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The Importance of Choices

Along with 5 other designers, I headed to Georgia this summer, to visit the corporate headquarters of Interface Carpets at the behest of the local representative. We had the opportunity to tour the production facilities of Interface in La Grange, Georgia.

While we enjoyed the sights of Atlanta such as the iconic Martin Luther King Memorial, the sounds; jazz in the lobby of the InterContinental and the food; LOVED that buttered chicken and pecan pie, this trip was largely about the relevance of caring for our environment.

Interface Inc., founded by Ray Anderson in 1973, is today one of the worlds' most successful, modular carpet tile companies. If the names are familiar, you may recognize this company and its founder as being featured in the award-winning documentary "The Corporation".

I had an opportunity to hear this amazing man speak back in the 1990's shortly following his "epiphany" brought about by reading Paul Hawkin's "The Ecology of Commerce". At that time he was convinced that it was essential to steer Interface away from being environmentally negligent to becoming an environmentally sustainable corporation by "doing right by the earth".

When visiting their plant, we found an incredibly conscientious operation that recycles most of it's own carpet products as well as that of its competitors, thereby diverting one million pounds of carpeting per week from the landfill. Along with a number of other sustainable practices, Interface has become very profitable, offering innovative products while reducing harm to the earth at the same time.

For more on this important topic, we highly recommend "Confessions of a Radical Industrialist –Profits, People, Purpose - Doing Business by Respecting the Earth", written by Interface's own Ray Anderson. We were all presented copies of this book following our tour of the mill and it has become an inspiration around the BBA offices. This book has reminded us that the choices we make as designers have a real impact on the earth… and to make those choices wisely.

Sharon Bortolotto
Principal, BBA Design

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