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Q&A with sustainability champion, Magda Iwanska

Madga is an interior designer who came to London to study theatre set and costume design for theatre and film before changing career. She has worked on large global projects including Royal Albert Hall Project, Shangai City Land and Ibn Haldun Library.


What does sustainability mean to you and your role at BDP?

To me, sustainability is all about socially and environmentally driven design. My approach is to prioritise the wider context, health and people’s experience over considerations of form or aesthetics. In my role at BDP I’m working towards driving progress in the industry by exploring unconventional solutions and looking beyond the trends to deliver interior design that prioritises sustainability.

What do you see as the biggest challenge to delivering sustainable design within your role? How do you overcome challenges faced?

I think that greenwashing is the biggest challenge to delivering truly sustainable design because the words sustainable and environmentally friendly are frequently overused. We are often easily convinced by the marketing and trust the brands who claim that title without questioning it. Greenwashing is often the result of lack of knowledge about what sustainability truly is. We need to be inquisitive, challenge what we hear and do our own research of the products and verify their certificates. Education is the solution to the greenwashing.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities for BDP as a practice to drive the sustainability agenda?

BDP is unique as it operates as an interdisciplinary practice and that gives us an opportunity to transfer the knowledge between disciplines and deliver holistic design that has sustainability as an ethos and environmental awareness at its heart for every aspect of the project. We can demonstrate that collaboration, collective effort and alignment in views is the strongest force to tackle climatic destruction. Design activism and knowledge sharing is the biggest opportunity to drive the positive change.

What does living sustainably mean to you personally? Have you made any significant changes in your personal / home life?

For me living sustainably means eating vegetarian, not using plastic and buying used things as much as possible.  When buying new I research the provider, where the product comes from, what it is made of and ask what I can do at the end of its life cycle. I always try to repair things even if it costs more than buying new things and I also use a renewable energy provider, have my own herb and vegetable garden and, most importantly, I keep educating myself as to how I can adjust my life to be more environmentally conscious.

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