a philosophical framework for design. / by megan norgate

eco interiors, sustainable interior design, sustainable interiors

The design industry is rife with unnecessary waste and over-consumption.
BRAVE NEW ECO believes that good design can create beautiful, environmentally-resilient spaces that foster human health and happiness. We don't work with empty gestures - the changes we specify must have the substance and the style. This is not always easy, so we have done a lot of thinking about this, and using the Permaculture ethics and principles as our starting point have created a philosophical framework that guides our decision-making process and ensures positive outcomes.

BRAVE NEW ECO'S Design Objectives:

  • Produce no waste and re-purpose other's waste
  • Work with the surrounding environment
  • Make the least change for the maximum ecological gain
  • Co-operate - don’t compete - with existing elements
  • Preserve, regenerate and extend what exists already
  • Consume less of a greater quality
  • Build and design for the entire life cycle
  • Support sustainable products and manufacturing
  • Future proof: design for diverse use and changing needs
  • Consider embodied energy and life cycle assessment
  • Design for resource scarcity
  • Harvest and dispose of water on-site
  • Generate energy on-site by renewable means
  • Increase biological diversity
  • Create physical environments beneficial for human health and psychological wellbeing
  • Find solutions within problems

We WORK TOWARDS this by being:

Resourceful – Frugality is at the heart of our design approach. We make the least possible change for the biggest possible impact. We use what we have around us first and see potential in everything.

Analytical – We research and evaluate all of our designs and specifications for function, suitability and environmental impact. We understand the scientific, economic and ecological background behind our decisions.

Aesthetic – We are allergic to ugliness. It is impossible for us to create something ugly.

Holistic – We design in a social context. We are working to a bigger picture of how humans will live in the future. We integrate many diverse concerns in a single solution.

Generous – We are part of the solution. We share our knowledge openly. We seek constantly to understand how design can justify itself and support the environment while cultivating a better way of living.


·      Autonomous. They function with minimal input of materials and energy.

·      Adaptive. Can be changed over time to suit diverse uses, changing climate and technologies.

·      Engaging. They encourage human-to-human and human-to-nature interaction. It’s about being positive about the world we live in.

·      Organic. We favour materials that do not cause harm to humans or the environment.

·      Ecologically active. Our designs incorporate living ecologies and respond intimately to the surrounding environment.


·      Intergenerational equity. Using a minimum of resources so that future generations can prosper.

·      Humanity’s ecological imperative. Humans must embrace a more symbiotic role with nature and contribute to a healthy ecology.

·      Facilitating social change. By eradicating wasteful and inefficient use of resources we can reduce human consumption.

·      Empowerment and Education. We want to help households build resources and skills so they can adapt to change.

·      Economic security and feasibility. Designing for optimum efficiency provides protection from future scarcity of resources and increased costs.