Back to blog

Back to front design

Sustainable design, circular thinking and a healthy respect for the scope of repurposed and upcycled materials is infiltrating design on many levels.

With sustainable concepts close to our heart and always on our radar, we took a moment to admire the dedicated and considered approach to both interior design and dining championed by Silo, a zero-waste restaurant in east London.

Image: Sam A Harris

The restaurant, which is headed up by chef Douglas McMaster, sets out to create zero-waste and close the loop on food production processes.

The idea began with Dutch-born Joost Bakker (a proponent of a multitude of sustainable design practices) who proposed the idea of ‘not having a bin’.  This inspired Silo’s chef and owner to create a restaurant concept from back to front, building the business to become the world’s first zero-waste restaurant.

Image: Sam A Harris

A desire to innovate the food industry whilst demonstrating respect became the driving force: respect for the environment, respect for the way our food is generated and respect for the nourishment given to our bodies.

This means they create everything from its whole form, cutting out food miles and over-processing, whilst preserving nutrients and the integrity of the ingredients in the process, and to uphold their enviable credentials throughout the entire process, a compost machine set inside Silo turns any of the restaurant scraps and trimmings directly into a compost used to produce more food…closing the loop.

Image: Sam A Harris

Translating this approach into interior design, the restaurant furniture and fittings by design studio Nina+Co were created from a desire to re-use, choosing up-cycling before recycling.

Furniture is made from materials that would otherwise have been wasted, crafted with innovation to serve a function. Plates are formed from plastic bags, tables from reconstituted food packaging and crockery is made from crushed wine bottles.

Mycelium, which is the vegetative part of fungi, has been used to create pendant lamps, tables and seating pouffes. This is the first application of the naturally designed furniture to a contract environment at this scale.

By applying circular thinking, utilising sustainable materials and considering how they will either biodegrade or be disassembled for repurposing in the future, we created a thoughtful interior that lives up to the elegance and integrity of the food.” Nina Woodcroft, founder of Nina+Co explains.

Dining tables are constructed from cylindrical legs crafted from sustainably-sourced ash wood finished with cork detailing and flecks of recycled plastic introducing texture to the surface.

Image: Clare Lewington

The restaurant’s wall lights – each one comprises a trio of circular dishes, at the centre of which is an exposed bulb – are made from glass wine bottles drunk during previous dinner services; crushed, moulded and kiln-fired by a local potter, the epitome of up-cycling.

Nina+Co had been hoping to take the use of unconventional materials even further “some of the innovative materials we hoped to incorporate, like potato waste bio-plastic, pine-needle fibreboard and seaweed fabrics are not yet ready for a commercial environment” but Silo indicates an industry taking notice.

Working with pioneers in the field, placing sustainable design at the top of the agenda and adopting a different viewpoint to materials, design and business concepts bodes well for creating demand, and building a future which embraces zero-waste in all walks of life…

Back to blog

Categories:LightingFurnitureInteriors & Lifestyle