Words by Hannah Tapping | Images by Lydia Rose Creative
Using a unique sustainable material to create functional, practical, yet beautiful products inspire by nature.
Homeware brand LIGA (pronounced Leega) produce clean and contemporary eco-friendly pieces with their main collections including placemats and coasters, trays, trivets, tableware, kitchen textiles and eco dishcloths through to botanical home fragrances. Their ethos is to make everyday products sustainable and affordable. Founded in 2017 by husband and wife team Jennie and David Elderkin, this is a fast-growing family run business based in Cornwall with over 500 LIGA stockists across the UK, in addition to their bespoke collections created for global brands. The brand is very much connected to nature in the way it uses materials sustainably, their design inspiration and the charities they support.
The name LIGA originated from the acronym Lifestyle, Interiors, Gifts and Art, from the product categories Jennie focused on for her stores. The word LIGA can also be translated as ‘collection of people’ in other languages, which appealed to Jennie. “Change happens when we work together, so we now define LIGA as collection of people who love eco living. One day it might be a word in the dictionary!”.
“I started with my own homeware shops just over ten years ago now in Cornwall and thoroughly enjoyed the buying element – knowing my customers and what they liked. Keen to find a brand that sourced materials sustainably, produced stylish and simple designs, I struggled to locate what I was looking for. Deciding to start designing for myself and my stores, the first challenge was finding the right people to work with in manufacturing. It’s been a challenging and exciting journey and I’m still on it.” says Jennie. Having her own retail shops gave Jennie the ideal opportunity to test products, identify bestsellers and learn from her customers what they wanted, allowing the brand to grow organically and rapidly.
Cork is one of LIGA’s key materials (the cork they use is a waste product, grown and harvested in Portugal in the Montado forests) and is a key story for the brand. A remarkable natural and sustainable material, cork has excellent thermal properties, is impermeable to liquids and gases, super resilient, lightweight and hypoallergenic. The eco-friendly process of cork harvesting enables the products to be made without the need for felling trees and without interfering with the delicate eco systems of the cork forests, ensuring the safety for their animal inhabitants. Cork forests, also play a vital role in the control of climate balance by absorbing a huge 32 million tons of CO2 each year and once cork is harvested it is still a living material, which continues to absorb CO2 long after it has been cut down. The process of harvesting cork bark has remained practically unchanged for centuries, naturally and by hand – a highly skilled and specialised industry.
“The design process for us is quite organic, sourcing materials and working through how they can be used best. It’s as much about learning about a product’s limitations as well as its benefits,” comments Jennie. “We have a number of different people who we work with in Portugal from father and son family businesses to very large companies. The designs on the printed mats are inspired from what surrounds me where I live. All of our products need to be functional, practical and affordable, that is something I feel passionate about. I don’t want to create more waste – but use waste to create.”
Drawing inspiration from nature, LIGA’s designs evoke the spirit of coastal and country living to bring a natural sense of balance into the home. Themes and imagery for their collections include wild flowers, hydrangeas, sunflowers, birds, coastal designs covering fish, crustaceans, wild swimming, fishing boats and waves.