Green design for the home is hardly newsbreaking. But a forward-thinking collaborative in Boulder, Colorado, makes sustainable home furnishings, clothing, and little luxuries accessible to everyone.
As a resident, I feel confident stating that Boulder practically invented the ethos of green living. Yet even amongst the city’s (third party-certified, controlled wood) forest of eco-chic boutiques; green design firms; grocery stores and restaurants defined by locally-sourced ingredients; hybrid automobiles; LEED-certified buildings; cyclists, and non-profits devoted to planetary salvation, madelife stands out.
Formerly known as factoryMADE (the branding transition is happening as you read), this groovy, green design showroom located just off happening East Pearl Street is a store and collaborative artist space boasting cutting-edge products made from reclaimed or ethically-made, – sourced-and-shipped materials. Eighty percent of the stock is made by Colorado artists, designers, and other creative folk.
Before you start envisioning hand-loomed hemp yoga mats and recycled beer bottle bongs, allow me to explain: madelife’s largely consignment-based inventory is super-stylish, and undeniably cool. The vibe might best be described as “agrarian-urban-mod,” or, perhaps, “etsy-meets-Design Within Reach.” There are trendy threads and funky dining tables made from repurposed basketball court hardwood. Shed antlers are gilded and decorated with beguiling curlicues (Suggested use: hat rack or necklace display.).
Jewelry, both delicate and chunky, is crafted from copper wire, old bike parts, feathers, antler, leather, metal scraps, and other odds and ends. Luscious apothecary goods are chock-full of natural ingredients like beeswax, essential oils, and other botanical goodness. Woodblock-printed pillows accentuate modernist sofas sheathed in nubby fabric; wee woodland dioramas are housed in old cigar boxes. Once, I dropped by and discovered a gloriously refurbished, peony-pink Frigidaire; you never know what kinds of treasure you’ll find at madelife, but the place never fails to inspire or incite desire.
This is why they also offer workshops and events for all ages (The company website states, “We curate + cultivate creative talent, community, and culture;” they also do custom video, music, and design for select clients, and donate 10-percent of their net profits to “underserved young people with creative potential.”).
Kids’ summer camps this year include classes on storybook making and functional art. Big people can try their hand at silversmithing, making beauty products, constructing terrariums, sewing, and reupholstering furniture. Check out the summer schedule and get your craft on.