Sustainable Luxury: Curtis Furniture’s Journey Toward Eco-Friendly Hotel Interiors

Curtis Furniture applauds the organic design narrative. We take the opportunity to speak with Jason Platten, head of design at UK hotel bedroom furniture supplier Curtis Furniture, about how sustainability does not have to come at the expense of luxury.

Once more of a political or CSR trend, sustainability is now standard practice, and its incorporation into luxury hotel interiors is being simplified by contemporary design trends.

Ember Locke, South Kensington, London

Industrial and rustic, minimalist Scandinavian aesthetics particularly lend themselves to the use of sustainable materials such as recycled metal for suspended ceiling features and room dividers, reclaimed wood for furniture, flooring or shelving, and jute for rugs.

Interior designers are being inspired by the natural world and bringing the outside in. Take the Treehouse hotel, Manchester’s latest luxury venue, for example. Here, the use of wavey edge timber tops, reclaimed and mixed-use timber cabinets, Norwegian spruce shelving and genuine tree branches that run floor to ceiling take the organic design narrative to a whole new level, located within a brutalist concrete structure.

The Other House, London

This re-connect with the natural world became more apparent during Covid which encouraged society as a whole to start to seriously question our footprint on the planet, probably due to people spending more time at home.

This spilled over into the hotel furniture industry, with a significant increase in the use of both recycled and sustainable materials. Hotel interiors are being inspired by the natural world, essentially bringing the outside in, with themes that are becoming ‘greener’ in design from the outset.

Architects and interior designers, the true visionaries when designing a space, now need to consider selection of materials, their embodied energy, recycling and re-use potential, and to design for longevity.  While they are the most influential in this process, other sources include contractors and clients.

Curtis, Manufacturing in Leeds, UK

FSC accreditation, such as Curtis has, is an enormous advantage for clients looking to meet high environmental standards. Contractors, architects and hoteliers are more conscious of where their materials come from, and they are specifying ‘greener’ materials from the start, so over the past couple of years, the hotel industry has seen a marked increased requirement in sustainably resourced materials.

Curtis already has a long history of supplying well engineered products in its hotel bedroom furniture from the start to finish. But in addition to this, during the design process, the company ensures it is also achieving optimal usage from the raw materials in an effort to reduce waste. Any off-cuts that are too small to use get chipped up and collected for either recycling into fresh materials, or instead go to local farmers for agricultural use.

Green “credentials” are earned beyond the product itself, with lighting throughout the factory dimming automatically when levels of natural light through the roof panels increase. This attention to detail in sustainability is what specifiers are looking for in addition to a product’s green performance.

Curtis, Manufacturing in Leeds, UK

Another emerging trend, of hotel guests preferring to spend more time in their rooms than the lobby or bar, is not only requiring a more flexible bedroom environment, but also products that can withstand this extra usage. Many of Curtis’ clients have been returning for over a decade providing testimony to the robustness and longevity of the furniture.

The vast majority, some 80%, of Curtis product is timber based, much of it utilising a chip board core produced from recycled materials, but this manufacturer would welcome using other materials like cork and bamboo if they were specified.

Luxury and sustainability do not have to be mutually exclusive. Designers can create beautiful, high-end spaces that are both stylish and environmentally by easily incorporating sustainable materials into luxury interior design projects.

So, it’s becoming obvious that while that specifying sustainable materials for the luxury interiors of hotel design projects may seem like a contradiction, in reality, they can complement each other beautifully.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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