friday photo – FISH NOT PLASTIC…

friday photo no22 – FISH NOT PLASTIC!

fish-not-plastic

Says it all really. Yet if we carry on the way we are, there will be more plastic than fish, by weight in our ocean by 2050. A scary thought. Let’s turn the tide…

  • refuse single use plastic
  • reuse your own cup / bottle – like a Klean Kanteen / Keep Cup
  • reduce your packaged goods
  • recycle all your plastic
  • remove it from the beaches / streets / rivers, when you see it.

(image by claire potter design)

Flower filled interiors at Sketch, London…

As we have mentioned before, and was shown by our rather ear-splitting blog silence of late, May is ‘one of those months’ for us. It rushes by at the speed of light and it is not till June that we get to take stock and grumble about what we missed. The incredible flower filled interiors at London restaurant, Sketch, were on the list.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

Coinciding with the Chelsea Flower Show, Sketch invited a selection of floral artists to create site specific pieces in the various spaces open to the public – from the entrance to the egg shaped toilets.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

With each florist responding not only to the location but using blooms and foliage that can be found in the woodlands and countryside of Britain, the immersive environments created magical temporary spaces for visitors to enjoy.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

And we missed it. Looking at the coverage on the various design sites, we would have loved to visit and experience the soft dampness and scents that come with large scale installations. Would this have made us calmer? Choose different foods? Stay longer? We will never know.

But this type of interior design links in with biophilic design – where nature is incorporated into our built environment as part of the fabric of the building, not just a fleeting experience. Our own studio is flooded with natural light and features stacks of natural materials and living plants which not only help to filter our air, but give a green lushness to our space. Many people comment on how welcoming the space feels – we would hope it is our friendly studio demeanour and the coffee, but our chum nature has a lot to do with this.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

So instead of having beautiful, immersive, temporary installations, wouldn’t it be great if this was just a part of the every day interior design and architectural language? If we filled our spaces as readily with living things as we do with furniture?

Would we feel more connected with our environments and would we care for ourselves (and each other) a little more? Quite possibly. We think this is worth a try.

(images of Sketch via Dezeen)

Join us on World Oceans Day…

Today – June 8th – is World Oceans Day – a day where we can all come together and pledge to do something fantastic for our oceans, beaches, marine life and coastal regions. It is something that is very close to our hearts and has driven our studio product and material research for a good couple of years. We showed the first round of our creations at Clerkenwell Design Week this year – from a chandelier created with the World Cetacean Alliance to concept products and jewellery made from beach cleans with Surfers Against Sewage and Parley.

And we have only just got started. As they say – watch this space…

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 5

PS – want to get your hands on some of the stuff we’ve been creating recently from marine plastic? Look out for a little giveaway comp we will be running on Twitter and Instagram today too!

World Oceans Day marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 8So – will you join us and create a pledge for World Oceans Day? Take a look below for how to get involved…

(video by claire potter design – graphics by World Oceans Day)

Thunderclap it with Selfridges for World Ocean Day…

We can all be part of the sea change: support #ProjectOcean for World Ocean Day and make the #OneLess pledge to ditch single-use plastic water bottles. Because plastic pollution is NEVER en vogue.

World Oceans Day Pledge

We’ve pledged – click below to add your profile to the campaign and we can all tell people together that we are together…

Happy Birthday Sir David Attenborough…

When I was young, there were two things that I loved. Drawing and making things, and the natural world. Many a childhood weekend were spent crawling over the rockpools at Black Rock in Brighton, seeking out shore crabs and blennies or combing the strand line for mermaid’s purses and fish skulls. My Mum used to despair at the collections of old nests, owl pellets and antlers I stashed under my cabin bed. But I loved it. The natural world and everything in it filled me with wonder. And my guide, like so many others, was Sir David Attenborough.

Wildlife on One was a highlight each week, with my 8-yr old self meticulously recording onto VHS each episode that grabbed my attention. Many of these were marine episodes, and each rainy weekend when I wasn’t able to explore outside, it was the voice of Sir David Attenborough that accompanied me as I sat in my front room for the umpteenth with films of The Crabs Of Christmas Island and The Mantis Shrimp. It was a voice I knew from a young age and a voice I trusted.

It is now over 25 years since those VHS recordings, yet still, Sir David Attenborough continues to make natural history programming that enthrals, educates and instils wonder in all ages, including myself. And as he turns 90 today he shows little signs of slowing.

At an event last December I was lucky enough to attend with the RSA, Sir David Attenborough was in animated conversation with conservationalist Tim Flannery regarding climate change – (which you can watch a bit of here) – just after returning from Australia, where he was filming the Great Barrier Reef series for the BBC.

(image from the RSA)

And whilst his role in bringing the natural world to our living rooms continues, it is saddening to see how his role has shifted over the years as deforestation, climate change and ocean acidification have tightened their grip on the planet through the actions of man. On my own patch of Brighton beach, the increase in marine litter and plastic I’ve witnessed since those days of childhood exploring fills me with sadness. However, it has also played a very important role in the work we undertake at the studio, and in recent interviews, Sir David Attenborough has also expressed the opinion that you can only start to create positive change if you see, and experience the issue.

We are all seeing the issues – and it would be wonderful if we all paid a little more attention to what we can do to mitigate the global problems.

And I’m sure, as we learn more and discover more, it will be that comforting voice of Sir David Attenborough that will be there to guide, advise and to educate.

cake

From all of us at the claire potter design studio – we wish Sir David Attenborough the very best of birthdays. Thank you for inspiring us still. 

friday photo – more plastic than fish by 2050?

Friday photo no2 – will there be more plastic than fish by 2050?

more plastic than fish by 2050

(image by claire potter design)

***EVENT*** Big Spring Beach Clean for Surfers Against Sewage…

Each Spring and Autumn, Surfers Against Sewage mobilise thousands of volunteers across the whole of the UK to undertake beach cleans – and this year, we were delighted to be the Lead Volunteers for Hove, organising the Big Spring Beach Clean last weekend. We care very deeply about our environments – global and local – and coupled with our continuing studio research into marine litter and plastics, this was something we just had to do. Big Spring Beach Clean 7Sunday morning dawned bright blue, clear and sunny, which, when you are running volunteer events, is an incredibly welcome sight indeed. With such important causes, you will always get people who will turn up, but the sun certainly helps. By 10am, we were set up on the Promenade behind the Kind Alfred Leisure Centre, with boxes of marine litter we had previously recovered, sets of gloves, a box of homemade brownies and the largest chunk of rope I have ever seen, that we hauled off the beach minutes before. And people arrived – single people, couples, sets of friends, families – even a few passers by who were recruited into the cause too. A quick briefing from Claire about marine litter and it’s global impact, a safety briefing and a tide briefing and people scattered East and West along the beaches of Hove. Big Spring Beach Clean 5

About an hour later, the first of the volunteers popped back, with the first bag of marine litter – a mass of coloured plastic, bits of metal and fishing gear clearly visible through the transparent bag. We chose to use these plastic bags for this very reason – we wanted passers by to SEE what the volunteers were picking up so we could discuss WHY this was an issue and just how big the issue was. Many people stopped to take photos of the bags as they piled up over the two hours of the clean.Big Spring Beach Clean 3

By the ‘official’ end of our Big Spring Beach Clean, our fantastic volunteers had recovered 25 bags of marine litter from the beaches of Hove, weighing an estimated 40-45kg. This was everything from plastic bags, bottles and packaging to fishing gear, bits of single use bbq’s andrandom items. We had a black lacy dress, a pair of broken sunglasses, a baseball cap, knitted pants and one flipflop. Nearly a complete outfit, if a bit random – even for Brighton standards. Big Spring Beach Clean 1

One volunteer decided to just concentrate on palm oil, which we have had washed up in huge quantities recently in Brighton and Hove. These chunks of white fat pose a serious health risk to children and dogs, who can become fatally poisoned if they consume them. Many of the people we spoke to on the prom didn’t know what palm oil was, so this was another great educational opportunity.Big Spring Beach Clean 6By midday, with the wind blowing and the tide coming in, all our volunteers were safely back at our temporary HQ and were thanked with more homemade brownies and one of our Brighton architecture A6 recycled paper notebooks each. Everyone looked rosy from the wind and delighted at our collective efforts. Big Spring Beach Clean 2

A great day. Thank you to everyone who came and cleaned, for those who stopped to talk to us about the marine litter issue and of course, Surfers Against Sewage for getting us all out there for the Big Spring Beach Clean. Watch this space as we use some of the material we recovered in new designs which will feature at our first ever Clerkenwell Design Week exhibition at the end of May…

(images by claire potter)

SPOTTED – the new IKEA indoor gardening kit…

We always find it interesting to see which of our posts here on the ecospot are the most popular. Some change with the month, but some of our all time most popular posts concern green walls, indoor gardening and growing your own food. This internal greening is a trend that we have seen grow (sorry) over the last few years, with our clients requesting internal planting as an integral part of the design – both for the appearance and air cleaning qualities. We have also been able to encourage some internal growing of crops too, from herbs to soft fruits. And it does not have to be complicated either, so it was with great interest we spotted the latest launch from a global giant set for May – the IKEA indoor gardening kit.

Developed in collaboration with agricultural scientists in Sweden, the KRYDDA/VÄXER series includes everything you need to get sprouting and keep your garden growing – using mainly water – the hydroponic system that actually produces many of our crops globally.

IKEA indoor gardening

From seedling to fully grown plants – hydroponics are well within the grasp of any household, making super localised food production a reality. And if you choose wisely, you could even grow varieties that you simply cannot buy easily as they are not suitable for commercial production.

IKEA indoor gardening

IKEA have even produced a video to show just how easy it is…

This does ring a bell with us too, as a while back we bought the fantastic project book, ELIOOO by Antonio Scarponi which also does just this – shows you how to create your own hydroponic set-ups with IKEA products, with IKEA style instructions. (you can buy the book here too) It is very interesting to see IKEA themselves moving into this area of indoor growing…

IKEA indoor gardening

Watch this space – we will get hold of one of the new IKEA indoor gardening kits and see how we get on.

(images and story via IKEA)

We’re leading a Spring Beach Clean for Surfers Against Sewage!

In the latest of our events, we are delighted to announce that we are supporting Surfers Against Sewage and Parley for the Oceans for the Big Spring Beach Clean 2016. We will be leading the Hove Beach Clean on Sunday 10th April, starting at 10am on the beach behind the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove. (we know the poster says the 11th – 17th, but that weekend clashes with the Brighton Marathon, so we are starting early!)

We will be scanning and removing from the beaches all pieces of plastic, netting and general rubbish for two hours, and we would love you to join us from 11am if you are about! Just turn up.

So why do we think, as designers, that this is something we need to be involved with?

Well, we have spoken repeatedly here on The Ecospot about the issues with marine litter, plastic and ghost gear netting – including our most recent project in association with the World Cetacean Alliance which resulted in our Ghost Gear Chandelier.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 4

And given that there is an estimated 40 million pounds of plastic floating about in the North Pacific alone – and every piece of plastic, unless we have incinerated it, is still on the earth, this is a huge environmental and health issue for both the oceans and us, as the ingested plastic travels up the food chain. From a designers point of view, this is a huge, barely tapped resource of possible raw materials. This is what really excites us.

So, as well as cleaning up the beaches to reduce the impact of marine litter on both wildlife and humans, the Surfers Against Sewage Big Spring Beach Clean is this year being run in association with Parley for the Oceans, who will be recovering the bagged litter for reuse and recycling. As part of our own studio research, we will also be recovering some of the plastic and ghost netting for use in some exciting projects we have in the pipeline – using the Parley A.I.R. strategy of Avoid, Intercept, Redesign.

A I R.jpg

the cycle.jpg

We will be releasing more news in the coming weeks about just what we are doing with this plastic we are recovering – and where you can see the resulting pieces and our current research results…

And we  would love you to join us for the Big Spring Beach Clean – if you are available on Sunday 10th April from 11am – 1pm, pop down to the Hove seafront with a sturdy set of gloves and get involved. Look out for me – I’ll be in this t-shirt!

Big Spring Beach Clean t-shirt 2016

Any questions – give us a shout at hello@clairepotterdesign.com

(image by claire potter, SAS and Parley)

 

the New Plastics Economy – rethinking the future of plastics…

Plastic has become quite an obsession for us over the last year or so – especially the issues with marine litter and the scary abundance of single use plastics entering our waste streams. This is one of the reasons why we have become involved with the World Cetacean Alliance ‘Untangled’ Project, which involves designers and artists creating new pieces from fishing gear rescued from beaches around the country. Of course, as plastic based products, these pieces of netting and fishing gear – known as Ghost Gear – float about, photodegrading over time into smaller pieces and eventually ending up in the food chain as small fish eat the plastic and larger fishes eat the smaller fishes.

And this is true of all plastics that are in our oceans – not only Ghost Gear. Every piece of litter in our oceans that is plastic based will gradually degrade and be eaten – killing vast numbers of fish and mammals in the process. We have not even started to realise the issues that plastic causes to our own bodies, as we ingest fish that have eaten (and stored toxins from the plastic) in their own bodies.

Plastics are a huge, global issue, that are not going away. Yet, plastics that have become ubiquitous with our throwaway culture are actually valuable and essential materials. 

So, it was great to see that the circular economy specialists, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation publish a report on the issues with plastic, and how the whole industry could be transformed if we worked in a more circular nature. This makes perfect sense – our production of plastic has increased 20x over the last 50 years and is only set to increase, whilst plastic itself is a perfect material for reuse – so long as it is recovered, and not leaked into our oceans.

This ‘leakage’ of plastics from the waste stream into our oceans is currently estimated at being a staggering 32%. If we rethink ocean plastic as a resource for recovery and of value, rather than of waste, then we could go a long way.

And something needs to be done – as the projections are that if we continue with the business as usual model with plastics, there will be more plastic in our oceans and seas than there are fish, by weight, by 2050.

That’s a scary thought indeed…

This report demonstrates the importance of triggering a revolution in the plastics industrial ecosystem and is a first step to showing how to transform the way plastics move through our economy. To move from insight to large scale action, it is clear that no one actor can work on this alone; the public, private sector and civil society all need to mobilize in order to capture the opportunity of the new circular plastics economy. – Dominic Waughray / World Economic Forum

Want to read more? You can download the full report here. 

(images courtesy of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

The Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt 3

Things are coming together for our Untangled Project – the Ghost Gear Chandelier which we are creating for the World Cetacean Alliance – which will be exhibited alongside the work of other artists and designers very soon. So – how have we been progressing? We have been sorting and washing our netting…World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 2World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 3 World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 4

And with our ghost gear netting colour sorted, and through four water changes to get rid of the grit and smell, we turned our attention to the hardwear element of our Ghost Gear Chandelier…

We are massive fans of Factorylux – and use their stuff in many of our projects (including our own Studio Loo) as the gorgeous coloured fabric cable, fixtures and fittings they produce are exceptional quality, and it was not long until we had decided on a bright blue lighting flex and antique brass lamp holders. The bulb – one of Factorylux’s stunning eco filament bulbs will be revealed soon as we start to build our Ghost Gear Chandelier.

claire potter design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear lighting hardwear

Watch this space!

(images by claire potter)

The Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt2

Earlier this week we introduced the Untangled Project we are currently working on for the World Cetacean Alliance – taking washed up fishing netting known as ‘ghost gear’ from the beaches of the UK and highlighting this as a global issue by creating something from the waste. As part of a troop of designers and artists, each piece that is currently being created will be first exhibited in London, before being auctioned off, raising funds for the World Cetacean Alliance.World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 8

And today, we can officially reveal glimpses of what we are designing and making… the Ghost Gear Chandelier.

claire potter design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear concept detail

We started by looking at the hunting behaviour of the whale given to us in our brief – the Humpback – and we discovered that some groups have learnt to collaboratively hunt using a technique called ‘bubble netting’. This highly developed form of hunting requires each whale to play their part – first, one individual locates the shoal of fish and swims beneath them, circling them from below whilst blowing bubbles and surrounding them with a confusing ‘net’ of bubbling water. The fish get disorientated by these bubbles and bundle together, allowing the group of whales who have been communicating by song to rise from the deep together and scoop the fish into their mouths. We became fascinated by this as a behaviour.

claire potter  design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear conceptSo, taking the concept from the ghost gear baubles we created at Christmas, we are scaling up the design to create a large (and we are not sure exactly how large yet) chandelier, made from clear bubbles filled with cleaned, shredded and colour coded ghost gear netting… and whilst this concept is linked to the undeniably beautiful bubble netting behaviour of some humpbacks, the fact that ghost netting is regularly eaten by mistake cannot be ignored.World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 7 We are hoping that this light will talk about both humpbacks and ghost netting on many levels.

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 6

Watch this space for more info on the Ghost Gear Chandelier, as we start to mock up the design in the next week, and don’t forget to head to the Creations for Cetaceans Facebook page that has been set up by the World Cetacean Alliance and will be showcasing the other projects as they develop…

(photos by claire potter)

Creations for Cetaceans – the Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt1

At the start of the year we hinted at a few of the exciting projects that we were going to be part of in 2016… and we are delighted to announce the first of these – the Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance. 

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 1

Regular readers of the ecospot will know that the studio has been getting more involved and researching the area of marine litter and plastic over the past year and how, as designers, we respond to these as challenges. We have looked into the issues of microplastic, examined our own relationship to plastic in our work and championed projects who seek a solution to the issues – including those working with Ghost Gear – abandoned or discarded fishing nets which continue to catch and kill as they drift around our oceans. And in late 2015, we launched our popular Ghost Gear Baubles which contained rescued netting from the beaches of Brighton, sold during our Artist’s Open House open studio, with all proceeds going to Surfers Against Sewage.

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 3

And so we are very excited that we are working with Ghost Gear again, as part of the Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance, which has brought together a huge range of artists, designers and makers to develop ‘creations for cetaceans’. We cannot wait to see what is being created.

But what are we doing? Well, we have a couple of things up our sleeve that we will be talking about here in the next two weeks or so, plus we are creating a video of our development, sourcing and making process. Taking the bauble we created in December, we are scaling up to something rather large indeed. 

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 2

Watch this space for developments of our process, and head over to the World Cetacean Alliance Facebook Page – Creations for Cetaceans to see how the other artists and designers are tackling the brief – and how you could own one of the pieces being created…

(images by claire potter)

2015 recap – November – The Global Wave Conference…

Much of our studio research in 2015 was about marine litter – a theme which will continue into 2016 with a couple of very exciting projects in the pipeline. So, it is no surprise that November saw us looking at the Global Wave Conference…

(first published November 17th 2015)

Many moons ago, I wanted to be a marine biologist. Obsessed with sharks (and their behaviour patterns) I was going to travel the world studying these beautiful creatures and educating people about how they are animals to be admired, not feared. Fast forward a few years and I now study design, not sharks, but this deep connection to the oceans has never left. Living and working in Brighton certainly has something to do with this too, but the deeper we delve into our place as designers in this world, the more concerning we find our global attitude to our seas. It is not only sharks that have a lack of respect. And so, it was with great delight that we happened upon the Global Wave Conference, which, for the first time this year was held in the UK.

global wave conference

Hosted by Surfers Against Sewage (who we support as members in the studio), the three day event featured an incredible line up of environmentalists, researchers, artists, scientists, activists as well as surfers – each with their own observations, actions and concerns about our oceanic attitudes and the impact we have with our consumerist ways. Our seas and oceans reach between us all, across the globe – it’s one thing that truly unites us.

The conference was split into categories, with specialist speakers in each:

Surfing health and tourism

Surfing ecosystems

Climate and surfing coastlines

The surfing economy

Surfing and protected areas

We were gutted to not be there – our studio research has very much been rooted in the ocean plastic and litter issue for a little while, but fortunately, each of the inspirational talks were recorded – and are now available on the Global Wave Conference website, but to get you started, we have selected three of our favourite talks which look in detail at our own obsession with marine litter and what you can do with it – Dr Marcus Eriksen from the 5 Gyres Institute, Jon Khoo – Co-Innovation partner with Interface Carpets and David Stover – Co-Founder of Bureo Skateboards (who we wrote about here)… enjoy.


(images and videos via the Global Wave Conference)

2015 recap – September – Zero Waste Week and Silo Brighton…

We are in the last week of our 2015 recap now, and for today we are casting our minds back to September, where we were mostly talking about zero waste…

(first published 10 Sept 2015)

Continuing our look at zero waste for zero waste week, today we are featuring one of our favourite places in Brighton. Silo, which opened in the North Laine area of the city earlier this year is heralded as a ‘pre-industrial food system’ which, as well as producing beautiful and delicious food, also produces zero waste.

root_veg

Now, for a restaurant to declare that its is ‘zero waste’ is a huge achievement, but as founder of Silo, Doug McMaster points out – if you design and create ‘backwards’ – ie with the bin in mind, you can begin to eliminate waste before it has been produced, rather than dealing with it at the end. This is effective and clever.

Silo demonstrate that by working with producers directly, you can choose items that have been produced locally, in reusable / returnable vessels that continue to be in the loop once the contents have been used at the restaurant.

silo brighton 2

But reducing the packaging that you use is one thing. The largest, and most pressing waste produced from a restaurant is the food waste itself. Scraps, peelings, left overs – where does all this go? At Silo, they have Big Bertha – a composting machine that sits just inside the entrance to the side of the restaurant and converts everything into compost and liquid feed in an astonishingly short amount of time.

The 50-60kg of compost it produces overnight is distributed back to the growers that they get their raw goods from – literally closing the loop. As you enter the restaurant, one shelf is filled with boxes from the Espresso Mushroom Company, happily sprouting their brown and pink oyster mushrooms from the mix of recycled compost and locally sourced coffee grounds in the cool shade.

silo brighton 3

But it is not just the food that is zero waste at Silo – the pastries that greet you are served on multicoloured discs of plastic – melted plastic bags that have found a new use and the interior itself is a delight of the industrial aesthetic with reclaimed wood seating and reclaimed flooring used as tables.

There is a distinct honesty to everything at Silo. The kitchen is open at one end, the flour is milled in another corner of the open plan space (although not when service is on as it is pretty noisy) and the jugs of water are filled with the visible offcuts of herbs from the kitchen. You drink the water from jam jars and lovely ceramic mugs, obviously.

silo brighton 1

Many people have baulked at the idea of a zero waste restaurant, confining it to the very ‘green orientated creatives’ that live in Brighton, but whilst Silo wears a lot of it’s ethics on it’s sleeve (and rightly so), it also does it rather quietly. There is no massive signage declaring how it is holier than thou. Ask one of the staff and they will enthusiastically explain the systems – even Big Bertha – but there is no ramming of information down your throats, even though this is the system that many more restaurants could be (and should be) employing.

silo_raspberries

Go to Silo for the delicious food – and realise how zero waste in the food industry is possible.

(images by claire potter design and via silo)