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Keep it Local: Store encourages artists to shine

PUBLISHED: 14:24 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:38 07 September 2010

Daniel Bloom and David Smith

Daniel Bloom and David Smith

LOCAL artists can win the chance to showcase their work courtesy of an eco-friendly store in Belsize Park. Ecora, which specialises in selling recycled, reclaimed and sustainable natural floors and environmental paints, will give one lucky winner the oppo

LOCAL artists can win the chance to showcase their work courtesy of an eco-friendly store in Belsize Park.

Ecora, which specialises in selling recycled, reclaimed and sustainable natural floors and environmental paints, will give one lucky winner the opportunity to use their exhibition space exclusively in the new year.

Co-director Daniel Bloom said: "We associate ourselves with the home, design and quality, so we believe art will attract the right type of people. It will also do something to support the local community and encourage local artists."

Budding painters can enter by submitting photographs of their work with a short biography by December 20. Readers and visitors will then be invited into the showroom during an exhibition in Janary to decide on the overall winner, who will enjoy an exclusive show in February.

As Ecora is committed to using sustainable natural resources, a percentage of artworks sold by the artists in the space will be donated to the charity Rain Forest Concern.

"It's a sensitive subject," said Mr Bloom. "People are growing more environmentally aware than ever before. Nearly all of our customers are local people, couples and families, planning to expand or renovate their houses."

Business partner David Smith explained why selling only natural flooring and paints, free from harmful toxins, is better for us and the environment: "Carpets and laminate flooring have health connotations. During manufacturing, they use fossil fuels and they emit them too.

"A growing number of the community are also interested in our paints. Regular emulsion is harmful to the environment.

"The fumes that are let into the atmosphere are, at the worst, essentially carcinogens and do so at room temperature. Below that there are a range of health issues, respiratory problems, skin problems, and ecological connotations too."

The showroom itself, nestled neatly among the local boutiques on England's Lane, boasts an impressive selection of rare flooring materials such as Rhodesian Teak and Mango wood, displayed in huge panels and spotlighted on the walls.

All of the pieces have been recycled and put together from reclaimed school buildings and old churches.

"We wanted it to look like an art gallery, not like your average wood shop with loads of tiny samples everywhere," said Mr Bloom. "That's why we've hung the wood like that, like you would a picture."

The VOC (Volatile Organic Compound)-free paints are exhibited in a similar fashion with names such as Angels Are Watching, Rest and Blinder scrawled in handwritten script on recycled labels.

"We are not saying that we are tree huggers or telling people to only buy natural," he added. "It was just a conscious decision to move towards that type of selling.


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