Many ecological brands look to sustainable design when it comes to designing their retail spaces.

When businesses are supplying an environmentally responsible product, it makes sense for the products to be showcased in environmentally responsible spaces.

Polish design firm Hornowski Design showcased this ethic in a recent project, making use of the eco-benefits of straw.

Hornowski Design applied bales of straw to the wall interiors of a 19 square metre retail boutique for ecological cosmetics brand Pieknalia in Krakow.

Straw Bales Inbetween Point of Sale

Straw Bales

Straw is a considerably low-carbon material and unlike most “green” materials, it can be used in its raw state with treatment or coating optional.

In the case of Pieknalia, the design brief highlighted the importance of having the store’s interiors reflect the green nature of the cosmetics while being aesthetically unique.

Hornowski applied 108 bales of straw to the walls and embedded simple point of sale storage and shelving within the bales in a cutout fashion.

While the straw is already striking on its own, soft LED lights have been installed to to direct focus to certain product areas.

The space boasts a minimalist design, while the textured finish brings a warm yet striking feel to the space.

Eco-Fridnly Straw

Eco-friendly straw

For fire protection, the straw was treated with a certified chemical regularly used on curtains in theatres.

Straw has also been known to be used in walls and then covered in plaster.

According to an article on straw bale construction in Mother Earth News, straw bale walls are at least twice as energy efficient as those from conventional stick-frame construction, allowing for temperature regulation.

In late 2011, The Hedge Gallery created its entire stand out of straw at the San Francisco Art and Design Show and Sale.

HEDGE Gallery by Rael San Fratello Architects

HEDGE Gallery by Rael San Fratello Architects

The 53 square metre stand was built by Rael San Fratello Architects studio in Oakland, who stacked 204 bales of straw into four walls, tying them together with rebar.

Demonstrating that straw is also conveniently 100 per cent recyclable, the architecture firm then returned the bales to the feed store from which they initially purchased them, where they were turned into bedding for animals.

Given its credentials, straw deserves a look alongside its eco-competitors timber, cork and bamboo.