Raquel Swartz



Humans are using all of the earth’s natural resources and releasing unprecedented levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, endangering the planet’s viability.  The implementation of sustainable design is no longer a luxury, and though eco-conscious construction and architecture have gained traction and have proven to reduce the built world’s contribution to the carbon footprint, interior design lags behind, even though it too, can reduce the industry’s negative impact.  If architects and interior designers further consider the interaction between humans and objects with interior space through the awareness of sustainable practices, materials, and finishes, the built world’s contribution to the carbon footprint will decrease.  

Sustainable design, especially in adaptive reuse projects, incorporates the repair, repurpose, and reuse of materials with prior lives, whether from demolitions or recycling programs.   The following design thesis not only introduces a sustainably designed space to source and specify green materials and finishes, but it also proposes a program for designers to produce and to exhibit works created sustainably.  

By designing an eco-conscious space in Chelsea, Manhattan, guided by sustainable principles of natural light and air flow, as well as repurposing demolished materials, designers and architects are introduced to radical green adaptation methods.  Furthermore, the program emphasizes the powerful intersection of design and sustainability through supporting eco-design practices and showcasing results.  Creating a designer’s studio, alongside an eco-conscious material and finish library, to support designers’ building furniture from salvaged materials that will then be displayed in the gallery space, will educate on the power of the circular economy and increase architects and designers ability to specify sustainably. 

The opportunity to reverse the course of climate change is less than an arms distance away: you can sit on it.

Illustrated Section


Illustrated section

RISD Grad Show 2020