20 Jun Integrating Unique Natural and Organic Elements into Living Environments
Integrating Unique Natural Elements into Living Environments
Integrating natural and organic elements into any living environment is a stylish, contemporary way to create a luxurious interior that feels like a home.
We’ve already talked about the psychological, physiological, and spiritual benefits of being surrounded by nature and natural materials, in the “Art of Organic Contemporary Design” article, but I wanted to show you some of the organic materials that inspire us in our designs.
Using natural materials doesn’t have to mean that you turn your home into a rustic cave. In fact, the modern use of organic design elements gives a home a luxurious feel, fabulous contemporary aesthetic, and bringing warmth.
Credit to Marianna Fiorin Interiors
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Credit to: Artistic Tile
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The best natural materials
In the world of interior design, preparation is the foundation for everything. The fun part of working with organic materials is that inspiration can be taken from nature. These are some of the materials I love to use for creating ”Organic Contemporary Interiors!”
Besides the standard materials like wood, bricks, leather, and iron, there are a variety of unique, exclusive and some futuristic natural materials with rare colors and textures combination that can be used to create organic contemporary interiors.
Depending on the overall mood and style of space, smaller pieces may be incorporated into the environment subtly, while larger slabs can be used in bathrooms or to create a luxurious kitchen island, or two! Let’s look at some of the most striking materials!
Stepping beyond the ‘forever favorite,’ Calacatta Gold marble, there are several other types that have a unique look and feel. These elements complement any luxury interior. Some of my favorites include Sequoia Brown, Arabescato Viola, Dreaming Green or Verde Indio, and for monochromatic, I love Panda White in the honed finish because it has a sense of depth with the black veins, and yet, it has a very clean look, besides it looks even better in honed finish that gives it more sophisticated feel, compared to the polished one.
As long as usage, it’s known the marbles can be “easily” scratched, but I would argue that. Yes, it’s the most sensitive stone, but it’s not that sensitive. It may get damaged if its used as a cutting board repeatedly, or something heavy falls on it, but in standard kitchen usage, it won’t get damaged. We have Calacatta through out in our home, and although I wasn’t always very careful, its still looks fabulous even after 10 years, making it a good investment.
dreaming green marble
verde indio marble
dreaming green marble
Unique natural stones bring depth and dimension to a room. One of my top favorites in the quartzite family is Azul Malcaubas. The light blue stone is at once soft & dreamy, yet striking and enhances the mood in any room where it’s placed. Perfect for furniture tops, including coffee tables, it also makes outstanding wall art. It delights the eye as it draws your gaze around the piece, and it’s sure to be a conversation starter in any room. As opposed to marble, quartzites are thicker stones. They can also be used to create gorgeous stairs, and commercial & residential spas (like steam)!
botanic green queartzite
It’s important to be environmentally cautious about where we are getting our stones. Most marble comes from India and Italy, but due to the high demand of non-renewable source and poor red tape, the lack of environmental protection in certain areas, the extraction of some of these stones may not be done in a sustainable manner.
The long term issues with a stone extraction is that it may result in damage to the mountain ecosystem – fauna movement & large removal of flora due to trees deforestation, and even the contamination of the water in the area are some of the risks. Additionally, the waste that results from the extraction is not degradable and continues to cause problems for years to come.
That’s why I take extra care in ensuring that the materials I use come from areas that are carefully regulated to protect the environment. I also like to reuse or repurpose marble into small furniture or other decorative items. It’s even possible to simply donate the unused marble or waste products to artists who can find a way to use it in their designs.
Mycelium – Mushroom Fungus
New technologies bring us new ways to integrate organic & sustainable materials! And what gives a home a truly unique feel is the willingness to venture beyond what is expected. Some of the futuristic organic biodegradable and renewable materials for contemporary furniture designs include mycelium, yes the mushroom fungus. Not only can you model the design of your furniture after the natural design of mycelium, but it’s also even possible to grow living fungus inside of a piece of furniture to give it added strength!
Salt is another sustainable organic material that is worth mentioning and one of the most important designers when it comes to sea salt furnishing is Eriz Nevi Pana and his “Salts” stool. Another great artist is Roxane Lahidji who developed a “Marbled Salt” – which is The New Sustainable Marble – mix of a sea salt, resin & coal powder! It not only looks exactly as marble, but it’s also sturdy.
Cane, Rattan, Bamboo & Cork
Cane, rattan, and bamboo are often used as the base of a table or as chairs while cork can be even used as a flooring and accent wall treatment. While at times they share a similar look, each have a unique texture and should be considered deliberately.
Cane and rattan come from the same plant while bamboo is a different varietal and is fastest-growing & hollow, making it in the least flexible and hardest of the tree, while rattan is strong yet flexible and often shaped into uniquely designed furniture.
As you can see, they can be beautifully incorporated into contemporary designs.
How Organic Materials Enhance Modern Designs
We talked a bit about where to incorporate natural materials and contemporary design into the living environment, but let’s discuss how to use them to enhance the natural feel of your home.
Walls, Floors & Countertops
One way to make excellent use of natural materials is in walls, flooring, and countertops. These are particularly well-suited for exotic stones and unique marbles, but those are not the only organic materials that are being used in modern design. Rammed earth is a popular sustainable ancient technique using natural materials such as clay, and lime for walls and floors since it has a great capacity for thermal storage and it can form a beautiful contemporary design as well.
Bamboo is also a great alternative to wood for building all kinds of structures from walls to flooring and countertops, also because it grows fast, and just like cork or even mycelium can be used as a construction material that is completely compostable, stronger than concrete, and a better insulator than fiberglass.
With these construction materials for walls, flooring, and countertops, we can’t only create stylish modern designs, we can feel good about using sustainable organic materials too!
One-of-a-kind Furniture Pieces
Another way to use organic materials as part of your modern design is with one-of-a-kind furniture pieces or by incorporating decoration as part of a showcase wall art gallery. From furniture made from recycled materials to pieces made from hemp, mycelium, mushroom fungus, bamboo, carbon-friendly cotton, or salted marble, you’ll find a growing number of choices for stylish modern furniture that’s both organic and sustainable.
Organic Wall Gallery Pieces
For organic wall art ideas, you might think about macrame planters filled with either fresh or high-quality faux blooms. Baskets made from natural materials can also form part of your wall decorations as can prints of natural elements like leaves, animals, or flowers. You can even include wood, concrete, or bamboo paneling as part of the design.
Going organic to create your contemporary interior spaces is not only a beautiful way to bring the natural environment indoors, it’s even good for your physical and mental health. Check out Part 1 of this article, The Art of Organic Contemporary Design, for more information on how it improves your mood, energy, and even your mental clarity.
It’s easier than ever to create unique interior spaces using natural and organic design elements. At Brana Designs, our goal is to help you design and create the kind of space that expresses the true you, and using organic elements to do that is a beautiful, modern way to sustainably design spaces where you will feel most at home.
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Through the Discovery Posts I offer some insight into my interior design experience and perspective. We will discuss the real-estate market, ”behind the scenes” of our projects, design trends, and also offer a view of places that you may not have seen before.