Sustainable Style

Design Works International creative director Nancy Fire shares her must-see eco-friendly showrooms

Many of us are rethinking the spaces in which we live. More time spent at home has led us to reboot and rediscover what is important. For some, working from home has shifted our priorities. Since our homes contain all of our belongings, this moment to reimagine is a great time to start surrounding ourselves with sustainable and eco-friendly products that can improve our quality of life.

Attending High Point Market as a 2020 Style Spotter, I was most excited by the rich array of sustainable product designs I came across. The range of sustainable substrates was broad. The design aesthetic was varied. And the intent to commit to an eco-friendly future was key.

For Palecek, this commitment is not new. They have focused on sustainable and handcrafted furnishings and accessories for almost fifty years. Inspired by natural materials like petrified wood, rattan, abaca, seagrass and coconut shells, Palecek is still on the forefront of designing with sustainable substrates.


Phillips Collection is known for their green pledge in product design. True to their “every piece a conversation” motto, their award-winning, organic contemporary furnishings are a must see. On this visit, I gravitated toward the Atlas Collection. Constructed of chamcha wood and metal, this clever assortment of sustainable accessories depicts figures holding the weight of the world on their shoulders. The theme plays out in small figurines, one of a kind artworks, and furniture.

Phillips Collection

New to my bucket list was the Kara Mann Collection for McGuire. Handcrafted by artisans, the collection expresses a relaxed, earthy and cozy aesthetic that is refined yet casual. The unique designs are composed of high-texture materials, vintage proportions, low seating, and pure solid forms. This inaugural offering from designer Kara Mann represents the best of vintage design, re-imagined for modern life. The use of leather cording, raffia, rattan and natural stone adds the sustainable edge.


I am honored to be a part of a sustainable collaboration with Prestige Arts via Studio NYC Design, my line of licensed products. The nature-inspired images are printed on recycled cardboard that would otherwise end up in landfills. The frames are made of non-formaldehyde MDF board. In constructing this sustainable product, wood fibers and wax are bonded at high temperature and pressure using a zero-formaldehyde glue called Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate (MDI). Among the benefits of MDI are that you need much less glue. Plus, it is inert, meaning that it does not offgas. So, it does not emit any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your home.

Prestige Arts

Prestige Arts

In their sophisticated collection of home decor products, Arteriors leverages artisan techniques to bring their products to life. Interpreting their inspirations through handcrafted metalwork and finish techniques, they bring us a collection both beautiful and sustainable. From raw edges and etched glass to exposed wood grains and thoughtful design details, the Arteriors showroom in High Point is always breathtaking – and is becoming more sustainable each Market.




The shift in consumer values toward sustainability is well established and gaining momentum. I expect to see more forward-thinking companies offering designs that are mindful in their material choices, manufacturing processes, and transportation footprint from sourcing to selling.

From my perspective as the 2020 Style Spotters participant who focused on sustainability, we are starting to rethink and rediscover what is important. As our new normal lifestyle unfolds, I think more of us will choose solutions that reduce our carbon footprint, and will gravitate toward more eco-friendly products as part of a more mindful lifestyle.

One of my favorite quotes from the Sustainable Furnishings Council is, “The time is now – the solution starts with you!” When you’re looking to contribute to the solution through your product selections, these High Point showrooms are a great place to start.

About Nancy Fire

Co-founder and creative director of Design Works International, Nancy has built her expertise over almost three decades of practice. The firm, a multi-discipline design studio in New York City, specializes in original textile design, trend development, color, and bespoke consulting services. Nancy’s work involves exploring and developing lifestyle trends, creating original print and pattern designs, and consulting with brands to capitalize on today’s ever-changing global market.