Monday, 1 October 2007


I love the design fairs at the moment because green is the new black (already a cliche!) and everyone is jumping on the eco bandwagon – in a good way, of course!!

Since I last blogged I’ve been to 100% Design
at Earl’s Court and the Landmark Eco Arts Fair. Over the next few weeks I will be writing about all the new green things I found there.

At the shows I get to see, touch and hold all the new green products coming onto the market and meet the people at the sharp pointy end of sustainable design.


100% DESIGN is a yearly show at Earl’s Court that I hope soon eclipses the IDEAL HOME SHOW. I’m with Alice in Wonderland who said something like “What a ridiculous design fair! I’m never going there again!” Why, oh why, did I waste my money on a ticket last March I will never know. It was two halls full of white vinyl conservatories and dodgy, non eco roof insulation salesmen and then upstairs on the balcony bit is a floor heaving with loud
Billy Mays type demonstrations of plastic gadgets that chop, dice and whiz all your foodie bits. You buy the Smasher/Grabber/Liquidiser whatever on a gadget adrenaline rush of mod-con-ness only to relegate the hideous thing to the back of the kitchen cupboard after two uses. Not stylish and NOT GREEN! Uch!!

You’ve all bought them. You know who your are.
Eco Warroiress says ‘Naughty, naughty. Don’t do it again!’

So, ANYway: last week, 100% Design was a breath of gorgeous fresh air. Not everyone was touting a green or sustainable design model, but many had the right idea…


I met Tim Bayes, the managing director of Low Info. His company makes poured concrete counter tops, sinks and furniture. I have long been touting the virtues of concrete as an eco design material because it is also amazingly versatile. You can stain it different colours and after it is polished or waxed it takes on the most beautiful look of stone. As it is poured in place or in the factory and then installed, there is very little waste like there is with granite, for instance.

I was so happy to meet Tim. LOW INFO is based in Nottingham so he is now my UK David Hertz. David has a green architect practise in Santa Monica and was my professor at UCLA. He invented a lightweight concrete called Syndecrete. He does clever things with it like put recycled glass chips in the concrete mix. In one case, they suspended broken bits of old tapes and CD's that had been smashed up by young people in an anger management programme. The tiles were used for the lobby of a recording studio in Venice CA!
Can you say SYNERGY?


My favourite find was a low energy light bulb that you can dim!! Friends of the Earth sponsored a bulb ‘light garden’ by DIGIFLUX. This is an eco interior designers DREAM because you are saving up to £100 ($204) and 500kg of carbon emissions during the life of each bulb while being able to create light in a room with some depth.

I learnt about the virtues of compact fluorescents at UCLA only to be told that they flickered slightly when switched on, were slightly less bright than the usual bulb and that they had only two modes – on and off! Now technology has caught up and they can be dimmed.
Oh joy.

All my friends and clients know I hate overhead lighting. I always go for table and floor lamps to give dimension and candles for atmosphere – organic soy or beeswax, of course, Sweetie. Ceiling spotlights are great, but the dimmable compact fluorescents are great news.

I emailed Caspar at Glowb and he assures me that they too have dimmable bulbs in their range for both classic and spotlights. So now there really is no excuse to switch to low energy bulbs all over the house and office.


The Landmark Eco Fair sponsored by the London Borough of Richmond was in a beautiful Gothic church that has been recycled into a performance and exhibition space.

I saw my friends Kate Keegan of One Green Earth and Sarah Louise Baulsch from Revampt there as well as Lisa Harland of Harland Organic Furnishings. These are my new best green friends and are already in my Little Green Book.

I also met Deborah and Michihiro from Charcoal People. They make charcoal bamboo filters that filter your drinking water and then fertilize the garden afterwards like the Japanese have been doing for centuries. Goodbye plastic Brita Water Filters and refills!!


And then there was Louise Zass-Bangham Eco Garden Design.
I’m always looking for fabulous landscape designers. Gardens are just an extension of our living space so it is important to make them fabulous and green in every sense of the word. Louise designs her gardens with all the eco elements in place and has written a book about Sustainable Landscape Design coming out in 2008.


At the Eco Fair I met two eco interior designers, Helen Mudie and Kate Millbank of One Eco Home who have compiled an encyclopedic catalogue of beautiful eco furniture and furnishings for your home.
Rather like Ellen Strickland at Livingreen in Culver City, CA all their suppliers have to answer a rigorous questionnaire on how green their product is and not all of them make the grade.
At One Eco Interiors, Kate has a masters degree in Environmental Architecture (not too shabby!) and awards each item symbols according to their carbon footprint, sustainability or recycled elements. They have done all the hard work for people like you and me so all we have to do is source, drool and buy!

Helen showed me the boxes of colour co-ordinated eco fabric and tiles that she has put together. Of course, as designers, we want you to employ our services to choose colours and textures for you, but as a start, you can take away one of her boxes (made from recycled cardboard that itself can be reused as a gift box!) full of gorgeous swatches that One Eco Interiors carries. At home, you can choose the ones you would like to use. I think this is a marvelous idea.

I haven’t worked out how to show comments people leave below the blog – you have to click on the ‘comments’ button to see them. Please do, there are some really good ones.....But I get feedback from my friends and blog readers all the time and I have started a list of them for you.

My friend Peter White and I met when we were filming TITANIC in Mexico in 1996. He is doing up a house in Greenwich and every so often when I have
the inclination and a free moment, I go over and strip for him – wallpaper, dears, I strip wallpaper - get your mind out of the gutter!!

The other night watching DIY SOS on BBC1 with the cheeky and charismatic Nick Knowles, Peter had this to say:

Alexandra my Dear,

The other night I while watching proper television I sat on my remote control and accidentally tuned into 'DIY SOS'. A man called Nick Knowles was doing a 'piece to camera'. He was standing in front of a builder's skip which appeared to be largely full of cardboard packaging. It struck me as odd that, while doing their refurbishment, they were adding a 'green' quotient, double glazing, insulation etc., and then promptly undoing it by dumping the recyclable packaging in a skip, (and from there one assumes to a landfill)!


Eco Warrioress says: The construction business is extremely wasteful. The build of an average 3 bedroom house can create about 2.5 tonnes of waste for the landfill. So much of that is the initial demo and then there is the packaging that radiators and kitchen cabinets and toilets all come in. I don’t think it takes a green genius to work out that you could have flattened those boxes and got them to a recycling centre.
Living in and around the TV and movie business in Los Angeles, I hear and see a lot of strange thought processes. My partner Rob’s first job in LA ten years ago was building sets. He was constantly frustrated by the amount of waste of wood and other materials during a shoot. Nothing is recycled. It takes too much time and money and those are key words in the film industry. One day a guy he worked with, 'Union Mike', sensing Rob's disquiet said : "Don't worry Rob, the movie industry only uses 2% of the world's wood!"
I guess Mike thought that was OK, since '2' is such a small number...

All my movie chums are writing in...

April Fitzsimmons and I know each other from MR HOLLAND’S OPUS. She was a Second AD on the film but has since become and actress. She has a very successful one woman show that she performs in and around Los Angeles called The Need To Know.

Alexandra - you probably already do this but I've found using all those plastic containers (the fruit sometimes comes in) or any plastic with a lid - is great, once washed out, for storing pens, pencils, boxes of staples etc. No need to buy those little organizing devices at Target anymore- just explore your trash - it's amazing!!! (I also use them to organize under the bathroom sink for hair clips, extra soaps, razors etc.

Thank you!
If you have any thoughts, observations or tips on living a greener life, please email me and I will post them here!


Spent a very pleasant tube journey or two reading THE LAZY ENVIRONMENTALIST. The book catalogues all the latest eco and green things you need for your green lifestyle. Travel, fashion, furniture, kids, food, you name it, he has it covered. Josh Dorfman wrote it [he also has a radio show on LIME Radio] and he has been featured in my GORGEOUS GREEN THINGS section before because he is the founder of VIVAVI and those lovely pieces of sustainable furniture.

Can’t wait to go and visit him when I go to NYC in November.

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