LEEDing the Way: Mark Nichols

By: admin  |  Date: September 15th, 2011  |  Category: Press  |  Comments: Say Something »

Using products that are natural, organic, reclaimed or made with sustainable materials, Mark Nichols is redefining “environmental style” with impressive results. Furthermore, Nichols’ work challenges desert residents and municipalities to rethink what it really means to “go green.”

Nichols arrived in the desert in 2003. The vast, startling beauty of the desert and impact of the mid-century modern architecture inspired Nichols. To this, Nichols adds his growing awareness that nature’s resources are finite and need to be respected and conserved.

“Being in the desert inspired my sustainability consciousness,” says Nichols. “Getting involved with the local design community helped educate me and created a design niche that spoke to my passion. Part of my work has been retooling older homes such as the highly prized Alexander homes. We look at insulation, glazing, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, plumbing fixtures to reduce water usage, Energy-Star appliances and xeriscape landscaping using indigenous plants that use little or no water.”

The designer was recently featured in Metropolitan Home as one of the newest nationally emerging interior designers not only for his style, but his “abiding commitment to the environment.”

“Up until now, environmental design had a more rustic image,” explains Nichols. “New sustainable products, the desert’s wonderful mid-century designs, a growing architectural community committed to sustainability, and environmental technology all came together to open up new concepts for interiors. Today we create settings that are beautiful and functional with specifications that are ecologically sound at the same time.”

Known as an architect’s designer, Nichols works closely with the architect from the ground up, giving his input on energy-efficient appliances and high efficacy lighting, pulling from his vast knowledge of natural and sustainable fixtures and finishes. He often designs custom cabinetry and casework specifying rapidly renewable materials and FSC-certified woods.

“All of our work is designed to reduce the human impact on the environment without sacrificing beauty or functionality,” describes Nichols. “Going ‘eco’ doesn’t mean going without. It just means going smarter. A core mission of my practice has been to demonstrate that ecologically sensitive design can be luxurious, comfortable and contemporary by using sustainable products. Every element from fabrics, furnishings, cabinets, floors, lighting, appliances, low-e windows, non-VOC emitting sealants and paints, natural and organic fabric or materials all contribute to a healthy indoor space. I prefer clean geometric forms for their clarity and functionality, always letting them take a back seat to our spectacular natural environment.”

Nichols is actively engaged in his community’s evolution towards sustainability as well and sits on the City of Palm Springs’ Office of Sustainability commission. His goal is to help local leaders rethink their priorities towards a more measured approach to growth and to harness the community’s already thriving commitment to maintaining the beauty of our natural environment.

Source: Design it Greener

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