Saturday, July 14, 2007

Natural Comfort and Green Design

Natural Comfort
The Benefits of Using Natural Fibers in Upholstered Furniture

by Lora Sharpe

The relaxing chair, the comfortable sofa, even the pillow you fluff up at night is more likely now than in decades before to be made of natural fibers.

Like the trend to more natural foods and more natural clothing, the desire for natural fibers and fillings in furniture stems from concerns for both the environment and our own comfort.

Furniture designer and builder Walter Heller, owner of Heller Furniture in the Boston Design Center, for example, touts the old-fashioned comfort of sofas stuffed with horsehair or down, covered with the softness of cotton or the richness of silk.

Silk bespeaks luxury, he says, and a sofa made the old-fashioned way just has more loft, making it more comfortable. But he’s also concerned about the environmental aspects of synthetics.

“I believe strongly in using natural materials, especially in mattress pads,” says Heller. Common sense and more than four decades of experience, he says, have convinced him that natural fibers and fillings are better for the human animal, a creature subject to allergies and sensitive to harsh materials. In a world where even the electric wires overhead are being anxiously reappraised, Heller questions whether we literally should surround ourselves every day with chemicals. Foam, for instance, which is used to shape much furniture today, is a mixture of chemicals that expand when heated.

Today’s consumer shares this environmental concern.


(This article was originally published in The Boston Globe, 9/26/93)

1 comment:

Bill said...

I agree, todays furniture is mostly man made products. Foam and dacron are long lasting in land fills. The old cotton, moss, hair and straw are all natural and better for the environment. Also I have yet to see down or horse hair or cotton batting ware out. Foam will in a few years,few months for cheep.

Bill Eisenberg