Preview: Vegan Interior Design Week will highlight “a new wave” of plant-based design

The five-day virtual conference aims to make a “more tight-knit” vegan design community, through talks, exhibitors and networking.

A virtual conference dedicated to “ending animal exploitation” in design will take place in November.

Vegan Interior Design Week will be a five-day online event, featuring more than 30 international speakers across panel discussions, a virtual showroom and networking sessions.

Malai Eco, makers of coconut leather

“I discovered a whole new wave of vegan textiles”

The event is the brainchild of interior architect and animal rights activist Aline Dürr. Dürr has previously written a book on the subject, and says the research for it is where the inspiration for Vegan Interior Design Week came from.

“I discovered a whole new wave of vegan textiles and materials, as well as many vegan interior designers scattered all over the world,” she says. A lot were “quietly” trying to incorporate their vegan values into their work, while others were more outspoken.

But despite there being many working towards the same goal, Dürr says there was no real sense of a “worldwide community” – something she says is crucial for an effective movement.

“As an industry, we need to cut out all animal products in interior design – not only from an ethical point of view but with the environment and people’s health in mind as well,” she says. “In order for vegan interior design to really take off and follow in food’s and fashion’s footsteps, we need more people asking more questions.”

The aim of this inaugural Vegan Interior Design Week then is to establish a platform to ask these questions, she says, and hopefully get some answers.

Flocus, a brand that makes textiles from kapok tree fibres

“We need more demand”

One of the panel discussions slated for November will discuss the broad question of veganism as a growing trend within design. Vegan interior design is experiencing a rise, Dürr says, with things like vegan wall paints, furniture ranges and “bio-derived materials” like those made from fruits and plants.

But, she says, much of the forward momentum is in the supplier and manufacturing side. Consumer demand is a tougher question to answer.

“When people turn vegan, it usually starts with changing their diet, and then they move onto personal care products and fashion,” she explains. “For many vegans, it stops there as they are not necessarily aware of all the hidden animal products in their homes.”

In the same vein, client demand for vegan design is relatively small (“but growing,” Dürr says). “We need more demand for vegan furniture, materials and finishes,” she says, and more manufacturers to provide them.

Mogu, a tile brand that uses mycelium and bio-based resin

“My hope is that this event will create very powerful connections”

A free event, Dürr says the goal is to have “everyone who lives, works, eats or sleeps in a space” attending and learning. She says vegan or not, the event will provide insight for interior designers, suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, property developers and even end consumers. The reason for this is that these are issues that “concern us all”.

The event will have several different elements to help in this regard. Alongside “five or six” pre-recorder talks released per day, there will be one live panel discussion daily.

Finally, exhibitors will have virtual booths that will be available and accessible for the entire conference. She says exhibitors and their wares will range from vegan leather to wall paint suppliers and feather-free duvet producers.

All of this will be underpinned by daily networking “speed networking sessions”, the aim of which Dürr says is to create a “more tight-knit vegan interior design community”. “I can see that people are starting to work together already,” she says. “My hope is that this event will create very powerful connections and alliances that will help to fast forward vegan interior design globally.”

Ammique, a bed manufacturer that offers a nature-based mattress-free sleep system

For more information about Vegan Interior Design Week (1-5 November 2021), head to the event website.

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