less by design

Sustainable, unobtainable – is it just too hard?

Image courtesy of recycle.co.uk

By Lorrin Windahl.

Sustainability is a minefield of myths and misconceptions. It is a complex world of factors that change from project to project, product to product. Each product is unique in its make-up and impact on the environment. No two products are the same when it comes to their manufacture, usage and end of life. Therefore, the same thinking can not be applied to every project. This is the bane of the sustainable designer’s existence.

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Ghost Food: dishing up a taste of our future

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By Joe Ladelfa.

In my favourite scene of Ratatouille, an anxious waiter tentatively asks Anton Ego, a food critic as equally feared as he is renowned, if he was ready to order. Anton sharply replied, “You know what I’m craving? A little, perspective. That’s it! I’d like some fresh, clear, well-seasoned, perspective.” The waiter was understandably confused, how can your food deliver an underlying value when it is generally taken on face value?

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Is being green always the right path?

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By Lorrin Windahl.

Back at the end of the last millennium, British actor and activist Joanna Lumley dreamed up an idea to create a garden bridge in memory of Princess Diana. That never eventuated and the years passed without the idea becoming much more than just an image in her head. That was until recently, when she partnered with designer Thomas Heatherwick and the idea was finally visualised. And it appears that the dream will now become a reality after the Westminster & Lambeth Council’s approved the plans. But although a beautiful and considered green space, the project has been heavily criticised, largely due to its high cost and a lack of need for it.

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The Drinkable Book

drinkable-book

By Lorrin Windahl.

Go to cupboard. Grab a glass. Go to tap. Turn on tap. Fill glass. Turn off tap. Drink water. That’s pretty much how we access clean drinking water. But many around the world walk miles to a water source and even then the water is not safe to drink. UNESCO suggests that 1 in 9 people still lack access to safe drinking water. This number is pretty staggering. It’s not so surprising then that Water is Life has come up with a pretty left of centre concept for helping to reduce this problem – the Drinkable Book. What, a book you can drink? Well not quite. A book that you can use as a filter to ensure safe drinking water.

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Empowering children to create change

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By Lorrin Windahl.

Change is often difficult. It takes time identifying the problem, coming up with a suitable solution and then actually implementing it. As adults we get set in our ways and are often reluctant to modify our behaviours. But what if we taught these skills to children? Well, Kiran Bir Sethi has done just that with her Design for Change programme which is being taught in schools all over the world.

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Is technology getting in the way of good design?

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By Lorrin Windahl.

Technology seems to be moving at a crazy pace. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was cluelessly disconnected but now, hardly a second goes by that I’m not connected to some digital toy. And another sign of this speeding technology train is that 3D printers can now make mud houses. Seem fantastical? Well, not any more.

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Why aren’t product designers as valued as other creatives?

Design credit1

By Steve Martinuzzo.

This is the face of one of IKEA’s most experienced designers, Ehlén Johansson. IKEA proudly credits their designers; throughout their business, in store, on the product packaging and even moulded into the products themselves. Their designers help make IKEA the huge success that it continues to be. So why do some companies erase their designers out of the picture?

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