In Conversation with Marina Testino, Sustainability Activist

For the last six months, Marina Testino, sustainability advocate & creative director of Point Off View, has sought to create the most ethically-sourced space she’s ever lived in — documenting this pursuit in her room-by-room series ‘Green Rooms.’

For her living room, she turned to yours truly.

With only a few months planned in New York, purchasing furniture felt wasteful and expensive. She needed a short-term furnishing solution that didn’t sacrifice on taste and design. That’s where we took charge.

As her time spent with all her ZZ wares comes to a close, we checked in to chat about her design influences, how she tackles sustainability at large, and what ZZ product she’s most vying to buy.

ZZ Driggs: When did your passion for sustainability begin?

Marina Testino: I’ve been in the sustainability space for about 6 or 7 years as a professional, but in terms of the mindset, I’ve grown up around the space, being very conscious around waste and how to recycle, upcycle, and be grateful of what you have and not wanting more and more.

ZZ: How did you translate that onto your platform?

MT: This is a very long answer. Do you want a long answer?

ZZ: We’ll take it.

MT: Before and during university, I did a bunch of internships within the fashion industry with Purple PR and French Vogue and assisted my uncle [Mario Testino] in production and photography shoots. I did styling, production, PR and e-commerce, and then started modeling.

When I graduated from Parsons, I started a clothing brand, so I saw into building a company, producing clothes, and managing sales. So I really had, up to that point, this 360° view of the fashion industry and where it was failing.

Now, sustainability is a big buzzword, but at that time, it really wasn't. You were either sustainable or you were part of the fashion industry. There really wasn’t a connection.

The sustainable brands lacked style. They lacked color. They lacked trendiness.

So I wanted to be part of that intersection. I was already in the fashion industry, and I wanted to bring sustainability into the conversation.

ZZ: So initially fashion started your sustainable pursuits, but ‘Green Rooms’ takes a larger approach. It’s beyond the closet into every room. What initiated that idea?

MT: The idea for ‘Green Rooms’ came during the pandemic when we spent so much time at home, looking around asking, “What’s this made of? What are we using?” I think it was the next level of a holistic view on how to be conscious — not only in what you wear but in your environment as a whole.

"I think it was the next level of a holistic view on how to be conscious — not only in what you wear but in your environment as a whole."

ZZ: When outfitting your living room, why did renting your furniture appeal to you?

MT: There were a lot of components to why I wanted to rent, but mainly, I travel a lot. I don’t have the time to buy from separate places and make sure it all makes sense in the space.

This idea of being able to pick everything and have it delivered on the same day and, in 2 hours, be able to sit in my living room with everything set up — it's a luxury. It's a luxury that any New Yorker would love to have.

As a New Yorker, the struggle of buying things, putting in your apartment and then moving them around and coordinating when one piece comes in, when the sofa comes in, when this person delivers — this is hell.

ZZ: I’m glad we could save you from that. Were you familiar with furniture rentals before ‘Green Rooms?’

MT: It's something that I had looked into before, but I was like, “Why would I rent something that wasn’t amazing?” I couldn’t find something beautiful or even colorful until ZZ. I actually tried before, but it was very Ikea-looking furniture.

ZZ: We’re glad you found us! As you know by now, we’re big fans of color. It seems like you have an eye for design. Where does that come from?

MT: I think my whole family is very good at creating beautiful, modern, but at the same time, very comfy spaces, which I don't think I'm very great at. I can see a space and be like, ‘I love this space,’ but then you tell me to furnish a space, and I struggle.

While looking through ZZ's website, I kept asking my dad, “What do you think about this? What do you think about this and this together?”

ZZ: It’s clear he has good taste! Did that show itself in your home growing up? Do you have early furniture memories?

MT: My dad had a house in Mexico in Tulum 30 years ago. It was basically our beach house, and my dad wanted to keep it very traditional. So all of the furniture was traditional Mexican furniture, and after he sold the home, he actually shipped the pieces to Spain.

There were these chairs. I don’t know how to describe the technique, but they were wooden and leather, and they’re full of memories of childhood, being by the beach and sitting there in a wet bikini and then being screamed at because I shouldn't be sitting on leather in a wet bikini.

And now, we have these chairs in Spain, and you can see the scars of children. It’s a piece that really has so much memory.

ZZ: From Mexico to Spain, that’s good quality. We often say that furniture, when made well, is one of the most sustainable products in the world. Family heirlooms and antiques are proof of that. So tell me, how has living with your ZZ furniture been?

MT: When I got this furniture, it really changed the atmosphere of the space. I love waking up and just coming here and working. Just the design — I love the simplicity of it.

When people enter, they're like, “What a beautiful space.” And then when I tell them that everything's rented, they can't believe it.

ZZ: We’re glad to hear it! Do you have a favorite product — one you might even purchase at the end of your rental lease?

MT: I mean, I love the mirror, but I also love the sofa. The colors are so calming. When I sit down to work and the sun is shining, I’ll just lay on the sofa and have some sun time before I start emailing.

ZZ: Those are two of our favorites as well! That sofa is from TRNK, a New York-based designer, who has intentionally designed pieces for the urban home. I’m glad it’s serving its purpose well!

Well, thank you, Marina for the time and for the great conversation. Anything else you’d like our readers to know or take away?

MT: That renting is an option — a hassle-free option — that people should be more aware of and not have in their mind that it won't be luxury and it won't feel designed forward. ZZ really does have elevated options that can create your space in the style you want it to be.

ZZ: Couldn’t have said it better ourselves — the future is hassle-free and circular!

Want the look? Shop Marina's Collection.