Sustainability: A Broken Record

NEWH partnered with CUBE™ to bring the commercial interior design industry a new event and documentary that delves into the true meaning of sustainability. Design Insider are proud supporters of this event, instigating important conversations and working with Commercial Interiors UK to bring leading designers and manufacturers together to continue the discussion.

A cold and rainy Monday evening was juxtaposed by the warmth of the hidden tropical oasis at the Barbican, providing the perfect backdrop for the event. The Grade II listed building, situated in the heart of the city, offered stunning views from The Conservatory, overlooking tropical plants climbing along the concrete interior – an interesting yet stark contrast, setting the tone for an evening exploring sustainability within the interior design industry.

After visitors arrived and drinks were poured, guests were asked to be seated in the cinema room to view the premier of CUBE™’s documentary film entitled ‘Sustainability: A Broken Record’. With interviews from various change makers in the industry, stating worrying facts but new initiatives, the documentary was both emotive and stirring. It was made clear from the beginning, that ‘sustainability’ has become a trend, with John Miller, Director of MARK Product highlighting that “it doesn’t mean anything anymore”. Jeremy Grove, Managing Director & Head of Design from Sibley Grove pointed out that along side this ‘trend’ “we’ve been living in this fictitious world of abundance over the past 20 years”. Rachel Hoolahan urges that “as a society, the consumption has to stop”.

The audience were taken on a journey, exploring the true meaning of sustainability, and the responsibility and impact that the interior design and manufacturing industry has. In a live panel discussion after the film, Owen Riseley, Lead Producer, Director & Editor at CUBE™, explained that “by looking at the relationships we have with each other and ourselves, we can influence the relationship we have with the planet”.

A live panel discussion was a great way for the audience to understand the documentary on a deeper level and allowed the interviewee’s a chance to further explain their statements with facts and real-life examples, digging into the tougher questions surrounding sustainability in business.

CEO & Founder of CUBE™ and host of the discussion, James Hakesley, asked what is holding businesses back from making these important changes. Richard Naylor, Group Sustainable Development Director at Hypnos Beds, a Commercial Interiors UK member, highlighted the battle between making sustainable choices and consumerism, explaining that value must be driven for the shareholders. Laying out Hypnos’ sustainability approach and how it effects all levels of the business, Richard gave detailed and practical steps, referencing the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Impact and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which provided actionable knowledge that the audience we’re able to take away and apply within their own practices. 

Owen Riseley, Cube (left) Richard Naylor, Hypnos Beds (right)

So, what can we do as individuals? Rachel Hoolahan, Architect & Sustainability Coordinator from ORMS Studio highlighted that the responsibility sits with both consumer and business but knowing the facts and being a part of the conversation is the first step to moving forward. Jeremy Grove reiterated this point, “if we want to create change, we have to deal with measurable outcomes.”

James Hakesley, Cube (left, Jeremy Grove, Sibley Grove (middle), Rachel Hoolahan, Orms Architecture (right)

As guests exited the theatre hall, conversations burst into action, new connections were created and The Conservatory filled with inspired designers and manufacturers ready to take action and make a change together.

There are ways we can make a more substantial impact. Powerful decisions by powerful people and businesses can move us forward to a nourishing future, we just need to work together, understand the facts and use our voice. Commercial Interiors UK and Design Insider are here to amplify that voice and support the discussion towards a more sustainable future.

Rachel HoolahanOrms
Jeremy GroveSibley Grove
Nico R., Wunderhaus
John MillerMARK Product

Written & Directed by Owen Riseley
Executive Producers: James HakesleyRoy M. K.
Producer: Sam Prosser
Researcher: Jennifer O’Mahony
Cinematography: George Beckett
Production Coordinator: Abi Cobley
Editors: Owen RiseleyMichael Fyfe 
Visual Effects: Benjamin Wilson

CUBE™ is an award-winning, future-thinking, insight-led video strategy and production agency for brands that mean business.

CUBE™ do so much more than just film and animate. Using the latest tech, greatest insight and most pioneering methods, CUBE™ unlock, captivate and engage audiences with dynamic content across all channels.


About Phoebe Train

Phoebe is a Marketing and Events Executive, who joined the BCFA as an English graduate in 2021. Working closely with designers and BCFA members, Phoebe has published an array of content for Design Insider.
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