American designers share their best eco-innovations, from trays inspired by topographical maps to place mats made from leftover industrial felt.

By Megan Krigbaum
March 01, 2010

Susan Dwyer of Up in the Air Somewhere gilds paper bowls.

Photo © Antonis Achilleos

1. Golden Bowls

Susan Dwyer of Chicago's Up in the Air Somewhere hand-molds clay and recycled paper into food-safe bowls and vases. She enhances the organic shapes of some pieces by covering them with ethereal gold leaf.Domestic Aesthetic sells contoured sushi trays.

Photo © James Ransom

2. Bamboo Trays

Diane Ruengsorn of Domestic Aesthetic in Brooklyn, New York, creates contoured tabletop pieces—such as a topography-inspired sushi tray—from sustainable woods like bamboo. She's now working with a sawmill collective in Mozambique to produce stunning wooden platters from fallen trees.Eco-friendly place mats are made of excess industrial felt.

Photo © Antonis Achilleos

3. Felt Mats

California designer and felt fanatic Josh Jakus, renowned for his woolly handbags and wine carriers, recently launched Fuz, a line of playful tabletop items made from excess industrial felt and recycled rubber. Each Hug set has four place mats—two with "boy" napkin-ring cutouts and two with "girls."Designer Emily Sugihara carries her nylon Baggu bag.

Photo © Dan Martensen

4. Reusable Bags

Emily Sugihara of Brooklyn- and California-based Baggu is known for the range of vibrant colors and patterns on her nylon shopping totes. New to her collection: sturdy Duck Bags made from durable recycled canvas.Plover Organic's Blue Ottoman and Teal Squares patterns.

Photo © Antonis Achilleos

5. Calico Napkins

In Portland, Oregon, Plover Organic designers Marisa Kula Mercer, Sheila Mulvihill and Julia Wilbur produce luxurious table and bed linens from 100 percent certified-organic and fair-trade cotton. The patterns are block-printed by hand with low-impact dyes.Eco-Style Favorites

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