Designer Oliver Heath studied architecture at The Bartlett, UCL, and is the director of Heath Design, which specialises in sustainable interiors, exhibitions and architecture. He is currently working on a Green Living Centre in the heart of Brighton. Oliver has worked on a variety of design shows on the BBC1, BBC2, ITV and Channel 4 and is author of three books – his most recent book is called Urban Eco Chic, which describes the practical and aesthetic issues surrounding contemporary Eco interiors; making them achievable and aspirational. Here he shares his a few of his favourite things with ACHICA Living…
‘My favourite design of all time…
There are so many wonderful designs out there, but it’s a simple one that is my favourite, the bicycle. It’s basic, yet complex at the same time, as well as being ingenious, fun, stylish and it’s good for you! It also has the added bonus being a low carbon emission form of travel! I get a lot of mileage and pleasure from riding my bikes and would recommend anyone to take up cycling more.
My favourite personal design…
The most stunning design I have seen was for an American bathroom manufacturer, for whom we created a showroom piece called the Woodland Sanctuary (below) featuring sensuous backlit recycled plastic walls and warm timber materials. It was an amazing design and had a very calming effect on me.
My favourite project I’ve ever worked on…
I get a lot of satisfaction from working with social enterprises, such as the Brighton Wood Recycling project and my local house clearance charity, Emmaus. I get them to collect old drawers and other recyclable items for me. However I do try and use these items to create fun features, such as wall shelves or even a coffee display table.
My favourite way to stay green…
Lots of cycling! I literally cycle everywhere. I have also just completed a massive refurbishment of my own home in which I was able to cut CO2 emissions from 10.9 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes by just fitting PV panels, solar water heating systems, lots of insulation, water saving devices and low energy LED lights.
My favourite way to get inspired…
I really enjoy going to local markets and hunting out vintage furniture and books as I always come away inspired. I also really enjoy going to trade shows such as EcoBuild, where you get to see what is on the horizon for new design. Also getting to travel is a great eye opener. I feel it’s essential as a designer to understand that there are other ways to live other than our own.
My favourite homeware…It would probably be my Bodum coffee grinder. I’m a bit obsessive about fresh coffee at the moment. So a fresh cup every morning of locally roasted fair-trade coffee is a great start to the day, especially if my little girls who are three and five wake up really early!
My favourite piece of advice for homeowners…Think long term about the appliances that you buy. It’s essential, especially when an item is left on for long periods of time that you buy good quality, low energy products and appliances. One Item I would suggest is the IKEA FRAMTID fridge freezer. It’s A+ energy rating means that rather than guzzling lots of electricity it literally sips it and it even has a fan, which circulates the air to keep temperatures even throughout. I think picking good pieces of technology for your home play an essential role in reducing our use of resources such as electricity, gas and water.
My favourite way to spend the weekend…I really enjoy camping with my family and getting to cook good fresh food over an open fire. Life doesn’t get better than the simple things!
My favourite holiday destination…It would have to be India. It’s a feast for the senses with their amazing colours, textures, materials, food, temples and smells. It is an incredible experience.
My Favourite food and tipple…I love Ottolenghi’s recipe (below) as it’s a modern take on Middle Eastern cuisine and always feels very sociable as they are designed to be eaten by a table full of people, which is a real treat and a delicious experience. As for tipple, I also love home-made elderflower champagne, which tastes even better with a shot of vodka!
Oliver Health worked with IKEA on their Future kitchens report, which provided insight into the kitchen of tomorrow and how advances in technology would shape our use of the home.
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