Designers look to nature, landfills for new decor materials

At first glance, Nina Edwards Anker’s sconces and chandeliers look like ancient scrolls of parchment or sheets of buttery toffee wrapped around LED bulbs. They’re actually made of dried algae. And Anker doesn’t disguise it. Her shades for lighting have the imperfections of their natural state. The honey-toned translucent colors are rich. The designer says she wants to keep the integrity of the material and display its unique properties. She is just one of many designers in home decor and fashion who are thinking beyond traditional materials. They’re finding ways to meld design with sustainable sourcing and production methods. New materials for textiles, tiles and more include cork, cactus, mushrooms and recycled plastic, to name just some.