Furniture for You and Your Little Dog Too

by Patrick LaDuke

The infamous Finnish furniture company Artek founded by Alvar Aalto, whose work is viewable at MoMA, has started a website for used furniture as part of a new environmental strategy. Artek 2nd Cycle and Vintage is a collection of their iconic furniture given a new life. Their goal is to raise the issue of conscious consuming whilst supporting their original and timeless design. They also manage to carry a few found pieces from other designers as well, such as Eames (make sure to read the details of any with upholstery in case they happen to be wool/leather).

Neroko is another Finnish design company, but for dogs. They produce sustainable design that doesn’t detract from your decor, but rather adds interesting minimalistic pieces to your interior. They offer wonderful alternatives such as wooden beds with changeable upholstery, ceramic drinking bowls, birch bowl stands, and even a natural jute dog toy! All of their products are transparently made in Finland.

Brackish is a furniture company based in Seattle. They use salvaged materials that they source from the Pacific Northwest. Each product is made to last, made to order, and produced locally. They will also do custom work.


What’s in My Bag: Patrick LaDuke

IMG_0402  Although it changes from semester to semester, these are the typical items one might find on my person:

What’s in your bag? Organize and shoot your bag contents, tell us what’s there and why, and tag @thediscerningbrute on Instagram or @discerningbrute Twitter and you might get featured on if we like it!

Keep it Simple, Keep it Green

by Patrick LaDuke

A great alternative to those plastic Britas with wasteful filters. Japanese Kishu Binchotan, or White Charcoal, will turn tap water into mineral water, adding; calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous. It will also adsorb (meaning the chemicals adhere to the surface) up to 75% of chlorine and all other impurities as well, all the while making your water taste better too. Once it is time to replace it, you can simply crush it and place it into the soil, where it nourishes and regulates PH levels. As to the sustainability: “Local craftsmen have carefully managed the forests that produce the raw material for White Charcoal for centuries. The way in which the wood is harvested promotes rapid and fertile regrowth and maintains a healthy ecosystem. The craftsmen have become the caretakers of the forest and by protecting it they maintain an environment that profits both man and nature.” Get it here.

Koncept is an award winning lighting company that makes all of their products with environmental considerations in mind. Their aluminum housing is fully recyclable, the LEDs do not contain mercury, the color finishes are with water-based paint, the cardboard packaging is FSC certified, and most lamps contain somewhere between 30-40% of pre-consumer recycled material(by weight). List of suppliers here. I purchased mine from Lumens, but you can also get them at Amazon.

Originally developed in 1944 for US ships and submarines in WWII, they were designed to be impervious to salt, water, and as a result are practically indestructible. Emeco builds chairs to last you for a lifetime, many of which have lifetime warranties. Almost all chairs are made from recycled aluminum, which is highly recyclable itself, but other materials include: recycled PET, glass fiber, reclaimed WPP (wood fibers), and natural wood. The upholstery can consist of: vinyl, ABS, fire retardant foam, c.o.m./c.o.l., polyurethane, and powder coat.

Ubico Studio sports a 100% recycled tag throughout the website. Most pieces are made of reclaimed wood, and some of their production is even done by a factory which employs disabled people. Most interestingly, they also conduct research, of which they did a series of cutting board art. This collection was called “Meating reality”.
“When is meat desirable? At what point does the craving become discomfort? The work examines this duality without stating a position but rather raises issue through the use of the cutting board as a plate for a bloody ponder.”

“Sprucing” Up the Place With Sustainable Decor

Patrick LaDuke joins The Discerning Brute’s lineup of incisive contributors and shares his take on interiors and furniture that dignify principled aesthetics.


  • Ranging from furniture to interior, LA’s District Millworks is the perfect alternative for an eco friendly household. As stated in their blog, ” We use reclaimed wood sources along with FSC wood and materials. We finish our projects with eco friendly materials. Our goal is 100% eco friendly and sustainable products.” Not only can one get a table made from wine barrel inserts, but also lighting made from the barrels’ rings. They even offer reclaimed wood floors.

  • NYC’s Voos Furniture supports local designers by showcasing and selling their work. Their eco friendly options inculde discarded construction material, reclaimed wood, and recycled cork just to name a few. Check out the wine rack made entirely from waste material from the wine cork industry pictured above.

  • Score+Solder is a simple green option by merely housing your plants in a very modern way. Handmade to order, these terrariums and planters are simply glass and lead-free solder.

Patrick LaDuke is currently a fashion design student. He focuses on sustainability and ethics in all of his work, and is passionate about all things vegan. He has been a vegan since 17 and is always in search for the latest in sustainable design. He is also an aspiring musician, artist, and pastry chef.


The latest issue of UNDER THE INFLUENCE is almost entirely dedicated to sustainability in art and fashion. It has been said that the accelerating pace of fashion and it’s naturalization (and rationalization) under the guise of “seasons” is a recipe for disaster, and these themes are explored in several of the articles. From the feature on Socially Conscious Fashion Makers that sheds light on brads such as Edun, who now has the backing of LVMH, Veja, and Noir to the photo/interview feature on Marjorie Ellis Thompson’s art and science glacier archive, Project Pressure, to the startling reality revealed in No Go Kyoto; we are approaching a period where the Kyoto Protocol is expiring and there is nothing to take it’s place, which will bring on “a period where there is not international concord on arguably the greatest existential threat facing humanity.”

The email ping-pong between designers Konstantin Grcic and Ana Kraš leads us down an intriguing path, asking whether we really need new stuff, and what role industrial designers play in the context of our current cultural and environmental conditions.

The interviews with the pre-1970’s street art activist John Fekner and photographer Stuart Franklin explore the possibilities for the role of art as a mirror that shows our selves as part of nature and ourselves as the destroyers of nature.

One major theme that is left out (and that is systematically left out of, or marginalized as the hobby-concern of a few extremists, is the issue of non-human animals in the fashion industrial complex. Most certainly the elephant (or sheep and cow) in the room is that the production of leather and wool especially, have such staggering impacts on resource consumption and ecological devastation that it would seem obvious to address them critically – to seek out alternatives that are not the leading causes of GHGs and rainforest destruction and water pollution. Leather, however, is one of the sacred cows of the fashion industry. Along with fur, which did stain a few of the editorial pages in this issues, it is the premiere symbol of luxury. It is both insidious and obvious. I am always thrilled to see a fashion magazine take on crucial issues with such artistry, and shocked at the complete avoidance of addressing this opportunity that sits on one of the most powerful points of change-making leverage. In addition, the ethical implications of animals bred, trapped or hunted, siphoned into fashion objects, obscured and silenced in the fashion industrial complex, is a shameful evasion of our fatal attraction to our fellow earthlings.

Please check out UNDER THE INFLUENCE and celebrate them as one of the few intelligent, gorgeous, and compelling publications out there.