Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Urban Eco Chic author and green designer Oliver Heath traces his commitment to the environment back to childhood.

Growing up in Brighton (on the South Coast of England) meant that I spent a lot of time as a child at the beach, even though the sea is pretty cold over here. Seeing rubbish and pollution wash up on the shore was always upsetting for me and so stuck in my memory. As I grew up I became a fanatical sailor and windsurfer, and whilst at university studying architecture I spent my glorious summer vacations working as a windsurfing instructor in Brighton. I taught my students how to respect the sea, the weather, how to look after themselves and learn how to make the most of it all by windsurfing.

These important lessons combined with my studies of the built environment (all 6 years of them!) to create a fascination with architecture and design that works with the forces of nature rather than against it - trying to shut nature out.

As my career took on a media angle I felt it important to discuss the issues in design that were important to contemporary living – and in my mind this was to focus on sustainable design. Now more and more we are seeing the issue of sustainable architecture being brought to the fore and I felt it was important to show how interiors could reflect this shift- to do their bit to reduce our environmental foot print, through well considered design and behavioral change, without compromising on style – naturally! Now the many stands of my work focus on designing aspirational sustainability- to create spaces that are first and foremost, beautiful, functional and inherently green.

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