Designing for hospitality: Sustainable design with Hill Cross Furniture at The Boathouse, Guildford

Hill Cross Furniture, a market-leading, family-owned company, has been at the forefront of sourcing, supplying, and manufacturing high-quality contract grade furniture for over 24 years. Founded to meet the growing demand for premium contract furniture in the hospitality and healthcare markets, Hill Cross operates internationally from their farm in the picturesque North Yorkshire countryside.

Hannah Evans, Director of Client Experience at Hill Cross Furniture leads the conversation on sustainability 

Hannah Evans, Director of Client Experience at Hill Cross Furniture recently joined a panel of industry experts at new co-working and events space, The Boathouse, to discuss how commercial interiors can be more sustainable in the world of hospitality. 

Themes included the importance of a material-first approach in reducing the impact of a site; why a holistic vision is needed for sustainable design; and how artisans can bring both sustainability and storytelling to a space.

The Boathouse Cafe. Photography by Trish Henderson

The Boathouse is an 8,000 sq ft commercial building, housing a co-working, community and events space, as well as a riverside restaurant café. The interior was designed and created by creative studio Raw Clay, with a focus on sustainable materials. Raw Clay is a sustainable interior design and branding studio specializing in food, drink, and accommodation, creating cohesive and inspiring brands by delving into origins, culture, and emotions. Their holistic approach uses natural materials to craft spaces that age gracefully, celebrating patina, texture, and character while ensuring a positive impact on people, planet, and profit.

Hannah was joined on the panel by Bekki Stovell, Creative Director at Raw Clay, Abbi Greenland, Interior Designer at Raw Clay,  Sustainability Innovator Mark Shayler, Jessica Meins, Creative Director at The Boathouse, artisan ceramicist Gabby Smith, and Megan Grace from sustainable flooring company Ted Todd.

The Boathouse Cafe. Photography by Trish Henderson

Hannah said: 

“It is such an important topic. Thanks to Raw Clay for inviting me to speak at the event and for commissioning us to supply a wide variety of furniture for the project. It was a great opportunity for people to experience first hand the ethos of The Boathouse’s design while discovering more about where to start when making interiors more sustainable.”

The Boathouse Cafe. Photography by Trish Henderson

Bekki Stovell, commented: 

“We’d love to see more hospitality brands prioritising sustainability when designing their spaces and for that to eventually become the standard when opening new sites. This event was a great opportunity to open up a conversation about what is possible within the industry and to share an insight into the ways we embed sustainability into every decision we make as a design studio. The Boathouse is a great example of what can be achieved when a client builds their brief around sustainability and longevity and when the whole team is aligned in their ethos.

The audience put some excellent questions to the panel and prompted a lot of discussion around innovative materials such as mycelium and fruit leathers, as well as the importance of finding contractors who understand, and value, what you’re trying to achieve.”

The Boathouse Cafe. Photography by Trish Henderson

Find Hill Cross on Supplier Finder

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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