New Minnesota ASID President Focuses on Sustainability

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Lucy Penfield, a Minneapolis-based interior and product designer known for imaginative and colorful decor,  assumed the presidency of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Minnesota chapter, effective October 1. With more than 30 years of experience in the design industry, Penfield brings her passion for color, mentoring and sustainability to lead the chapter during her one-year term.

An advocate of continuing education and mentorship, Penfield has been a long-standing member of ASID and has received more than 20 awards from the chapter for her design prowess and leadership skills. Her presidential platform for the organization revolves around sustainability, community strengthening within ASID, and mentoring the next generation of designers, all principles that have guided her throughout her storied career.

Health, Wellness & Sustainability Focus

“As President of ASID MN, I am embracing the big topics of health, wellness and sustainability as part of my strategic plan this year,” Penfield said. “We are working to increase partnerships with like-minded organizations to pave the way for a better future through design excellence.”

In line with her commitment to sustainability, Penfield recently became a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices in the home furnishings industry. During October High Point Furniture Market, Penfield participated in a sustainability insights panel that included company representatives from UNIFI and Polycor.

As a believer in lifelong education, Penfield is currently enrolled as a student of the Living Futures Foundational Curriculum, a program dedicated to creating a socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative world. The program brings together members of the design world with manufacturers, builders, business leaders and others to develop ways to create regenerative buildings and products that take into consideration the health and resilience of economies, cultures and people.

Penfield is also pursuing a Continuing Education semester at The New School to obtain a Healthier Materials and Building certificate, demonstrating her dedication to environmentally conscious design practices. Her studies will include the role of building design and interiors in protecting human and environmental health and fostering sustainability.

But for Penfield, environmental sustainability isn’t just a curriculum or talking point; it’s a fundamental element of her design practice.

During her firm’s design discovery process, Penfield and her team talk to clients about how they live in their homes and ways to upcycle or reuse materials or furnishings. This often includes repurposing furniture and family heirlooms in the design plan or giving an old item new value by changing its upholstery or location. Furniture and other items that are no longer wanted are donated to nonprofits or given to local vintage or antique dealers.

“In my work, I prioritize creating aesthetically pleasing designs that infuse joy into spaces,” Penfield said. “But to do that, the products we use must check many boxes to make their way into a home’s design.” 

Lucy and her team carefully consider the circularity of a product during the design process, doing research to ensure items selected are produced using fair trade and fair labor guidelines. They also consider whether or not a product is made from recycled materials and if it can be recycled again when the life of the product is complete. There isn’t a design decision made by Lucy and her team that doesn’t have sustainability at its core.

“Every day we are faced with global warming and catastrophic environmental issues that feel overwhelming, but one step at a time and together we can make a difference,” Penfield said. “And for us, those steps begin in the world of interior design.”

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