The Crystal: London

Hello everyone, I am back! It’s been a pretty tough term so I apologise for not keeping this blog updated. I promise to try and keep you more updated with all things Interior Design in my life.

I have just finished a Sustainability assignment for my optional unit at University where we have to design and brand a sustainable café. As part of this assignment we, as a class, visited The Crystal in London, which is a 100% Sustainable building owned by Siemens across the Thames from the O2 Arena. This was a very insightful and interesting visit. I’ve always been passionate about reusing, recycling, upcycling and sustainability and caring about the environment and planet so it was a no brainer that I chose this subject as my optional unit.

The Crystal

To no surprise, the building itself was designed to look like a crystal, with the roof slanting in different directions and angles, ensuring the building is self shading from the direction in which the sun rises and sets over it. All of the outdoor walls are made of triple insulated glass, to add extra insulation. The structure itself is made of metal beams which can all be reused.


Along the top of the roof are solar thermal panels and solar panels for electricity and heating. Rain water collecting system are used to filter rain water through a black water filtration system so that they can use the rain water for bathrooms and taps. The rain water that is filtered, however, is not drinkable.


I loved this living plant wall made of moss and soil breeze block styled bricks. This is a key element in biophillic interior and architectural design. I’ll do another blog post on Biophilia and how you can bring more of nature in to your home or space to create a healthier indoor environment.


They also had displays about water and how only 0.75% of it is actually drinkable, which I found fascinating. There were displays on energy from wind turbines and pavement slabs that absorb movement and convert it in to energy.

There were a lot of interactive displays as well. One display had bicycles attached to a screen which you can go on and see how much power you produce and what type of machinery you can operate with that energy.


A couple of other interactive displays were one where you try and build a sustainable city on a budget over the next 25 years, and another is to build a Grade A sustainable house, office or apartment using renewable resources and responsibly sourced materials as well as fixtures.

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The café was less interesting in terms of design, however the idea behind it is fantastic. All of their food is locally sourced from local farmers and suppliers and it’s all organic and free range. All the cakes and sweet treats are baked on site and they also had great recycling stations or bins where you separate everything: recyclables, food and liquid. Behind the bin is a real life plant display to help improve indoor air quality.

Everything about this building and their ideas and concepts really inspired me and a learned a lot for my project.

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Afterwards, me and two of my class mates decided to take a trip on the Emirates cable car across the Thames towards the O2 arena. This was so much fun, even if we did scream as we got to the highest part and the wind blew, causing our car to rock a bit.

Thank you for reading and I hope this inspires or informed you a bit on sustainability and being ecofriendly. More blog posts to come on the café I designed for my Sustainability project.

Danica x

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