Curious Trends


Micro level eco-design

Eco-friendly practicality is less of a curious trend and more of an accepted norm these days, as more and more of us make a special effort to go green, but rarely is the term associated with aesthetically pleasing design.

Conditions may be more conducive to stylish eco-design on some parts of our planet, where the climate allows mankind to be a little more at one with nature. Many of the Caribbean islands, for instance, have a history of using local materials and resources to create idyllic oases for visiting tourists.

One of the earliest examples, Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands, was transformed in the early 1960s from a sleepy agricultural community to conform to its philanthropic owner, Laurence Rockerfeller’s ideals of ‘the earth in balance’.

Recently developed luxury resorts have followed the design principles set by early pioneers of green construction, landscaping and interiors - but it’s still the little touches of eco-friendly style that make a holiday at any resort special..

Here are some practical examples of eco-awareness, recycling and slow design from the Galley Bay resort in Antigua,  that look as good as the benefits they bring, and may serve as inspiration for eco-design ideas in other parts of the world.

Roofs made from local materials are easily patched up or repaired when they wear out. Designed to keep out the heat of the sun, these make dining (above) and a game of ping pong (left) a little less sticky.

London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, would be proud of this eco-friendly bike shed overlooking a salt water lagoon and a bird sanctuary.

And there's a also a fresh water lake, where purer than drinking quality water is created by a process of reverse osmosis.

Ecology isn’t compromised by much here – even the doors of the resort boutique are made from eco-friendly bamboo – in a somewhat retro, Far Eastern style.

There’s attention to detail in all manner of containers too, from the cleverly camouflaged water cooler outside a quirky little gym, to the recycled coconut shell plant holders. And, at one of the restaurants, tables are decorated with unique glass candle jars, hand painted with pretty floral designs.

The curiously hot local sauces are kept in recycled bottles too – which, if you’re a fan of retro style is perfect – though some guests may be alarmed by the long expired 'use by' dates.

Local curiosities of nature also seem to have found some rather handy eco-friendly containers – like this hermit crab’s ‘statement’ shell.

Attention to detail and consideration for the local environment are a step in the right direction. But touches that are as stylish as they are practical and environmentally sound are what makes a resort a leader in eco-friendly style.

I've noticed a lot of simple, but effective looking, eco-ideas coming through in  interiors and lifestyle trends over the past couple of years. However, I'm not sure why we don't employ more micro level design concepts in practice in our urban spaces and cities...  It's curious that we don't seem to show the same level of respect for our environment all year round as we do when we're on holiday.
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