Many of us are very used to solving problems with a few clicks of the mouse. So when the temperature rises, fans and air conditioning units are purchased and plugged in around the globe, delivering cool air to make like a bit more bearable. But what if you can’t do this? What if you live in a hot country but do not have the means to ask Amazon to deliver you a fan, or indeed, the electricity to plug it into. This is the case for thousands of people across the globe. But there is something that could help, and could be made wherever it is needed – an air conditioning unit made from plastic bottles, called the Eco Cooler.
Using no electricity at all, the Eco Cooler, developed by Ashis Paul at Grey Dhaka works by funnelling the hot air from outside through the narrow neck of the bottle, compressing the air and cooling it – for example – breathe on your hand and it feels hot. Blow on your hand and it feels cool. It’s the same, very low tech method.
And of course, as we write about a great deal here on The Ecospot, plastic bottles can be found literally in all corners of the planet. Using them, or even reusing them as in the Eco Cooler is a very good idea indeed.
Mounted on a piece of waste board, this incredibly simple addition can lower the internal temperature by over 5 degrees – with no electricity required. In just 3 months, over 25,000 have been installed – many from the free downloadable plans available to all.
A few years ago, I was training for the Brighton Marathon and spent a good chunk of time clocking up the miles along the seafront promenade. What struck me (through the utter boredom) was how many people were running too. Had they always been there? Were they training for an event too? Or had I just never noticed them until now? Everywhere I looked, there were people running. And so it is with everything marine litter. Each day, we find more and more articles, products, initiatives to log in our marine litter files. Is it that we just are more tuned in, or are there more people actually talking (and doing something) about it? Is this the start of the ‘sea change’ on marine litter?
Who can say. But we did notice that The Guardian published a rather interesting round up of ‘surf related product innovations’ not in their sport and lifestyle pages, but in their circular economy section, which we think is rather telling.
For many, business and product innovation is something that happens in the city, or tucked away in workshops and design studios across the globe. Talk to someone about the surf industry and not everyone will make the connection with forward thinking – sustainable – product creation.
However, it has been our experience that those who are the closest to the problem have the most to gain from creating positive change, and of course, they understand the issue completely. So a whole range of sustainable business and product innovations related to marine litter from surf industries should fit like a non-neoprene glove.
So – here is the run down from The Guardian’s article, published 02 August 2016…
Otter Surfboards – created from wood rather than synthetics, with timber from local, responsible forests and with all ‘waste’ used somewhere else in the system, these boards are the pinnacle of hand made…
Rareform – billboard surf bags – in the same vein as our beloved Frietag truck tarp bags, these surf bags utilise everything the advertising vinyls are good at. Hardwearing, waterproof and minimising waste.
Patagonia and Yulex – natural rubber rather than synthetic neoprene wetsuits made from highly managed, sustainable forests – launched this week. (NB – Natural rubber has been a bit of a poster material in the last few years, but as demand has gone up, ethical practices have been swamped by those seeking to make a wad of cash from rubber plantations created from cleared natural forests) Great to see Patagonia taking the lead – again.
Enjoy Handplanes– made from mushrooms. Yes, really. And expect to see lots more products hit our shelves as we are only just starting to realise the potential of this material…
FiveOceans – a surfboard fin made from recovered marine waste – working to save the five oceans.
RubyMoon and Finisterre – swimwear made from Econyl – a yarn made completely from recovered waste nylon, such as fishing nets.
So when you think about it, creating items from waste marine litter makes perfect sense, and who would be your earliest adopters? Those who work, live and play in the setting. They understand the issues and want to do something about it. It’s a great place to start.
Next week, we will be up at Clerkenwell Design Week, exhibiting in the Platform House of Detention venue with our concept products created from marine waste we have recovered from the beaches of Brighton. We will be talking A LOT about marine plastic and it’s impact on our global oceans, so it is actually quite timely that there is a good news project which is aiming to mitigate these impacts. Meet the new, edible six-pack rings from US based Saltwater Brewery…
Created from the by-product of the brewing process, the new style rings will break down naturally in the environment and provide food, rather than toxic laced plastic for marine animals to snack on. Given the fact that around 6.5 billion cans of beer were drunk in the USA last year, that amounts to a great deal of plastic can rings – many of which would have ended up in the oceans. This alternative, Saltwater Brewery claim, could actually become cost effective if adopted by large scale manufacturers – matching not only the price of plastic rings, but the strength also.
This, of course, is great news. If plastic could be removed from the beer can waste stream, then a long standing entanglement problem could have been eliminated, but there is a bigger issue here.
If we are creating stuff that CAN be thrown into our oceans with no problems, are we not reinforcing what is, really, a negative behaviour? How can we expect people to differentiate between what is ok to chuck in the sea and what is not? Of course, if this new edible six-pack rings DO end up in the ocean, there is no harm done, but is this solution the best possible action?
Of course, there is no right answer. We applaud an industry taking responsibility for what is a huge environmental issue caused by their products. This is certainly better. But is it best? We are not sure.
(image from Saltwater Brewery / We Believe / Caters)
Plastic. We speak about it a lot here on the Ecospot, which, for an eco design blog may first appear a bit odd. But it is one of the most prevalent materials on our planet, reaches to every corner of the globe, and despite being mostly derived from oil, is considered cheap and throwaway. It is possibly one of our biggest material and design challenges we have. So, our studio research is based around plastic a great deal, especially marine plastic. Plastic is precious and should not be a throwaway material – so we were really excited to see Precious Plastic launched by Dutch designer Dave Hakkens last week…
The culmination of over two years work, Precious Plastic aims to rethink our personal connections with the recycling of plastic. We are all very used to sticking plastic in our recycling bins and allowing our local authorities ship it on to recycling and reprocessing specialists, but we don’t do anything with it ourselves. We are divorced from the recycling process.
But instead of seeing plastic as ‘waste’ we could be thinking about it as a material ripe for recovery and reprocessing into new things. And let’s be honest, plastic waste is something we see floating around our streets and in our oceans no matter where we live. We certainly do not have a shortage of raw materials.
So what is Precious Plastic? Basically, Hakkens has designed a set of four, open source machines that mimic the types of large processing machinery used in plastic production but that use pieces of stuff that you can, again, find anywhere on the planet. Bits of old oven, old metal scraps, generic pieces that can be adapted to what you have.
Starting with a shredder to process your plastic, the three remaining machines allow you to DIY injection mould, extrude and compress your raw plastic to create a range of new forms. All open source with downloadable plans.
But as well as being a DIY project, Hakkens suggests that you could even set up your own mini design and make workshop using the system using recovered plastic and even ask people to bring their plastic to you, which you could repay with money or products.
As well as the hands-on and open source element of this project, we love the fact that Precious Plastic is exactly that – communicating the fact that this ‘throwaway material’ is everything but. It is precious and has a value. Imagine a world where all our waste had a value. That would be the first step towards a circular economy for sure.
Head over to Precious Plastic to learn more about the project, look at the videos, share the story and get involved.
One thing about being a designer is that you are continually researching and noticing stuff. Everywhere. We barely switch off. Which is why last week, whilst in the mountains snowboarding, something caught my eye… Someone was sitting at a bar at 2300m above sea level with a jacket sporting the universal ‘recycling’ logo. Then I saw another. And another. Picture Organic Clothing was all over the mountain on snowboarders and skiers of all ages. I was very excited indeed and became quite a Picture spotter over the six days.
So, why was I so excited? Picture, who were founded in France in 2008, are the forerunners of truly sustainable snow / surf / skate wear – making all their kit from recycled or recovered or organic raw materials, from cottons to polyesters. Whilst many brands do use some recycled or even organic content, this is often a bit of lip-service to the ‘eco’ section of their brand. With Picture, it is their whole brand.
And I was also excited because of the volumes of people I saw wearing it. Often ‘eco’ products are hailed as being ‘for all’ yet actually target a very niche set of people, be it aesthetically or cost wise. Picture proudly display their credentials literally on their sleeves, but even through the style is very distinct (bold and geometric), there is no stereotypical wearer. They sit very stylishly on the mountain. Picture products are responsible and desirable.
They are also comparable cost wise to other brands, so the sometimes argument of responsible products being out of the price range of consumers also does not apply. Yes, we are talking about a lot of money for a jacket (in three figures), but any good quality snowboard jacket will set you back this amount.
Of course, when we think about sustainable products, the best option is to keep what you already have, but it is fantastic that when it does come the time to replace it, you have the best possible option available – a well considered product made from recycled or reclaimed materials.
An interesting feature of some of the Picture products is also their inbuilt ‘second life’ features, such as rucksacks that can be cut apart at the end of their usable life and transformed by the owner into everything from pencil cases to laptop bags.
As well as encouraging reuse through this ‘second-life’ option, Picture jackets also feature internal sections that are made from the offcuts of the making process, minimising wastage of precious materials on the factory floor. And if a piece of apparel does truly end it’s life, then Picture will take it into their own recycling system for recovery, reuse or donation. With a 95% same material content, the Welcome Jacket is the first 100% recyclable technical jacket on the market.
It is so great – and so exciting to see a brand that cares deeply, and is really thinking through the issues with truly sustainable apparel design. It is even more exciting to see it going from strength to strength and being adopted on a huge scale. People really do care.
So – when my current kit runs out, guess what brand’s kit I will be wearing as I hammer down the slopes on my board?
In April this year we were delighted to be invited to attend the Salone del Mobile with Ford, to see how they are showcasing, and being innovative with design…
(first published April 15th 2015)
A few of you noticed that it was a little quiet here on The Ecospot these last couple of days – this is because we have just returned from a trip to Milan to see how Ford is pushing design innovation, and exactly how they fit into the Salone del Mobile festival…And this is an interesting point. Traditionally, the Salone del Mobile has been described as ‘the global benchmark for the home furnishing sector’, which does not really fit with the automotive sector. However, as we all know, design is multi-faceted and many areas flow into the next – including inspiration.
So, it was very interesting to see how Ford, who were the first automotive company to exhibit at Salone del Mobile in 2013, approach the subject of design philosophy and product design.
Of course, any car is the sum of multiple designers, iterations and decisions, but could the general philosophy of the design be applied to completely new sectors? This is the challenge that Ford set their global design teams. ‘Create an object with thought, not just styling that can be delivered with an efficient use of materials – using the philosophy of the new Ford GT interior design as inspiration’.
126 proposals were returned from the in-house Ford Design team, ranging from a sandwich to a guitar – 10 of which were selected to be shown at the 2015 Salone del Mobile exhibition in Milan.
So – why is this an important and interesting exhibition? As Moray Callum, Global Vice President of Design at Ford explained ‘we are not permitted to show the new Ford GT on the stand, but we are showing how stretchy and creative our designers are, along with an insight into the depth of design work that goes into creating any product’
This refreshing and alternative way of representing the design thinking and concepts is also shown in the beautiful Ford FAVILLA installation that we will be featuring on The Ecospot later this week.
Back on the FORD stand, it was interesting to see the similarities in the designs themselves – although each piece was distinctly different, there was a common ‘thread’ that tied them all together. This could be described as the ‘design language’, but each piece had clearly been developed from the same philosophy. Clean, balanced, functional, highly detailed and in some cases, specialist.
This is why the collection, which ranged from the guitar to an LED clock (our personal favourite piece), a Foosball table to a chair, a racing yacht to a racing helmet were so successful…
In the question session, we asked the Ford Design team about whether any surprises were discovered within the submitted designs:
‘even though we will not be actually making these products in real life, we have discovered more about the passions of our designers and the breadth of their creativity, which will certainly feed into how Ford designers, design in the future’ explained Moray Callum.
And this is key. Design without passion is just not right. Something does not quite fit – and we are all becoming more and more sensitive to those types of design that are a little bit ‘designing for designs sake’. But, design with passion and real creativity? That is always clear – and there are great examples of how passionate designers think on the Ford stand this year.
(all photos by Claire Potter – video and GT interior courtesy of Ford)
Festivals do not need to mean tents, mud and questionable sanitary provisions. Starting today, and running until the 20th November, the Disruptive Innovation Festival is a (mostly) online event dedicated to the discussion and expansion of knowledge around all things circular economy – our own committed way of working here at CPD.
Founded by the circular economy pioneer charity, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2014, the DIF… ‘brings together thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, businesses, makers, learners and doers to catalyse system-level change for a future economy. Over three weeks, using a mix of online and face to face events, participants have an abundance of opportunities to explore the economy through a different lens. We want to share all the ways you and our partners are challenging the linear ‘take make and dispose’ model of the economy, replacing it by a more prosperous regenerative and circular economy – is this the ultimate disruption?’
It is very exciting. We will be talking about the DIF and circular economy issues a great deal over the next few weeks, posting about up and coming talks and reviewing those that we take part in ourselves. And the best part is that most of it is online – and therefore accessible to most of us. And it is free.
Register for the Disruptive Innovation Festival here – and get exploring. From the Big Tent Talks, to the Open Mic events, there will be something for everyone who would like to know more about how the circular economy is the way forward for the way we live, work – and how we can thrive.
Want to see the highlights from the 2014 event? Take a look below…
Last weekend we were delighted to be part of the 2015 Eco Open Houses trail in Brighton – opening up our workspace, Studio Loo to the public. This is the second time that we have been part of the trail as we opened for visitors in 2014, when the studio was about 80% through it’s conversion from derelict wc to the eco office space it is now. It was great to look back over the past year and recall the photos from the construction period.
And it was also great to welcome back people that visited last year – many had returned so they could see how we had finished the space. For instance, visitors last year saw the reclaimed parquet flooring as individual sticks in bags, but this year they got to see it down, sanded, polished and lacquered – and complete with a years worth of little scratches and dents from use.
But it was also great to welcome a load of new people to Studio Loo – many of whom had travelled a fair distance to see our converted wc and talk to us about their own projects – and how what we have done could be applied to their spaces.
We discussed recycled paint, solid insulation, solar gain and glazing, timber certification and we even gave away a few of our secret spots for finding reclaimed furniture and materials in Brighton and the surrounding areas.
On Saturday we had a visit from MP for Portslade and Hove, Peter Kyle, who was with us for almost an hour discussing the merits of great design and the reuse of abandoned buildings, and on Sunday we had a visit of nearly 40 people in one go, courtesy of Cara Courage and the Brighton and Hove Urban Ramblers…
Another great weekend of chatting about all things sustainable design and architecture – we are now gearing up the studio for our next public opening as part of the Christmas Artist’s Open Houses – watch this space!
(images by claire potter and courtesy of Cara Courage and Eco Open Houses)
With multiple retailers pushing the next ‘key look’ on an almost daily basis, fashion might not be the first industry that screams sustainability. In fact, ‘fast fashion’ is perhaps the antithesis of sustainability – with an enormous amount of virgin raw materials used and seemingly worthless human labour hidden away behind the cracked walls of many an intensive factory. Exploitation, not ethical design. But fashion can get a bad rap. The values of some are certainly not the values of many, and as consumers, we have a large part to play too. Fortunately, there are many designers who think that sustainable design is not a trend, but the way the industry should be moving – with ethics across the board from materials to workers rights. And Brighton Fashion Week 2015 is spearheading the future. Running from 15th – 17th October this year, Brighton Fashion Week features a range of events, from the standard catwalk shows to clothes hacking / reuse workshops and debates on the issues key to the fashion industry. Each event has the inner vein of sustainable design, proving that fashion and sustainability are not, at all mutually exclusive. This is essential to communicate to not only the industry itself, but to all of us. We all wear clothes, after all…
‘Not all purchasers of fashion understand the impacts of what they choose to buy. Brighton Fashion Week will tell the story of waste people create from their fast fashion shopping fix contrasting this with sustainable fashion practices and the need for fair wages.’‘We have started to increase consumer awareness around the social and environmental impact of clothing through our events, social media and press coverage over the past two years and wish this to increase further. We now have decided to bring criteria around sustainability in fashion into ALL aspects of the event (the three main catwalk shows) as we feel this is an essential step that the fashion industry needs to take.’
We are delighted – and very excited to announce that we will be covering many of the fantastic events that are being held for Brighton Fashion Week 2015 here on The Ecospot, so stay tuned to our reports from the week.
The schedule for the week is great – click here for full details of all the shows, events and workshops. We are really looking forward to the debates, which have a stellar line-up of speakers from the extended fashion industry, as well as resource efficiency experts from WRAP. Some events are ticketed, but some are free – especially the hands on ‘Love your clothes’ and ‘Fashion Salvage’ demonstrations were you can learn how to reuse an old garment and watch designers working with the tonne of clothes in the central space of The Open Market. This will certainly be a sight to behold…
So – for two of our posts this week we have looked at the Project Ocean exhibition currently at Selfridges – and we thought we would continue with this theme with a look at two of the recent releases by big brands that highlight the ocean plastic plight.
First up is the recent concept shoe by Adidas and British designer Alexander Taylor – the Adidas x Parley, revealed at an event for the Parley for the Oceans initiative, which encourages creatives to repurpose ocean waste for awareness design.
The shoe, which is hoped to go into production in 2016 uses fibres created from nets recovered from illegal poaching vessels by marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd. As well as the material, the design of the shoe also references the waves of the nets in its patternation.
What is key is that Taylor and Adidas were able to create the concept shoe using the same machinery and methods that a ‘regular’ shoe is manufactured. Many of the arguments around using recycled yarns and materials centre around the misconception that there has to be massive manufacturing alterations to create form ‘waste’, so this move from Adidas shows this does not need to be the case.
Whilst Adidas are keen to promote this as a ‘concept’ shoe, we hope that this does not remain on the concept shelf and actually goes into production. Sceptics could argue that this, excuse the pun, is but a drop in the ocean when it comes to both reclaiming ocean plastic and creating new design from a waste material. Plus, given the size of Adidas it could be seen as a little bit greenwashy, but hey – shouldn’t this be the exact behaviour we should be encouraging big brands to undertake? Isn’t this better than the alternative of creating from virgin materials?
The Adidas x Parley concept is certainly a step in the right direction, but there are already brands who are creating fashion to purchase, using yarns made from plastic waste.
G-Star RAW has recently revealed it’s third collaborative collection with Pharrell Williams which uses ocean plastic fibres mixed with other materials. The RAW for the Oceans collection features the tag line ‘turning the tide on plastic ocean pollution’ and features jumpers, t-shirts, jackets and jeans.
It is reported that 700,000 PET bottles have been removed from the ocean to go into the production of the RAW for the oceans collections so far, which is not a considerable amount of plastic recovered. Again, a tiny fraction, but as the old saying goes – better out than in.
But the most interesting element for us is the psychology that goes with these collections – by creating something from a waste material, there is a point you have to cross in customers’ minds – where does ‘rubbish’ end and ‘luxury’ begin? Big brands certainly have the scale and opportunity to create a real attitude change, and it is interesting to understand whether people purchase these goods because they are fashionable and ‘on trend’, or whether they purchase them because they are made from an ‘ethical’ material. Where does the buy in happen? Also, what happens to these garments when they reach the end of their life – have they been designed for circularity?
In the last of our SPOTTED’s we are looking at a project that really caught our eyes and hearts at New Designers this year – the NURDkit by Alice Kettle, which educates people to the problems with nurdles.
So why did this catch our eye? Once upon a time, in a childhood far, far away, I wanted to be a marine biologist and spend my life studying sharks with a view to conserving their numbers and educating people to their true, non-killer personalities. Fast forward a few years, and marine conservation is still very high on our concern list as a studio. And one of the biggest concerns of ours is plastic. There is too much generally and too much is ending up in our seas and oceans.
But, despite the images of deceased birds full of plastic, scenes of great oceanic gyres full of a plastic soup gradually degrading to particles that are eaten by fish and get into the food chain, many people do not know the true scale of the issues with plastic in our seas.
And although we can all spot the empty drinks bottles and spent lighters on the strand line of a beach, there is a particular type of plastic that we all see, but many of us do not recognise. The nurdle.
But it is these tiny dots of raw material plastic that end up manufacturing the vast majority of the plastic products we consume globally.
We were immediately drawn to the work of Alice Kettle for these reasons – she has created a kit that allows people – and particularly children – to sieve out the tiny pieces of plastic (the nurdle) from the beach, safely remove them and even use them to create another NURDkit. A simple, yet elegant premise that aids to educate as well as creating something responsible.
Speaking to Kettle, who was both passionate and highly knowledgeable on the subject, we could see clear similarities with one of our all time favourite projects – the Sea Chair by Studio Swine, which also seeks to reclaim plastic from the ocean, turning it into one off chairs. Whilst poetic in nature, both projects are seeking to educate about the overwhelming scale of the issue – much of which is unseen by the general public.
We are passionate that these are the sorts of projects and products that we should be championing – one that deals with a real issue – in even the smallest of ways. If we demand these kinds of responsible products as consumers, more will be created.
However, given the scale of the issue, can well meaning projects such as the NURDkit really create change? It’s certainly a start. And starting is what we need.
We just hope that there will be more projects like Kettle’s at New Designers 2016.
We love a good workshop. There is nothing better than getting away from behind the desks at the studio and doing something hands-on. It is even better if it has a real relevance to the everyday work too – allowing you an insight into exactly what goes into doing, making or creating something that you specify on your projects. And so, it was with great delight that I attended one of the first ever Create Your Own Simple Light workshops with the fantastic Factorylux as part of the Clerkenwell Design Week this year.
Based in the courtyard of Look Mum No Hands, (a great cafe – fabulous Red Velvet cake too…) Factorylux had temporarily decamped from their home in Yorkshire to the depths of central London, bringing with them a selection of their simple, beautifully made industrial fittings – and a huge Linotype machine…
Arriving at the our workstations we were confronted with a range of neat and tidy cables, plugs, tools and machinery. Choosing our own cable colours and plugs (neon green for me of course, plus a rather fetching orange plug), we set about starting the workshop, led by Technician Sophie.
We learn about the exact precision that goes into creating the lights in the Factorylux workshops – and how detailed the attention has to be to ensure that the end result not only looks fantastic, but that it works and is safe. Working to British Standards BS 4533 & BS EN 60598 certifies that the work has been carried out to the strict guidelines – which we are not joking – is strict, but completely necessary to ensure a safe light.
One millimetre over or under when cutting your cables made a difference. Nicking the protective sheathing on the cable meant you needed to start again. Talk about pressure. But, quite soon (well, about an hour and a quarter), and after lots of guidance and support from the wonderful Factorylux technicians, all of us around the table were ready to test our lights. We were also delighted to see that Factorylux had gone to the trouble of printing our own names on the cable end wrap – along with our own tracing number, unique to our light…
Testing the light was a worrying affair. It it buzzed at one point it was fine. If it buzzed when connected to another testing machine, it was not fine and had to be rejected. Fortunately, due to the expert guidance of our technicians, we all passed and were able to package up our lights and choose our bulb.
I plumped for their quite beautiful new, large round eco filament bulbs.
Heading back to Brighton with my bag full of goodies I was delighted – not only was I coming away with something that looked fantastic, there was the immense satisfaction of knowing that I had created it. There was also an immense feeling of appreciation for the Factorylux technicians, who work to incredibly high standards with an attention to detail that is incredible. Every step of the process was as critical as the last, but the results are of the highest possible standard. These are the real crème de la crème of lighting – and it was a real honour to see, and experience the workshop first hand…
We are huge suckers for photography. We have just returned from a trip to Brussels where we amassed around 300 photographs over the period of just three days and we are eagerly awaiting the nod from Max for us to go and finish up our large format Intrepid Camera that we backed on Kickstarter. So, it was no great surprise when we stumbled upon and subsequently backed the ONDU pinhole camera on Kickstarter.
Pitched as both durable and simple to use, these beautiful little cameras (and large cameras) capture the purest form of photography – the pinhole image. Built in lovely FSC timbers and finished with beeswax, the ONDU pinhole camera is quite a stunning piece of product design that looks gorgeous and works well too. Plus, with the use of the timber, the camera will age well – picking up those tiny little nicks, scars and dents of memory that plastic can never achieve. This is where the emotional attachment comes in, both with the images that the camera will create and the actual camera itself, but allows it to truly be something that can be ‘passed down the generations’.
What is also key (and sparked many a discussion on our latest trip) is how image creation has become something that we don’t really think about any more. Camera phones and DSLR’s have allowed us to be extremely frivolent with our image taking. No longer do we have to savour each image – thinking hard about the composition, the colour and white balance, the right shaft of light – then wait for the image to be revealed, days later. No. We take a string of images at will, then eventually chuck away the ones that don’t work. What we learn from this process is rather questionable in many of our cases.
Of course, digital is wonderful, but every now and then, the slowing down of a process reveals the beauty and skill involved and allows us to be patient.
And we will have to be patient, as the 135mm panoramic ONDU pinhole camera we backed will not be ready till November 2015…
Today in our SPOTTED we are jetting back to Milan, where we had a rather fantastic time at the Salone del Mobile – and in particular, in the Euroluce pavilions. It was quite evident that the current trend for neon, exposed bulbs and cage lighting is still very much en vouge, but there were a few other lights that took our fancy too – including the Egg of Columbus recycled paper light by Valentina Caretta at Seletti.
Constructed from the same sort of recycled paper pulp that we more commonly associate with egg boxes, the Egg of Columbus light was actually a beautiful thing. The tinted varieties are soft, with the material giving a nice matt appearance to the shades and the shapes are equally delicate and undulating.
This is posh pulp.
And when mixed with lovely contrasting cabling, they really do come alive.
A really lovely design that makes full use of the very short fibres of recycled paper.
It goes rather without saying that we are huge advocates of the LED bulb in our interior schemes, but until very recently there has been rather a lack of good looking LED bulbs on the market. This can be a problem, especially with the bare bulb trend that is continuing in many designs, from retail and bar design to industrial styled residential spaces. So, we were delighted when we heard about the rather lovely Buster LED bulb by London based design studio Buster + Punch. And when we were in Milan for the Salone del Mobile, we went and said hello…
Heralded as the ‘world’s first designer LED bulb’ the Buster bulb comes in three different colour varieties – crystal, gold and smoked – and looks stunning.
‘With the design, we wanted to achieve two things. The first was, quite simply, to make LED sexy. The second was to create a more useful light bulb that would give off both an ambient warm glow and a focused spot light – something never achieved by a single light bulb before.’
And this is exactly what the Buster LED bulb does – it looks amazing and works wonderfully, with the clear resin central tube transferring and diffusing the light through the very classic teardrop shaped bulb. It is also a direct replacement for the standard incandescent bulbs, is dimmable and consumes 1/20th of the power of the traditional bulb. Plus, each bulb is a very reasonable £40 or so each.
‘Buster + Punch are a small independant company that make things, so when we decided to take on the challenge to build the world’s first designer LED bulb people thought we were mad! – Clearly there was a 99% chance that one of the bigger guys would beat us to it.
As I sit here today writing this, we all feel a massive sense of pride, not just becuase we managed to build what we think is a great looking piece of design, but because this simple light bulb might just help the everyman save a little bit of money and help the environment at the same time. It could only be a small shift, but hopefully we can finally get people looking at eco-efficient design in a different light’ says Massimo Buster Minale – Founder & Co-Designer.
And this is key – ‘eco’ or ‘green’ or ‘energy efficient’ design does not need to mean that is does not look great. They are not mutually exclusive terms. They can co-exist – and the more designers that realise this the better.