Tuesday, 14 December 2010

InBetween Exhibition

How can we distinguish what we want and what we need? Since Maslow created his hierarchy of needs in the 1930s our consuming culture has exploded, making it easier and cheaper to get what we want, resulting in us wanting more, creating more waste in our lives, waste of time, money and self. This greedy ‘want want want’ attitude occupies us in a huge way, overtaking our needs creating a distorted triangle of needs.

We want and we need. We don’t just need. We don’t just want. But what is inbetween? The want occupies us at the same time as occupying so much space around us. Our needs are always there, the ‘anti-space’ that surrounds us. But where are we comfortable?

Every individual and culture has differing wants and needs, but we all have an inbetween. This inbetween space is away from greed and obsession with possession, simultaneously away from restriction and limitation to a space within ourselves and our environment were we belong. 

This exhibition journeys through these emotional stages that occupy our lives and time beginning from the want to the need towards the Inbetween space where we can reflect and realise. 

Friday, 3 December 2010

How to sell nothing for everything... Answer = Cereal.

Merry Christmas from Kelloggs

The creation of the Kellogg cornflake was ultimatly the origin of the processed food market. It started out in a small town in the middle of corn fields, the Kellogg brothers argued their way to the way food was perceived by the world forever.

However this cereal was simply corn. A mass-produced, easy to grow crop that after adding many preservatives, sugar and salt and put in a fancy box, could be sold at 2000% increase cost than the corn itself. Per 1kg corn costs 15p and sells as cereal for £3. Selling the product for this price means god advertising is needed. 1/4 of Kelloggs spending goes on advertising which equates to 1 billion per year. More money is spent on the advertising of cereal than any other product. Maybe this is because all it is is corn from a field with added 'nasties'.

Through the years the growth of cereal as a product has only multiplied. new sugary, chocolaty, colourful types have been developed, selling to children all around the world. Cocopops for example have developed the new wheel shaped cereal, as through research the wheel shape was proven to spark childrens imagination.

Choc 'n' Roll

What they're selling, who they're selling to and where they're selling is all part of the ladder to make the most prophet. Kelloggs demand the part of the shelf right at eye level to parents, right in-between their other products to catch everyones eye. In the 1970s however supermarkets began making their own brands, and average £1 less per kg than the main brands. The way for these brands to stay in business is all through advertising. And this has clearly worked before - Kelloggs managed to sell the leftover part of the grain (bran) which doesn't have a very nice taste, and make a 'healthy' cereal to sell to the world and make millions.

The programme The Foods that make Billions explains the advertising ideas in selling cereal, and the incredible affect it has on everyones' lives. Over 95% of us have a packet of cereal in our cupboard even if we're buying the box, not what's inside.

'According to a study on rats, some argue it is better off eating the milk and box, rather than the cereal inside'.

Funny what the power of advertising can do, isn't it?

Interested in finding out more about branding and selling of products;

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Bringing your loved ones to your bedroom

..... in a nice, friendly way!

Developing from a previous blog on 'Bringing the world to your Bedroom' I have experimented with not only environments and connecting with others on a 2D wall but now bringing what you want to your environment, enabling you to devise your perfect surroundings in any given space (that has been installed with these LED screens).

The idea enables you to chose from a 'memory bank' of places, products, people... almost anything can be attached to your bank by connecting to the internet. This virtual memory bank takes shape in built in drawers where you activate with touch, opening up the bank to enable you to virtally travel and transform your space.

People and Possessions
This image suggests the 'sharing space' (the other two being 'private' and 'social'. Private being you and your own virtual adventure and social being you and others in the same space or the space you are visiting, coming to you.)

Virtually Leaving Home to Teach in another environment

The 360degree camera follows you in the 'shared' space letting someone visit your space virtually on the walls of your environment. Instead of overwhelming the space with double layered walls, you are able to  select what you want to see and what you don't. In this example this lady has chosen her grandchild to visit her, whilst chosing a photograph of her and her husband's wedding.

It doesn't stop here. The oppertunities are endless...for example chosing wallpaper, lighting (a giant chandelier above your bed), and any other objects, scenes you want at that time.

Pop-up remembering 'app'.

This is not an answer for going outside. It is simply an option for those unable to go outside, don't want to, or simply want to change their surrounding environments.

More to come..

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

'Sustainability in the Motion Picture Industry' - Key points and arguments

Although the motion picture and TV industry has shown interest in environmental issues the ‘bulk of this interest manifests itself in environmental content of shows and films and in the environmental activism and philanthropy of celebrities, rather than in industry operations’ (pg5).  The basis of this article stems from this point suggesting ways in which sustainable practice can be adopted during the production of filming motion pictures.  Through research of interviewing environmental practices already in use in the film industry and statistics, the objective was to produce a set of ‘green guidelines’ for film producers to follow, based on studies of what was already in practice. The source concentrates on the production of the film, not mentioning distribution or content.

Film crews are very large, with well over 100 people on a location shoot, which often requires more energy than is available (mainly down to lighting required, (pg30)). This also includes heavy transportation of people, equipment, set and other necessities, all at great energy consumption. The huge extent is shown in graphs where compared to other sectors, such as hotels, petroleum refining and aerospace (pg 17). The source describes the various needs for such high-energy processes, before going into detail about how each can be done more sustainably. This includes recycling of sets and materials, films etc, consumption during filming aswell as the harmful gases emitted through filming process. The article goes on to describe various solutions to these.

The most important point highlighted is that there is a need for change in the working practices and behaviour in the film industry (pg22). This, alongside money, proves the fundamental reasons for working sustainably or not. The key concept suggests the development in communication and education to encourage sustainable processes to be adopted. A hierarchy idea is discussed suggesting the directors and producers taking time to ‘educate and influence and influential’ (pg43), and how teaching methods be looked at for potential employees in the industry prior to practice, e.g as a student. The source suggests the DGA and PGA assosiations as being the most effective to do this (pg43).

Being informed of solutions for sustainable film production is vital but also communicating this to the whole production team is as much so. It is challenge for production to know how to access this information, for example for waste removal, recycling, air quality issues etc, especially as it is different in every location. ‘An experienced location manager has all this information, but they are rare’ (pg30). Another interesting problem highlighted is that workers at film studies had a ‘deep-seated fear that any publicity about their environmental programs will attract unwanted attention to issues that still need to be addressed’, reaffirming the earlier idea of starting at the top – heads of the studios spreading the importance of environmentally friendly film making, encouraging ideas to filter through to other companies. Communication in the motion picture industry relies on ‘personal connections’ (pg22) which refers to how epidemics spread, described by Gladwell in The Tipping Point, and how this applies to the industry. A lot of how the crew run is based on attitudes. After the environmental manager meets with the production crew ‘it depends on the crew wether they care’ (pg22) enough to work in a green manner. The source suggests a positive attitude and improved communication is proven to be the starting point of ensuring sustainability in the motion picture industry.

Corbett. C. J,. Turco. R. P., (2006), Sustainability in the Motion Picture Industry, Los Angeles: California Intergrated Waste Management Board

'Pragmatic Sustainability' - a summary

‘Pragmatic Sustainability’ is written by influential people from a range of fields including science, philosophy and business. Moore has edited each chapter with conclusions on different approaches and ideas behind sustainability. Various perspectives and methodologies are explained, forming an overall conclusion that the answer to having a sustainable future means a combination of changes necessary but most importantly changing peoples’ behaviours. Jamison states ‘the challenge for the future is proper balance between personal engagement and specialized expertise between sustainable communities and sustainable growth’ (Jamison, pg79).  In the growth of the industrial world and population we have to shift all attitudes to reduce carbon consumption and use renewable energies’ etc. The questions posed are how we do this.

An vital concept repeated at various points suggests an interdisciplinary approach is fundamental to change peoples behaviours, politics and working practices which reflect on how we consume and treat the environment. This is the basis of the main argument suggesting if we do this, a sustainable future can exist and by looking at economies, society, industries, regulations, building and technologies a well-rounded view is established. Each aspect is studied thoroughly to produce this view.

Behavioural change comes economy and social politics but these are the places most reluctant to change. Thompson describes sustainability as a ‘social movement’ for ‘democracy and social justice’ (Thompson, pg27) proving the necessity for change by describing it as ‘justice’ for the people. People are categorized into three parties: the government, cooperation’s and citizens. Hess believes cooperation’s would not make this change towards sustainable practicing unless ‘sever social and environmental disruptions were to endanger the survival of elites’ (Hess, pg252). This questions how citizens can make a change if cooperation’s are failing to do so. An example where this has succeeded was in Hudson Valley River (Winner, pg85) where ordinary citizens fought and won against engineers to cancel the building a huge coal-burning factory in aid of the environment. This is a clear example of how community attitudes can overthrow industries obsession with growth and money (Moore, pg 83) to change the future. This idea is emphasized at various points.

Aswell as attitude, the other vital point Moore stresses is about economy. This greed for prophet is why companies are reluctant to operate in a more sustainable manner. If economy was reorganized to incorporate sustainable practice affordably and with profit seeking benefits would it would be used? If not Hess argues that if the market continues ‘regulation is needed’ (Hess, pg237), which again comes back to people and policies. If attitudes changed, green practices would become more popular, thus making them cheaper.

Although greening of industries is beginning to occur, ‘growth of production and consumption overwhelms the forward steps of industrial greening’ (Hess, pg236) summing up Moores point that change is needed now. The view from many fields shows an interdisciplinary approach is fundamental  and offers new thoughts and ideas on how we could develop ways of living for a more sustainable future.

Moore, S. A., ed., (2010), ‘Pragmatic Sustainability: Theoretical and Practical Tools’, Oxon: Routledge.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Bothered about Sustainability in the Film Industry?

NBC Universal Environmental Principles for Film Production

How can the film industry work in a sustainable but equally successful way?

As a designer we know we need to design for a sustainable future, we need to be 'green', we need to do this, that etc etc etc.

Where does this leave the creative art industry for film/TV?

In our culture the most popular form of leisure time is TV. TV and Films are part of most of our everyday lives, and whatever happens, most people sit down after a hard days work and chill out in front of the 'box'.

I'm interested in what happens behind the scenes, in the making of film, particularly on location.

The EMA (Environmental Media Association) are the largest group advertising and aiding ideas of 'green' filming, with 'green seal guidelines' and a yearly award event which is becoming increasingly well known and popular. Warner Brothers and stars such as Leonardo Dicaprio and many others are showing their concern about climate change. For example The Warner Bros studios have won awards for their 'green' studio practices, including the use of solar power. Dicaprio has also insisted on considering 'greener' options throughout the production of his newest films.

The EMA website has many interesting articles on how sustainability is affecting the Film Industry. At the 2010 Awards solar power was used outside the building to provide energy for the ceremony, and a green carpet was laid out for the 'green minded stars'.

Solar panel outside the EMA Awards

Film production expends a huge amount of energy, and the need for it to be done quickly, effectively, efficiently and inexpensively on the whole, mean it if often difficult to use processes and equipment that is deemed sustainable. Locational film setting also means travel to and from studios which creates an enormous amount of CO2.

Is it new technologies that need to be designed to combat these problems? Or is it our working behaviour and attitude that should change? There are increasingly more businesses developing green practices to film, including NBC Universal Environment, Green Screen  and PGA Green Does the process of filming motion pictures need to be adapted so more filming is done in the studio, less carting around to far away sites, less equipment.

Less extravagant design? Will this lose effectiveness of films when they reach us at the cinema? Will film companies be willing to accept this in order to sustain our world?

Peoples wants, needs and the 'in-between'

In the Western World, we become obsessed with possessions and 'stuff'. We become obsessed with what we look like. We become obsessed with having things, thinking that it will make us feel better about ourselves.

Maslow's Heiracy of Needs

We often become obsessed with our 'wants', which can result in neglecting our 'needs'. Maslow's heirachy of Needs can become mutated and distorted, where wants take priority over primary needs such as sleep and food. For example, people want to be skinnier and skinnier, sometimes starving themselves, damaging health, all to 'look good' and 'be happy'. But does this make them happy? No.

Are we becoming Barbie stuck in our box?

People become a product. We buy ourselves, sell ourselves like one of the rest, and our individuality can be lost. We become human barbies. We become mass-produced. We lose our sense of self-worth.

In our consuming culture, we can lose who we are, becoming trapped 'in a box', not seeing the bigger picture of lives and the world.

Investigation into peoples' 'wants' and 'needs' has shown me individuals needs and wants are completely different from one person to the next, and suggest we all need some needs and some wants to keep us content. In terms of spatial design, we have called this the 'in-between space' - a happy medium space, different for everyone but sharing common ground. With my partner, Toby, we are currently designing an exhibition based on this space.

(This post is stereotypical Consumer Culture in the Western World.)

Friday, 5 November 2010

Learn through Life

In groups we were given a specific building typology. On this typolopy we had two days to come up with our take on this using whatever materials we could find in the space of our studio.


Constantly we are learning. Consciously or subconsciously.

All around us people are learning and teaching.

Throughout our lives we learn in different ways, from being very young and learning the principles of life through structural learning and developing into more indepth learning. As our learning becomes more complex, we learn about ourselves, who we are and who we want to be.

Making in process. 'Looking Back on Learning'

The process of learning through life was split up into 7 stages and represented through use of material to express developments:

1. Birth - finger knitted white wool

2. Baby - handprints of individuals identities

3. Play - Pleated strips of pipe cleaners showing experimentation through touch.

4. Primary School - Letters and numbers, structured visual learning.

5. High School - Patchworked clothes and plastic bags showing interests and becoming your own person.

6. University - Weaved essay notes and magazines, the balance between work and play. Relationships and skills becoming deeper intwined.

7. Life - Bamboo strips tightly tied and randomly sprawled show some structure and other chaos, responsibility and uniqueness of each person.

University Weave
Bamboo Life

The frames in which we exhibited our idea represent the learning through life and the use of perspective shows  full frame of each stage in life coming together to create a full picture, looking back on learning.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Quick, easy Mind-Mapping for Dissertation

Group mind-mapping. We only have 'oNe hEAd' each, therefore we can't hold all information. Through group discussions, scribbling and jotting down simple, silly ideas is actually one of the best ways to come up with the best ideas. It helps you to open up your mind to new and interesting opinions and ideas that with yours, can create possibly thee best idea.

Group mind-mapping. For useful and easy brainstorming we worked in a group to investigate a variety of ideas about each individuals dissertation topics.

Group Mind-mapping. A fast, easy way of generating ideas and sharing information, knowledge and creativity.

Through the quick brainstorming I created a few mind-maps - one on the broad topic of Climate Change and one focusing on water, weather and the affects on the sea and environments for people and animals.

Water and the affects/how it affects Climate Change

Climate Change and Sustainability

Monday, 25 October 2010

Global Warming... are we actually to blame? And are we going to go up in flames?

We are all aware of global warming. And we are constantly told we need to stop polluting, stop using dangerous pesticides, fertilisers, deodorants, stop driving etc etc etc. And yes, these fumes are bad for the environment and atmosphere but how much impact are we actually having? And is this impact even bad?

During research into climate change and CO2 consumption, I came across a surprisingly large amount of contradictory ideas suggesting as humans, the affects we have on the environment are practically insignificant to the damaging of the atmosphere. Ironically the most interesting information I found was that the idea of 'global warming' actually came about as an argument that the world was coming too cold, so it was suggested we use more CO2 to try to warm up the atmosphere, hoping the world would warm slightly (research from Global Warming Doomsday Called off).

Simultaneously statements are thrown at us that 'The world is going to burn to death as the temperatures rise'...

The more investigate, more interesting ideas emerge with believable 'facts'. For example I was completely unaware we were in an ice-age 140 years ago!

Two interesting films that argue interesting views global warming and the affects of CO2 on the atmosphere:

The Great Global Warming Swindle. View at:



Global Warming Doomsday Called Off. View at:

Friday, 15 October 2010

V & A to Shape our Community for the Future?

Image of proposed site of V and A situated on the banks of the River Tay

As a design student in Dundee, the plans for the extended V and A Museum coming to our city is an exciting move I await with much anticipation. The people of and around Dundee, including students, councils, designers and the general public are showing the same intrigue - 700 people a day have visited the 'V and A: Making it Happen' Exhibition at Abertay University, showing the six finalist design proposals for the museum.

So far over 10,000 visitors have shown interest in the project. Evidence shown through media and community response, this can hopefully discouraged the question - 'Is this going to be the next Geelong disaster?' (where a new Guggenheim was promised to Geelong city where plans fell through at the last minute and no spectacular building was constructed.)

Last night, Kylie Messenger, author of 'Museums - Cutting Edge Culture for the 21st Century', gave a lecture about how museums are the new 'cathedral of culture' in towns and cities, a place where the community come together to collect culture in all forms, solve problems wether it social, political etc, get involved in social engagement and have fun! Not only does the new V and A have goals of improving social and political situations, it is simultaneously designed to encourage urban regeneration of around the space on the Riverside, therefore increasing community well-being, through things like employment and education.

The chosen design for the museum has to successfully create a cultural centre space for culture, debate which will become a talking point in both the community and further afield. Other museums have proven how an immensely good affect this can have on the space around it, for example Te Papa Museum of New Zealand in Wellington. The design, sympathetic to the environment around, including the sea likewise to the V and A location, encouraged community art and culture to grow around the Museum building itself.

As judge Graham Hutton stated the V and A Dundee has an amazing potential in becoming a 'constantly replenishing space' that leaves traces as parts of our city and shape our public culture. This need for creativity and culture has never been greater and through the blurring of disciplinary boundaries of the architecture itself, what is being exhibited, the city around and the community involved.

The V and A Dundee has high hopes for creating 'delight and enjoyment in the Design World to enrich peoples lives' (Kylie Message), and our community seems to be behind it all the way.

For news and events on the developments of the V and A Dundee visit;

Monday, 11 October 2010

'Bring the World to your Bedroom'

What do elderly people want? Wants are often disregarded. Through researching and talking to residents of a carehome it became apparent they want to be listened to, they want to communicate, and they want to teach and learn. The elderly have wisdom only gained through age. Being sociable is proven to improve self-esteem, wellbeing and health. This is often difficult for people living on their own, in carehomes or in a hospital.

The idea of ‘Bringing the World to your Bedroom’ is about enabling the person to access and communicate with the world through different environments. This means, through the merging of virtual and real world, people can not only leave their home space (in sense), but the world can come in, enabling communication between friends, family or anyone of your choice. For example, through webcam the elderly person could be streamed telling a story or teaching to be broadcasted to a classroom. This would work both ways, encouraging socialising, learning and being in a new environment without having to leave the comfort and safety of the bed.

research of Ideas

Playing with the merging of the virtual and real worlds through technology and projection, we can link physical space with digital information to combine two physical spaces stitched with digital networks.

Furniture and technology

By 2030, 25% of the population will be over 65, and these future generations who are people accustomed to advanced technology, internet, social networking etc. Who should say we should not be excited about growing older, to be able to communicate with the world without leaving the comfort of our own homes?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Environmental Sustainability and Design

Environmental Sustainability and Design

Liberty Thompson

Interior and Environmental Design


Over the past five decades environmental sustainability has become an increasing issue for society due to our overuse of the world’s natural sources of energy and materials. In the “Bill of Rights for the Planet”, William McDonough Architects stated that ‘placing environmental and social sustainability at the core of practices and professional responsibilities’’ should be top priority for designers today (Braungart, McDonough, 2009, pg. 25). ‘By 2050 it is likely that the world will double it’s demand for energy’ (Edward, 2010) meaning we have to find renewable sources to use instead of finite natural materials. Use of the Earths natural sources, like wind, rain and sun are increasingly being used in design and engineering to create sustainable and environmentally friendly spaces. Climate change and global warming are visible outcomes of us damaging the environment and proves it is vital to make social, political and economical changes to save the planet. Sustainable Environmental Design would mean creating a standard of buildings that emit zero carbon without the extra cost (Hardy, 2008). Not only do we need to design for now, but also for the unknown changes and problems that will arise in the future.


The first record of Environmental Sustainability in design was in Ancient Greece in 500BC who used solar power for heating in their buildings. Their study of the sun pattern influenced the layout of buildings to face the south so they could receive most sunlight. This developed the grid like layout of towns and cities, an idea still used in design today.

In the 19th century ‘nature itself was perceived as “mother earth” who, perpetually regenerative, would absorb all things and continue to grow’ (McDonough, 2008, pg. 25). Society was unaware natures sources were finite.

The Industrial Revolution meant increased mass production in products, architecture, population and factory life. Natural capital of materials like ore, timber, water and natural gases were used in disregard to the fact they would run out (Braungart, McDonough, 2009). Aswell as this the booming industry meant rapid increase in pollution from factories and new transport like cars etc, causing irreversible damage. The environment was being used as a ‘dustbin’ (Hardy, 2008). Carbon consumption rose due to increase in population and availability of new technology at an affordable price. People were unaware of the damage societies’ consumerism had, buying and throwing away without any consideration to the affect it was having on the environment. Recycling and reusing was not deemed important. In the US, it is said that over 90% of materials used to products becomes waste almost instantly (McDonough, 2008). Even today when we have more knowledge, every individual creates 3-4 pounds of waste a day of a variety of products. In The Rough Guide to Sustainability it states that one quartre of mobile phones are disregarded each year (Edward, 2010). Over many years immense amount of waste has collected in boglands and landfills across the world, damaging the ozone layer contributing to global warming.

Global Warming and climate change has brought many problems to the environment and peoples’ lives. Natural disasters such as tsunamis, droughts and flooding have become more frequent, with devastating outcomes for people and animals.


Images of the Emergency Sandbag Shelter (anon, 1999-2010)

Designers have had to develop strategies to aid people, animals and their habitats in these situations. The Emergency Sandbag Shelters are small habitats designed as a quick, sustainable and efficient response to natural disasters. using war materials of sandbags and barbed wire along with locally sourced materials, these structures ‘utilise the most available material in the world. Earth’ as stated by Nader Khalili (Cal-Earth, 1999-2010). Although designs like these would never have been needed if people hadn’t harmed our world, this simple but effective design proves it is possible to be carbon neutral and sustainable even in the worst conditions.

Global warming is the build up of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere due to our demanding cultures (McDonough, 2008). It has been affecting our climate in various ways, making summers hotter, wetter weather, altered sea patterns and shifting in seasons. Not only does this mean more sever storms and flooding, but therefore destroys living environments for people and animals. Species have died out, or are dying out because of this.

Changes towards sustainability of the environment have been happening over the past five decades. Society has become more aware to the importance of maintaining a healthy environment. Political focus in the 1970s was on reducing energy scarcity, in 1980s global warming was societies main concern and in 2000s, sustainability and design for health and poverty were recognised as our biggest issue in need of help (Edwards, 2010).

Design and Environmental Sustainability

Although all fields of design should consider the environment through their process and production, architects, urban, industrial, interior and landscape designers play a huge role in developing an environmentally sustainable future to the way we live. To do this thought has to go into every aspect of the design, from the materials to how the design is used on a day-to-day basis. Consideration has to go into what happens to it after it’s main purpose has been met (Braungart, McDonough, 2009). Architects and engineers have to recognise the need to use renewable energy sources as 75% of non-renewable energy is used in building construction. Air, water, wind and sunlight all have the potential to be used in design as renewable energy, which would reduce the carbon footprint. Designers’ and engineers alongside have created new technologies that do this. Use of these natural sources is becoming more common with technologies such as solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and using geothermal energy. The Solar Wind Pavilllion by Micheal Iantzen uses wind power, solar energy and reuses rainwater to create a fully sustainable and environmentally friendly hang out space without missing out on new technologies – this having 360degree projection screen.

Elavation diagram showing The Solar Wind Pavillions design. (Heimbuch, 2007)

Advancing technologies are resulting in more environmentally friendly architecture. This suggests great potential for the future. An example of this is the Smarthouse. The technology and design mean you are in complete control of your carbon and energy expenditure to reduce it. Ironically however, new technology such as 3D printers and lazer cutters expend more energy (Hardy, 2008).

Smarthome and it’s energy system. (Heimbuch, 2008)

Not only single housing designs are considering energy expenditure, but towns and cities are developing as completely sustainable habitats. Techniques like the Smart Growth theory which works to avoid urban sprawl and keeps everything in walkable or cycleable distances to reduce carbon consumption. A variety of housing options are available and only local sources are used to create a community that share, reuse and recycle. In the new energy strategy ‘Zero Carbon Britain’ it is said it is possible to cut our expenditure of carbon from 637tonnes per year, to zero by 2030 (Kemp, M., et al, 2010). These strategies amongst others contribute to this.

Other aspects of sustainable architecture include greentop houses, greenhouses, raised housing (to protect from flooding), air channelling designs, sky and LED lighting, more efficient use of natural light and grey water recycling amongst others. At the World Summit of Sustainable Development 2002, it was promised there would be an increased effort in the development of solar power systems, clean energy technologies being used and fuel poverty decreased by half (Edwards, 2010).

Environmental design is defined by actions that affect the social and built landscape (Manzini and Vezzol, 2008). In the ‘Call for Tectonics’, the authors state the need for;

… ‘new materials and organisational tectonics capable of both anticipating and coping with the future. This co-evolution of environments and buildings will affect our spatial, social, economic and political situations.’ (Manzini and Vezzol, 2008, pg. 15).

Architects, designers and engineers have ethical responsibility for future generations to enable them to be able to cope and develop new strategies for carbon reduction, waste prevention and to enable the maintenance of environmentally sustainable lifestyles.


American Society of Landscape Architects, 2010. Sustainability Toolkit: Environmental Models [online} Available at: http://www.asla.org/ContentDetail.aspx?id=26060 [Accessed 30 September 2010].

Basantani, M., (2007), Solar Wind Pavilion by Michael Jantzen, Inhabit –Green Design Will Save the World, [image online], Available from: http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/12/27/solar-wind-pavilion/ [Accessed 30 September 2010].

Braungart, M. and McDonough, W. (2009), Cradle to Cradle. Remaking the way we make things’, London: Vintage.

Cote, R., Shu-Yang, F., and Freedman, B., (2004). Principles and practice of ecological design’, Environmental Reviews. 12: 97-112.

Edwards, B. (2010), Rough Guide to Sustainability. 3rd Edition’, London: RIBA Publishers.

Edited by Hardy, S. (2008), Environmental Tectonics: Forming Climate Change’, London: AA Publishers.

Heimbuch, J., (2008), Agilewaves Shows Off User-Friendly Home Energy, [image online], Available from: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/09/agilewaves-shows-off-user-friendly-home-energy-monitoring-system-at-wcg-2008.php. [Accessed 30 September 2010].

Kemp, M., et al, (2010), Carbon Zero Britain 2030, Wales: CAT Publications.

Monitoring System at WCG 2008 Showhouse, [image online], Available from:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/09/agilewaves-shows-off-user-friendly-home-energy-monitoring-system-at-wcg-2008.php [Accessed 2 Oct 2010)

Manzini, C. and Vezzoli, E. (2008), Design for Environmental Sustainability, Italy: Zanichelli editore SpA.

Anon, (2009) Sustainable Design, Climate Change and The Built Environment. Architecture and the Built Environment, London. Available from: http://www.cabe.org.uk/files/sustainable-design-and-climate-change.pdf [Oct 1 2010].

Anon, 2008, Cities and Climate Change Adaption, Seville. Available from:

http://www.unhabitat.org/downloads/docs/5883_19704_Cities%20and%20Climate%20Change%20Adaptation.pdf. [Accessed 1 October 2010].

Anon, (1999-2010), Emergency Sandbag Shelter. A spin off from Khalili’s Lunar/Planetary Habitat. California: Cal-Earth Inc./ Geltaftan Foundation. Available from: http://calearth.org/building-designs/emergency-sandbag-shelter.html [Accessed 1 October 2010].

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Wikis to the Changing Society

As a group, we have been investigating various topics considering our changing society and environments. Now, we are becoming more aware of issues worldwide and at doorstep due to the media, political changes and people around us. We are being encouraged to make changes to the way we go about our everyday lives, wether it be recycling our cereal boxes, turning off your bedroom light or buying fair-trade coffee. We are investigating specific topics and how these have affected design in the past, and therefore how they will affect design in the future.

Mind mapping ideas.

'Resourcing, Social Networking and Environmental Sustainability'

Through this brainstorming process it emerged how wether the topic be Social Networking or Fair-Trade they are had similarities in problem and solution. One of the main issues that arose was Sustainability and the Environmental issues which are becoming worse. The question I ask is; are they actually becoming worse or are we just more exposed to them today through advertising, design and networking? Whatever the reasons are, society are now embracing change. This change is not just about helping 'save the planet' but also how we are no longer a world who yearns for international globalisation but more of this idea of creating sustainable living where you live. Like the idea of borrowing your neighbour a bag of sugar. As communities we should take advantage of what others around us have to offer, and the things we have that don't need. Ironic as it might seem, we can take inspiration from how we lived in the 1910s-70s, before industry and ecomony overtook peoples' lives , and get to know our neighbour. Changes in society may be small, but these issues are connected and little changes go a long way.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Environmental Sustainability and Design

Although there is no definition as such of Environmental Sustainability and Design as yet, it is one of the most important aspects to designing today. Politicians, engineers, biologists, designers and many of society are thinking about environmental sustainability and trying to incorporate into their everyday lives.

Research into Environmental Sustainability and how it affects design today proved how important it is and that each designer today has to consider such a thing whether it be designing a boutique hotel or a tub of Nutella. Through this research I created a Mindmap to understand the broad topic 'Environment' suggests, and how evident it is in society.

Beginning to investigate designs for environmental sustainability opened my eyes to the new ideas and technologies that exist and are being incorporated into simple designs of everyday objects and places. Simply look around your room and without knowing, you are sure to have/or using something, designed to try to save the planet..

Every little helps!

Jar of Nutella chocolate spread that can be used as a glass.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Youview - broadcasting plus broadband.. what could this mean?

Furthermore, I came across Youview (formally Project Canvas). Youview is concerned with creating internet-connected television. We have internet on our mobile phones, we watch TV on our phones, so why do we not have internet access on our TV?

Youview want to develop a set of standards open for industry that enables us to have things such as apps, conversations, choice of what we want to watch when we want to watch, aswell as internet access and with potential for more.

Thinking about this, I believe this potential is endless. It could mean sharing stories, teaching, communicating with the rest of the world at the switch of a button. Even more we could become stars of our own TV drama and brilliant quality streaming live potentially for the rest of the world to watch at that time, or any time they want.

Alongside entertainment, this new idea of combining broadcasting and broadband has the oppertunity to chance social spaces and the communication of people throughout the world. More importantly it could enable people to learn and teach where they may not be able to before. For example, someone who is ill, busy with children etc that cannot leave the house, would be able to turn on their TV and stream a programme teaching a specific task, were it be boiling an egg or sewing a hole in a new skirt. This point of being able to teach and learn opens up new choices for many people which could potentially improve their lives and wellbeing.

Take the elderly for example. They are blessed with wisdom and have alot to teach younger generations, although not blessed with the oppertunity to share these skills. Imagine an elderly person who is unable to leave their house, but has fantastic talent in cake decorating. Then imagine mothers who want to create their child the best birthday cake specifically for their child. With a click of the remote control these people can 'meet online on TV' whilst streaming, and the elderly person can show and teach others how to do what they do without leaving their home. Everyone wins - they have an improve self-esteem for sharing something useful, the parents have learnt something new and others can enjoy watching this interactive cooking show. Not to mention the child has a fantastic birthday cake!

If you are interested in YouView;


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Boathouse Performance Cafe Design

Designing a cafe in a boatshed based on the works by Romeo Castellucci and his theatre company. An interesting but difficult concept to grasp and come up with something that could justify and compliment his ideas whilst making it a space somewhere functional that people would actually enjoy to come and have a cup of coffee in. 

What could I extract from this controversial, over-the-top man who puts a baby on a stage and leaves it to cry in front of the audience. And dogs attacking him on stage. And dropping cars onto the stage. And breaking the back wall of the theatre to expose the street behind. What an intriguing, thought-provoking and extraordinary experience to be remembered for life.

But how can I use this in a cafe built into the confinements of one 5metre wide boatshed? Castellucci creates a sense of reality vs unreality, which is misconceiving and evoking this confusion and interest. The audience are forced to interact with the performance through material, or the set designed in such a way it overtakes the whole theatre, therefore the audience too.

Concentrating on questioning real space against 'unreal' space, I have experimented with light and rays of light that can create an interior space without being inside the lines of what 'interior' suggests. The concept influences the materials I have decided to use, for example using reflective materials including glass, and the water already situated at Oriental Bay Boathouses. Castellucci also uses copper from time to time in his performance designs to create distorted but beautiful images.

In the programme of a cafe/bar these ideas encouraged me to focus on the ritual of buying a coffee or cocktail and how we do this without paying much attention to the art of it, we simply question the moment after we take the first sip, quick enough to complain if it isn't up to our standard. In my cafe design, I intend to create this as a focal point, forcing the customer to survey how this ritual is performed, therefore creating a performance of the activity itself.

So far here are some concept ideas I intend to inhabit my space.

Friday, 30 April 2010

End to Design Movements?

After an exciting lecture from Katie Taylor from Greenspace, a graphic design based company based in London, I was not only inspired by the content and ideas expressed in the lecture, but also from a question asked at the end. 'Some of your new font is still Modernist in style, where do you think font style is going from now and in the future?'

Answer - interesting. Katie agreed with this statement and had an interesting answer. An ongoing project of Greenspace is for Zaha Hadid where the are creating a new typeface, including a website and book of projects they have done, but similatiniuosly expressing how the company works and more importantly them as individuals and their feelings. This inspired Greenspace to create not one particular font, but a variation of one main font that each employee has their own idioscincratic version, for each of their business cards. This font is made using a simple set of scrollers that you drag right and left to create maybe not a 'new style' but individual to you for you to be recognised by. An intriguing answer. And another question.. Is this where design is heading? That we no longer live through artist and design movements, our lives dictated by what they choose, that we are all designers? That everyones point of view is viable and can be listened to? Extreme idea but how far will this go? Our interaction with the digital world is growing constantly which encourages new activity and design in a different way.

The other side of Katie's answer was also that some designers were now going full cirle, embracing the Arts and Crafts, making one of truth to material ideas, carving new font etc.

Funnily enough, when I got home from the lecture I caught a glimpse of the news - a story of how Manola Blanik, the shoe designer, is creating shoes individual for everyone - online. You can go on, choose your specifics and have your perfect pair of heels... although it didn't mention how much it will cost you...

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Eruption - all bad?

Eruption in Iceland freezes all air traffic over Britain to and from all countries. The largest disruption to air travel since 9/11. Initial thought - 'Oh no, this is not going to be nice!'... and yes, of course this isn't good. But how bad really is it?

People are stranded on holiday, on work trips away, or at home. I know of someone having to extend their holiday in Barbados, one in Frankfurt but best of all my fellow Scottish Exchange Student's boyfriend who is now stuck here for an extra week and a half, and consequently her 21st birthday! After not being able to spend the past four birthdays with him due to him being in the marines, this is like a small miracle for her!

Not that this makes this eruption a 'miracle'. But, we could look on the bright side.. I mean take a look at this video;


This is the usual air space above Britain and now it is silent. The skies are clear just to stars (minus the ash thats littering it). Millions and millions of pounds this is costing but think how much it is doing for the environment, we are saving millions and millions of litres of gas, of dirt that destroys our ecosystems and causes global warming.

It seems to me like nature is fighting back to our greediness...

Image thanks to http://cache.virtualtourist.com/1719818-Volcanic_eruption_in_Vatnajokul_glacier-Iceland.jpg
Video thanks to the BBC

Friday, 16 April 2010

The middle of green.

As we know New Zealand is the youngest country in the entire world. And there are equivalent of 12 sheeps per person, remembering the population is small anyway. This population includes Mouri people, British (especially Scottish) settlers, many Asians and travellers, not forgetting these sheep and now almost as many cows (this is due to the Kiwis' new found love of dairy which they also call all of the grocery shops). 

'The one and only road'

Being separated from the North Island, the South Island of New Zealand is remote, silent and beautiful. The green of the Silver Ferns amongst palm trees and rolling mountains against the icy blue water that flows between these is a sight you cannot miss as you wind through them on the only road in the country.

Castle Hill - natural huge boulders cover the land.

After hours and hours of fresh air, fresh water and fresh greenery, you quickly forget that cities even exist. The biggest 'city' in the South Island of New Zealand is Christchurch, and actually as soon as we arrived there we instantly wanted to leave. Not because it is ugly or untraditional or any such like, it was just a city. And with that meant cars, busy roads, McDonalds... and no sheep. After a bowl of nachos we were out.

The stark beauty of the nature soothed and inspired me, glaring out of the car window for hours forgetting the icicles growing on my nose in the sharp wind. Such beauty that this country is graced with is unique and becoming so scarce throughout the world. The problem is is that it's virtually impossible to appreciate until you can experience such a place and feeling for yourself. Maybe if we could we would stop abusing this beauty and start loving the simple, natural things that 'should be' on our doorstep.

Abel Tasmain Natural Park