3 Creators Using Regenerative Design To Better The World


Luxe meets three creators—Daniel Michalik, Sangmin Oh and Trey Jones—whose forward-thinking practices start with regenerative design, and help examine our environmental impact.

Daniel Michalik Crafts Striking Seating From Cork


cork chair against neutral background

Armchair by designer Daniel Michalik. (Photo: Courtesy Daniel Michalik)

For Daniel Michalik, whose Brooklyn studio crafts striking seating and objets from cork, working with the medium is more than an aesthetic choice—it is part of an effort to “rethink our relationship to natural systems.” The lifecycle and harvesting methods for cork make it a uniquely environmentally responsible material because cork trees can be harvested naturally every nine years without damage. And using this flexible, raw material is part of a circular manufacturing loop, as it’s recyclable and its main global use, the production of bottle stoppers, leaves large amounts of leftovers. Michalik, a professor at Parsons School of Design, makes frequent trips to Portugal, where cork forests abound, to study and preserve the centuries-old harvesting techniques handed down through generations.

Sangmin Oh Creates Textile Sculptures Inspiring Reflection


textile yarn abstract pieces in blues and white

One of the amorphous, abstract pieces from designer Sangmin Oh's “Knitted Light” collection. (Photo: Courtesy Sangmin Oh)

amorphous structure with red background

Acropora by Sangmin Oh for TextielMuseum is part of his “Knitted Light” series, which uses elastic, glow-in-the-dark yarn and recycled monofilament fishing line. (Photo: Courtesy of Sangmin Oh)

When Korean-born designer Sangmin Oh decided to create three-dimensional textile lighting, he found himself experimenting at the fabric laboratory of the TextielMuseum in Tilburg, Netherlands, which became a playground of sorts for the maker. There, using a knitting machine, he was able to mix materials until he found his recipe for magic: a combination of elastic, glow-in-the-dark yarn and recycled monofilament fishing line. “Because of its transparent quality, it lets you play with light,” Oh says of his amorphous, abstract “Knitted Light” pieces which evoke natural forms, specifically, threatened coral. At night, Oh’s designs emit a soft glow showing different hues and dimensions, and, in the daylight, they are textile sculptures inspiring wonder and reflection.

Trey Jones Gives Plywood Scraps A New Chance At Life

blue structure behind arched red fence

The Plinths Cabinet by designer Trey Jones. (Photo: Jody Kivort)

One look at Trey Jones’ sculptural furnishings and your eye is drawn to the unusual patterning, rich coloration and whimsical proportions. What may not be immediately apparent is that the pieces are also a feat of ingenuity in reusing resources. At the workspace Jones shares in Washington, D.C., piles of plywood would accumulate as cabinet makers crafted their wares. Soon, the artist was inspired to give the scraps new life and landed on a technique inspired by Japanese Nerikomi ceramics, in which Jones painstakingly assembles small offcut sections into elaborate motifs created by exposing the wood cut ends. For the Plinths Cabinet, which is also displayed at the Culture Object gallery, the compounded technique reveals the inherent nature of the pattern within.