Natural and Urban Inspiration

January, 2018

How a designer chooses the material he or she is going to work with is very much defined by the environment that they are looking to create and inspired by the world around them; both the natural and the urban, materials expert Adele Orcajada explains.


Materials have always been a great starting point when looking for inspiration at the beginning of any creative project. They have the power to connect to our emotions, conditioning the way we feel and the way we interact with our surroundings. Behind every texture, there is a story and thread that leads us back to its origin, allowing us to consciously or unconsciously engage with our heritage and community. How a designer chooses the material he or she is going to work with is very much defined by the environment that they are looking to create and inspired by the world around them; both the natural and the urban.

Biophilic design is a strong trend now, as the need to bring nature into our households and workplaces is growing stronger. An awareness of our wellbeing means we are striving to create spaces that help our bodies and minds be healthier. Earthy browns and mossy greens create a strong fresh style with layered and irregular patters that reflect nature. Fabrics like crushed velvets and worn leathers, combined with materials such as wood, cork and unglazed ceramic create a calm space to relax and reconnect to the soothing sensations of their textures.

Good examples of how nature has inspired walling, furnishing and flooring are not hard to find.

Another way to enliven your environments is by setting up a moss wall. These transmit calm, and freshness and such vibrancy and colour that you will feel you are in the middle of the countryside. Moss is a kind of lichen that is an ancestral plant form and is sustainably grown. The moss is preserved and dyed using non-toxic resins before being placed onto full panels or into intricate designs that create small accents of spongy green. Plus, as a bonus, they are great sound absorbents.

A number of ranges in the Duraflor Freedom Collection take their inspiration from the natural environment, whether it is Bark, Rainfall or Storm, each of these ranges picks up on the specific properties, feel or design textures these natural elements invoke.

But it’s not only the natural environments that inspire designers when creating a new space. More than half of the world´s population lives in cities, so it makes sense that designers and artists would find a recurrent source of inspiration in them. With the industrial revolution came the mass production of steel, cast iron, and brick; man made materials that we closely identify with the urban landscape. This trend can be seen in commercial places such as cafes, shopping malls, and restaurants as well as in residential homes. Exposed ceilings showing off copper tubes, or a weathered brick walls create an industrial vibe that is sleek and very downtown.

The last two ranges in the five ranges, which make up the new Freedom Collection are Compound and Pavement. Both blend seamlessly with the structures and design patterns found in the cityscapes that surround us.

Be it natural or urban, bringing these elements into your office space is a wonderful way to give a space a new dimension and blur the boundaries between the inside and outside world.

Guest blog by Adele Orcajada – a specialist materials consultant [email protected]

Feature image inspired by nature – from the Duraflor Freedom: Bark Range

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