Ask a designer: how to do chic, eco-friendly Christmas décor

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013. Filed under: Christmas Environment Holidays Home & Garden
Industrial designer Sandra Lindner ©Courtesy of Sandra Lindner

Industrial designer Sandra Lindner
©Courtesy of Sandra Lindner

(Relaxnews) – Looking for ideas to make your holiday interior décor festive, chic and also environmentally friendly isn’t always easy. We talk to German industrial designer Sandra Lindner, whose wooden X-mas Tree has become a staple of eco-friendly design, about how best to approach the party season.

What was the inspiration behind the design of your X-mas Tree?

It was crafted for friends and family, when I was looking for an ecologically friendly present to offer. I wanted to create something reusable that you would never dare to throw away — something you wouldn’t get bored of seeing, year after year. I had some 12 meter timber blocks in my workshop and two days later I had three slightly different prototypes. It was the perfect gift which became the perfect product!

What does “sustainable design” mean to you?

I try to adopt as sustainable an approach as possible. I focus on using only a few materials, and materials that either last forever or that can be re-used or recycled with little effort.

You collaborate with local physically and mentally challenged workers in Hamburg to create the pieces…

As a student I was looking for a good production place. I saw quite a few but there was always something missing; I wanted something with heart, a place with fair conditions for humanity and the environment. I found the best conditions at the handicapped workshop. The workers are very sensitive, they care about how they handle the material and meet production requirements. They always give you the biggest smile — it means a lot to me to know that they are integrating and taking part in the daily process of our working society.

What advice do you have for keeping interior décor eco-friendly this Christmas?

X-mas Tree by Sandra Lindner ©Courtesy of Andreas Wemheuer

X-mas Tree by Sandra Lindner
©Courtesy of Andreas Wemheuer

Only use edible items! Apples, nuts, pomegranates and dried fruits are all great. Arrange apples and fir cones in a contemporary metal garden basket or display some Star anises between nuts on the table. Roughly cleaved firewood is great for creating mini statues of Santa Claus or forest animals; use smaller sticks for arms and legs. Origami decorations can be lovely — look out for nice paper, wrappers or packaging to make them with. And remember that the best eco-friendly giftwrap will always be newspaper, but if you have to buy wrapping paper then choose something that you yourself would like to use over and over.

What is the secret to stylish interior décor at Christmastime?

Focus on one area of your home and treat that spot as the central stage. Choose a main color and break it with a complementary color. For example, a bitter chocolate brown slashed with some purple and a tiny flash of green. Dark petrol and mustard yellow broken up with copper tones can work really well too.

Big, wild branches can be fantastic — either pinned to the wall or in a huge floor vase. Load them up with your favorite items — snapshots, decorative items, whatever you like! “Stylish” deco should be whatever makes you smile.

How do you decorate your home during the festive season?

I have a passion for antique Christmas decorations. It started with a tiny cardboard box I inherited from my family, containing a mixed collection dating back to my grandparents. Over the years I have added additional vintage items to “Grandma’s box” and I use them loosely around my space.

Sandra Lindner is a German industrial designer whose creations have been used by Sir Terence Conran. In 2007 she won the Elle Decoration Newcomer Award. For more information, visit www.lindnerimnorden.com

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