From now on, it’s perfectly acceptable to describe a pair of trainers or a handbag as a ‘fruity little number’. Piñatex is a new, animal-friendly alternative to leather, made from recycled pineapple leaves. The ingenious substance is sustainable, as the leaves are a by-product of the pineapple harvest in the Philippines, with an estimated 40,000 tonnes of the waste generated each year. The strands of the leaves are separated and felted together to make the woven fabric – which can then be used for clothes, footwear or furniture. Developed by designer Carmen Hijosa, CEO of London company, Ananas Anam, Piñatex is a new material for a new world.
When Sir Ranulph Fiennes describes what you’ve done as “an example of great determination”, you know you’re doing well. Ash Dykes, nominated for ‘National Adventurer of the Year’ for 2016, is a world record holder for becoming the first person to complete a solo and unsupported trek across Mongolia, and also for becoming the first person to traverse the entire length of Madagascar, including eight of its highest mountains. During his Madagascar trek, which he completed in February, Ash contracted the worst strain of malaria, had to avoid bandits, was bitten by a spider, had to hack through impenetrable jungle, was nearly washed away in a crocodile-infested river and had to create his own raft from natural resources. Nevertheless, he managed the 1,600 miles in 155 days. When he’s not adventuring, he’s inspiring others with his tales.
From his workshop in Cornwall, designer Tom Raffield creates beautiful, contemporary furniture and lighting using the traditional process of steam-bending. “The first time I worked with steam-bending was when I was at university in Falmouth,” Tom explains, “and it felt completely magical for me. I just could not believe what you can do with this process.” The award-winning products are made from sustainably-sourced timber and the method itself is eco-friendly. “There is no nasty glue used in our products,” Tom says, “it’s just steam – like the steam you get from a boiling kettle, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s unbelievably sustainable when you think about the few processes that are involved in achieving that bend; all you need is water and heat.” Each product is hand-made in the workshop by skilled craftsmen and individually finished in the manner of a work of art, creating unique, long-lasting pieces that are designed to be cherished.
Upcycling is very much a part of the furniture at The Rosebery Hotel in Jesmond, Newcastle. Owner Janet Stansfield took on the reponsibility of refurbishing her family hotel, lovingly decorating each room with vintage interiors to create a charming, boutique place to stay. Janet teams her passion for upcycling with a savvy knowledge of the best antique fairs and reclamation yards to go to for furniture that can be restored by local craftspeople. Always keen on finding a bargain, yet devoted to the highest-quality designer fabrics, paints and furniture, she uses techniques such as powder-coating to give furniture a new lease of life, all adding to the hotel’s eclectic mix. Janet has succeeded in using her own resourceful nature to create a hotel that’s luxurious, yet wins visitors’ hearts with its quirky, individual style.
Ever struggled when on holiday or working with people in other countries and wished you could live in a world without language barriers? The Waverly Pilot is an in-ear device that could enable you to do exactly that. The astonishing resource is the world’s first smart earpiece – a piece of wearable technology which translates between users speaking different languages. Two years of research and development went into creating the Pilot, which works offline to transform the language you hear into the language of your choice, meaning those awkward moments of miscommunication could be a thing of the past! It also has a second earpiece to wirelessly stream music or to share with the person you’re speaking to. The Pilot is being crowdfunded via Indiegogo and is expected to be available in May 2017.
Recognising the necessity for businesses to actively work on improving the environment, Vauxhall has continued to contribute to the Heart of England forest near Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, with employees planting more than 1,000 trees over the past two years. Through its Corporate Social Responsibility programme, Vauxhall is also planning a ‘mass planting’ of trees in the autumn, encouraging its undergraduate and apprentice population to plant an ambitious 15,000 trees in one day. Karen Woodgate, Partnerships Director at the Heart of England forest, said: “Vauxhall’s support is significant and will make both an immediate and long-term difference; together we are planting tomorrow’s great native woodland, creating a wonderful natural resource and future national asset.”