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SHORE founders Louie Rigano and Gil Muller

Q&A with eco-friendly soft furnishing designers SHORE

2 May 2024 • Written by Charlotte Hogarth-Jones

One of the exhibitors at Ocean Talks 2024 is SHORE, a design brand innovating in the fields of ergonomic rugs, soft furnishings and footwear made from handwoven high-performance materials. One of its hero products is Shore Rugs™ – made from a 100 per cent pure silicone material which is completely inert and extremely safe to use. 

Unlike conventional PVC or neoprene based rubber mats, Shore Rugs do not release any toxic fumes neither during the manufacturing process nor during their long product lifespan, combining the health benefits of an anti-fatigue mat with the appeal of a fine handwoven carpet. 

Since launch, the line has expanded to include pillows and seat cushions, benches, lounge seating, sofas, and most recently, footwear—all handmade entirely in​-house in the brand’s London studio. The material is extremely hardwearing, even after years of prolonged use, which makes it ideal for use on yachts. Ahead of the event, SHORE founders Louie Rigano and Gil Muller talk to BOAT about their work. 

What is SHORE, and what do you make?

We are a design brand innovating in the fields of ergonomic rugs, soft furnishings, and footwear made from handwoven high-performance materials. Founded in 2015, every piece is handmade entirely in-house in our London studio. All of SHORE's products are informed by the guiding principles of effortlessness, versatility, and feeling good. Founders Louie Rigano and Gil Muller met while studying at the Royal College of Art in London and share a belief that merging technical innovation and beautifully crafted design can redefine traditional ideas of luxury, novelty, and ways of making.

SHORE silicone rugs

Silicone is an unusual material to be using - why did you go for that?

Research and experimentation are the backbone of our design approach. After thorough investigation, silicone became obvious as the best and most suitable choice for numerous reasons. Unlike the common PVC or plastics typically used in outdoor furniture, Silicone is non-petroleum based—it is derived from silica sand, a readily available, abundant material.

It does not release toxic fumes during its manufacturing process, nor during its lifespan, and will also maintain its integrity, not hardening or losing its spring-back qualities even after years of use. Additionally, silicone is the material of choice in both cooking and medical applications, as it is both hygienic and durable, impermeable and will not absorb or harbour moisture or mould, and will not break down and create dust. These characteristics allow our products to be easily and effectively cleaned, simply with water or with any suitable cleaning agent.

Do you think there’s a misunderstanding that “synthetic” materials are viewed as non-eco, and if so, why do you think that is?

Yes! There are so many factors that contribute to a material’s sustainability and there isn’t a hard rule that something natural will be better for the environment. Quite the contrary - the ways in which natural materials are harvested or extracted can be more damaging than their synthetic counterparts. Similarly, if a natural material is inferior and breaks down more quickly, you must factor in how sustainable it is to replace it more often (including all this entails: more resources, more shipping, more production time and overhead, etc.) We strive to find the best material for the job, taking into consideration all of these factors holistically.

What makes SHORE products particularly suitable for superyachts?

Superyachts are the perfect use case for our products! Silicone is unaffected by submersion in both salt and freshwater, can withstand both extreme heat and cold, and is highly resistant to UV. Also, our furniture pieces are quite low to the ground, very grippy, and air can pass right through the material - there won’t be any issue with strong winds moving pieces around deck! (And everything floats!) More broadly, superyachts often push the boundaries of what is technologically possible. We think our products, combining untraditional material and an unusual design aesthetic, fit well within this realm.

What does end-of-life look like for your products?

We offer a recycling program and will arrange the free return delivery of every product that has reached the end of its useful life to be fully recycled. The most common recycling methods are to grind up the silicone for use as turf on playgrounds, or for it to be de-polymerized into silicone oil. Additionally, even if it does end up at a landfill for incineration, silicone, unlike petroleum-based plastics and rubbers, is converted back into inorganic, harmless ingredients.

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