade prominently stands out in the middle of a busy city — made from mostly locally sourced certified wood, the Wälderhaus (which literally means ‘forest house’) is a modern forest delight. “Guests are fascinated by the innovative atmosphere within the hotel and how it is created,” says a Wälderhaus representative. “A nice bonus is, after a visit to the Science Center forest or an overnight stay, you can truly learn something about the connections between the city and nature. The forest house polarises, fascinates, and encourages communication and reflection.” The architecture of the building, despite standing out with the use of materials, fits in with the cityscape.
The building meets passive house standards — it is self-sustainable and thus doesn’t damage the environment. In addition to a restaurant, which serves the guests only locally sourced food, the three-star plus standard hotel Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, with 82 rooms, offers space for special exhibitions and conferences. Here sustainability meets modern innovation to provide the guests with a 360-degree, relaxing holiday. Sleeping between organic cotton sheets and enjoying gastronomic treats at the restaurant ensures you will depart your stay with a well-rested, worry-free mind. As a cherry on top, the Wälderhaus features a green roof, planted with 9000 bushes, 500 hornbeams and various North German tree species.
A fully natural approach is surely gaining popularity. As people are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, they hold higher standards in terms of sustainability when travelling, as well. The Wälderhaus meets the needs of a conscious traveller. “The guests want as little plastic or artificial in the room as possible, also little electrosmog or superfluous ‘energy eaters’, like minibars. The interest in health is rising, even in healthy indoor air. The architecture should be clear, straightforward, modern, but nevertheless cozy and comfortable.”
An eco-approach in the hotel world will definitely be more prevalent in the future. “The eco-concept pays off. We save about 30% energy in the forest house compared to a conventional hotel. The issue will hopefully become even more important. We like to be pioneers and show that it is possible to [be] sustainable, comfortable and modern at the same time. The number of 100% eco-hotels will surely continue to rise.” The Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is truly a pioneer in this field, and we cannot wait to see more of such creative, yet environmentally conscious solutions in a modern, urban setting, leaving space for a slower approach to life.