We will be spending time at a Volunteering Project in Chile: 'Save The Wild Chinchillas' - Habitat Re-establishment

Thursday, 7 October 2010

'Don't make more shit'

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'The London Design Festival is a nine-day celebration of design in the world’s creative capital. The Festival is a platform for the widest spectrum of design disciplines, brought together as a unique and accessible programme.'

So once again the London Design Festival has visited and vacated the city, but without failing to provoke the vital and critical reaction of questioning what we see, do, make and say in regards to all things 'design'.

The work from students on the MA Design for Development course at the University of Kingston ensured this all important reaction of questioning WHAT we design and WHY we design it. Design should only exist for a purpose, the purpose being to improve the world we live in, whether by function or by changing behaviour, actions and thinking, it doesn't matter so long as it's not just more crap. I'll never forget what my third year tutor at university once said to our class of pretty clueless product designers during a small grilling one day, 'Don't make more shit!' Short, but definitely crucial. The Kingston MA students had put together a 'thinking wall' for everyone to come up and have their say, the project was a physical extension of their blog design4development.

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Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Story of YOUR Stuff and MY Stuff

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This is one of the 3 or possibly 4 books that I'm currently reading at the moment. It is really incredible. The author Annie Leonard not only pinpoints what is inherently wrong with our overinflated consumerist society (and has been for so long) but she's also able to discuss it from various angles and lay down the formulaic ways in which we can try to mend our ways and our planet.

I urge everyone to read it, check out the website AND watch the video! They really should teach this stuff in schools, if anything should be compulsory it should be this! (and P.E of course).

Check it all out on the website storyofstuff ! Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Can design make a difference?

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The other day I took a trip down to the Design Museum, most especially to check out the current exhibitions I've been itching to see, 'Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2010' and 'Sustainable Futures'. The walk from London Bridge along the river was stunning and I just had to snap this flower shop tucked away down the cobbled Shad Thames area (where parts of Bridget Jones were filmed! - I guess here's where I admit to my not-so-secret love for 'easy-watching-feel-good-films') I have always had a soft spot for this stretch along the river, so many great memories and so quintessentially London!

It was a good thing I enjoyed the sunshine on the walk down as I ended up spending the next 4 hours inside the museum!

Here are a couple of projects that really jumped out at me; projects that really make you stop, think and consider certain environmental and ethical issues that urgently need addressing. The exhibitions were not only highly engaging but even more so extremely thought-provoking.

Designed by Omlet (Johannes Paul, James Tuthill, William Windham, Simon Nicholls and Rob Harper Gow)

'Concerned nature-lovers stuck in cities are increasingly keen to help boost the UK"s declining bee population through urban beekeeping. The plastic Beehaus hive has been created in response to this desire to keep bees in safe, flora-rich habitats in urban and suburban areas. Beehives haven't been re-engineered since the 1920s and are no longer suited to the needs of contemporary hobby beekeepers, who want to house their hives on rooftops and need to manage swarming behaviour. The Beehaus addresses these technical issues while also having a restrained, functional design.'

'Cafe of Equivalents'
Designed by Kennard Phillipps

'Playing around with the notion of value in the global capitalist financial system, the project engaged City workers with some simple 'truth derivatives' during their lunchbreak. Set up in Leadenhall Market in the heart of London's financial district, the Cafe sold soup and bread at a cost equivalent with food affordability in producing countries such as Indonesia, Mozambique and Bangladesh. Calculating the ratio of the cost of soup and bread Mozambican worker earning two dollars a day - their 20 cent lunch accounts for 10 per cent of their daily wage - the Cafe applied the same percentage to the average bonus-earning-banker. Soup and bread in the Cafe of Equivalents was therefore priced from £111.20. The intervention is an attempt to create transparency in an opaque world of money, making material the physical possibilities of using financial resources for need rather than profit.' Stumble Upon Toolbar