Wood philosophy. What is sustainable interior design?

Sustainable development is gaining more and more space in our daily life. When choosing a product, we wonder how it was produced, whether the production and use are eco-friendly, and how to dispose and recycle the product. As a result, we prefer sustainable solutions. Indeed, it works for design and architecture as well—the areas that create individual and social environments for human beings. Today there is an urgent need to responsibly choose materials and technologies in architecture, save resources, and adopt sustainable design.

What is sustainable development?

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presents 17 goals. Along with overcoming poverty and hunger, improving health and education services, the objectives identified include creating sustainable cities and communities, planting trees, promoting responsible consumption and production as well as reducing the consumption of plastic that pollutes the oceans. Modern companies are challenged to combine beneficial economic activities with the reduced use of natural resources and reduced pollution while improving the quality of life.


Today 93% of the world's largest companies report on the sustainability of their production.

Wood and sustainability. Why YourFoRest chooses wood

Nowadays wood remains the ONLY renewable building material. Forests recover naturally, and the growth rate is extremely intensive. Some trees may grow 2 meters a year.

If we consider sustainability in architecture, some researches indicate that wood as a material excels in a number of ways. These include CO2 emissions, water quality impacts and overall environmental impact made during the full life cycle of wood.

For example, let us compare the carbon footprint of construction materials. It is 4 kg for wood, 40 kg for steel, and 27 kg for concrete. Besides, wood is an energy-efficient material. You need to spend 80 MJ to produce 1 m2 of wooden beams. The production of the same amount of steel and concrete beams requires 516 MJ and 290 MJ respectively.

The figure also presents the data on water pollution, fossil fuel consumption, and smog potential in the production of various materials. Obviously, wood stands out among other materials.


Wooden multi-storey construction is seriously competing with concrete one. Here is an example for you to see its benefits. The T3 office building was constructed in the American city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is a 20,800-square-meter seven-story structure. The environmental impact of such construction is equivalent to taking 996 cars off the road for a year: that is, minus almost a thousand cars polluting the atmosphere during the year. Another interesting fact about this project concerns the amount of wood used for the construction. It is equivalent to 15 minutes of forest growth in the United States and Canada.

Buildings worldwide produce about 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions while clean wooden buildings can make it better.

Norway is a front-runner in wooden construction. Wooden multistory houses here even got the special name - plyscrapers. This is Mjøstårnet—a 280-foot high building in central Norway and also the tallest wooden building in the world. This nearly 120,000-foot skyscraper is entirely engineered of wood. For the construction of the tower, builders used glue-laminated timber for beams and columns and cross-laminated timber for the core walls. They are quite durable and can be a good alternative to carbon-intensive concrete and steel. The architects of Voll Arkitekter stated their projects aimed to inspire the whole world to take up eco-friendly wooden construction. Wood expands the boundaries of architecture and paves the way to the cities of the future.

Wood in modern interior design

"Human beings don’t have a pollution problem; they have a design problem. If humans were to devise products, tools, furniture, homes, factories, and cities more intelligently from the start, they wouldn’t even need to think in terms of waste, or contamination, or scarcity. Good design would allow for abundance, endless reuse, and pleasure"—The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

The concept of sustainable design is based on 5 main principles:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Low-impact solutions
  • Waste reduction
  • Durability and flexibility
  • Healthy environment

The use of wood in the interior meets these principles and provides a healthy living environment. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air pollution is one of the five biggest environmental threats to human health. Indoor air pollution is caused by toxic products and materials. For example, if furniture or equipment is treated with harmful chemicals, it releases dangerous toxins—volatile organic compounds (VOC). Wood does not release VOC (as long as natural varnishes and paints are used). Moreover, it is a natural antiseptic that cleanses the air and neutralizes odors. Wood is one of the most durable and easily recyclable materials. The little waste it produces is biodegradable and harmless for nature.

Why YourFoRest plants trees

The wide industrial use of wood is straining forest resources. Companies that utilize wood are partly responsible for maintaining the green balance. YourFoRest shares this responsibility, invests in tree-planting, engages clients and designers in it, thus involving them in the sustainability movement.

Tree-planting is integrated in YourFoRest's philosophy. For several years we have been cooperating with Kievzelenbud in planting trees in Kiev and the region. "Use smart. Make from your heart"—that's the motto that drives us to gather those who share our values for spring and autumn sessions. We strongly believe that every wooden item produced should go along with a new tree planted to enrich parks and public gardens. This is especially true for Kiev whose green spaces are dramatically reduced due to the rapid growth.

In November 2019 YourFoRest, some designers and clients came together to plant oaks in Kiev Goloseevsky Park. Next spring we are going to add new trees to the oak alley.

If we are aware of sustainable development issues, it can change our lives for the better. We believe that sustainability and biofriendliness will become key features of modern design and architecture. A conscious attitude to the problems of sustainable development can change our life for the better. We believe that sustainability principles and a biophilic approach will dominate in modern design and architecture. #YourforestSustainable