Leigh-Ann is the talent behind Ambient Creative. Her focus is to bring meaningfulness and mindfulness when building a home and to bring attention to the impact we have on the environment.
She has an extensive career in design having worked for Elle Decoration Magazine and as the founder and art director of the digital journal "Artisan Magazine". Now, she has decided to combine her passion for a sustainable lifestyle with her passion for design and interiors to create Ambient Creative.
We talk to Leigh-Ann for insights on simple and effective solutions for an environmentally friendly home.
What inspired you to pursue a career in interior design focusing on sustainability?
Throughout my career, I have used design to solve problems for clients. I decided to shift my design focus to architectural environments because these are places we live in and experience every day of our lives.
The question that continually leads me to new and exciting ideas, people, products and materials is: how can we use our environments to live in a meaningful way? A way that fosters positive emotions, thoughts and behaviors, and which does not deplete the earth of its finite resources?
Today designers have a responsibility to fully understand the social and environmental impacts of what we design.
You know that our mission at Caeli is to encourage people to create spaces where they feel relaxed and inspired, but without forgetting the planet. When thinking about a sustainable home, where is the best place to start?
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is a way of looking at products and materials from 'cradle to grave' by evaluating how are they made, transported, used, recycled and disposed of, with the aim of making more informed choices about their environmental and cultural friendliness. Any product that one purchases represents and supports a set of values or way of life. Ask yourself: "what are these and do they align with what I value and want to foster in society?"
More and more businesses are becoming transparent about how, where and who makes their products. Many companies are having their products or materials audited and certified by third parties to make it easy for consumers to make informed, thoughtful choices and ensure sustainability.
What small changes can we incorporate to make our home more sustainable?
Start with your circle of influence. We all have agency. We can all do something, and we can all do more to conserve cultural and environmental resources.
Think about what impact your behaviours - daily habits, routines and rituals - might have. Think about products that you buy and use; especially those consumed regularly.
If you are building or renovating, think about the materials used to create your home. Some examples of good materials would be bamboo, timber, cork, wool, or flax. You can also use recycled and recyclable materials such as recycled bricks from building sites, recycled timber, glass, certified timber and carbon neutral or carbon negative materials such as hempcrete and lime.
I also recommend designs that are multifunctional. When I suggest furniture for clients I always try and find a multi-purpose solution - can we find one piece of furniture that can have two or more functions? This principle can be applied in may contexts and can reduce the number of objects we have in our homes, and we need to mantain.
This is excellent advice. And how can we create a home that increases our well-being?
We are embodied beings and we experience the world first through our senses. What we hear, see and touch has an enormous impact on our mood and mental state. Scents, materials and the light we use enter into our subconscious and affect how we feel and think - use them to encourage a calm and creative state.
We also crave connection. Create meaning in your space by choosing materials or objects that hold personal value. This will enhance a sense of connection to a place and people that are dear to you.
Next week we continue our talk with Leigh-Ann about senses and how to use them when creating a space. Don't miss it!