***SPOTTED*** the Eco Cooler – an air conditioning unit made from plastic bottles…

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 great invention indeed.

(images via Inhabitat)

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)

*** REVIEW *** Memobottle – the paper sized reusable water bottle…

Plastic has become rather an obsession to us in the studio, especially single use plastic bottles that are consigned to the bin mere minutes after they have been used. Way back in August last year we reported on the Project Ocean exhibition and initiative in Selfridges, London, where single use water bottles were removed from sale and replaced with good, strong reusable water bottles instead. Given the fact that 5,000 single use plastic bottles enter the waste stream every 15 seconds in London alone, this small action means more than it may appear. Reusable water bottles are the way forward.

memobottle 2

And this is why, back in April 2015 we featured the Australian designed Memobottle – possibly the world’s first ‘flat’ water bottle that had received funding on Kickstarter and was encouraging people to commit to refilling rather than buying more plastic and discarding it.

Of course, there are many water bottles available on the market, in all shapes and sizes, but what really pushed our buttons with the Memobottle was that it is sized in the same way as paper (A6 / A5) and is FLAT, so it fits in a laptop bag or satchel. This simple change is ridiculously useful.

memobottle 4

So we were delighted when the lovely people at Memobottle dropped us a line to say hi – and send us an A6 bottle to use…

 

Wrapped in lovely printed brown card (so the card can go straight into the recycling), the Memobottle guys have thought about far more than the average water bottle manufacturer, and much more than the shape change. The brown card packaging guides you through the importance of reuse – along with a thank you, and a gorgeous internal booklet takes you deeper into the issues. memobottle booklet

The Memobottle itself, made from crystal clear BPA free plastic comes with two caps, white and black, so you can tailor it to your preferences (or have a spare for when one goes walkies) – again, packaged with thought and care.

memobottle 1

We have taken out our A6 bottle quite a few times (as it sits nicely in a satchel) and as their story is so engaging and well communicated, we have been able to re-tell the Memobottle story to others. This is how it should be – with great brands doing great stuff, with great stories told well.

Well done Memobottle. 

*** want your own memobottle? check out their store locator here ***

(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)

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)

2015 Eco Open Houses a great success!

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.

claire potter design studio 2

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.

eco open houses 2015

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…eco open houses 2 2015

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)

REVIEW – the Factorylux workshop at Clerkenwell Design Week 2015…

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.

Factorylux 4

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… Factorylux 8

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.

Factorylux 5

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. Factorylux 7

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…

Factorylux 6Testing 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.

factorylux bulb

Factorylux 1

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…

Now. Where to hang that light?

(images by claire potter design)

The Buster LED Bulb shines bright at Salone del Mobile…

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…

Buster and Punch chandelier

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.

BUSTER BULB_HERO

‘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 _ DETAILS

‘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.

Buster LED bulb

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.

Well done Buster + Punch.

(photos by claire potter and images courtesy of Buster + Punch)

in praise of the refurbished…

We are very lucky at the studio to be located along a very long road in Hove that can only be described as ‘eclectic’. With Portslade Station at one end, and well into the reaches of Hove in another, Portland Road is about a mile or so of houses, schools, a park and a variety of retail spaces (plus our little studio, based in the old public toilet). But theses are not any old retail spaces – they are all mostly small, independent shops and cafes – all very different. But what struck us recently whilst walking to the Post Office (6 minutes from studio) was how many great examples of repair, refurbished, service based industry and reclaimed goods shops there were on Portland Road.

dyson city

There are two launderettes. A sewing and alteration workshop, two computer repair shops, a cobbler, an refurbished oven place. A scattering of secondhand stores, a hardware store and the Bargain Vacuum Centre, to name but a few. And it was in the last store – the Bargain Vacuum Centre that we found the latest addition to our studio – an almost new, refurbished Dyson City vacuum cleaner.

Complete with all the bits and bobs – and a 9 month guarantee, this little vacuum only set us back £50. ‘Any problems and whizz it back’, we were told. ‘Sure, we replied – we are just along the road’. And this is what is great about this type of ‘High Street’ – the mix of people, skills and services – all independent and backlit acrylic sign free – offering the personable experience that is not found elsewhere. This is what we love and this is why we are very proud to be part of Portland Road.

We need to save these types of road, because there is very little that we are not able to access within a 7 minute walk of the studio – and we are very aware that this is a precious rarity. Chains have their places, but these are the roads that can offer us repair, reuse or leasing – on our doorsteps…

Here’s to the refurbished.

recycled plastic and LED light installation by Sarah Turner…

Bringing a bit of light into the depths of winter is a tradition that has long been part of human nature. The Yule log for instance, is one attempt to revive Mother Nature back into life and lighten the dark evenings. And lighting designer Sarah Turner has brought another tree to life with her recent installation for Nottingham’s annual Night Light event – with a string of recycled plastic and LED lights.

Adorning a bare magnolia tree in the grounds of St Mary’s church, the lights led from the path to the tree, with each shade being individually constructed from sandblasted, waste plastic bottles, hand cut into the shapes of the blooms. Turner also states that the installation takes what is essentially the waste of mankind to bring nature back to life in as naturalistic a form as possible.

As well as being beautifully poetic, the piece does talk about the impact that our waste has generally on the natural world – especially plastic, which, although recyclable, suffers from a relatively low recycling rate. It also ends up degrading into tiny pieces which find their way into the food chain, which is a huge biological concern. So, finding ways to reuse plastic can only be a good thing.

And if they are all as beautiful as the piece by Sarah Turner, so much the better.

(images by Sarah Turner)

Structual Skin makes full use of leather waste…

As designers we are faced with daily choices. How to design something – what it is made of and how we source the materials are key to understanding the impact of our designs. This is why we choose to work with as much ‘waste’ material as possible in our work and we are delighted to see examples of how other designers are tackling the same issues. The Structural Skin project by Spanish designer  Jorge Penadés is a great example of very alternative thinking.

Jorge Penadés-Structural-Skin-1

Leather working, whilst very traditional, is extremely wasteful and inefficient as a process, so Penades has created a new method for using the scraps of otherwise discarded leather. The pieces, after being shredded, are bound and compressed to produce a material that looks rather like a bar of nut studded chocolate, but can be used to create new products – like the examples from the capsule collection which features a clothes rail and side table.

Jorge Penadés-Structural-Skin-3

Due to the natural quality of the material, it features a whole range of colours and patternations, adding to the individual nature of each of the pieces.

This lovely video shows the process…

Structural Skin from Jorge Penadés on Vimeo.

2014 recap – October – first Eco Open House weekend…

2014 was a big year for us in many ways – including completing the building of our new studio in Brighton, which we have converted from an old public toilet into an industrially styled, eclectic space. And in October, we opened our studio to the first visitors on the Eco Open Houses tour weekend, whilst we were still finishing it up…

first published 21st October 2014…

We have been a little bit quiet over here on the ecospot over the last week or so. There are many reasons for this – for one, we were having a bit of a major design overhaul (and we hope you like the new look!) and as well as having a digital redesign we were working in the physical too – trying to complete our new studio in time for the first Brighton and Hove Eco Open Houses tour weekend on 18th / 19th October. Long days, long nights and lots of goings on. But, we are nearly there on both respects, and it was with delight that we opened our doors to the public for the very first time on Sunday morning…

studio loo front

We are not completely there, but very nearly and there was loads of stuff that we could say about the project to explain to people where we had started from, where we were and where we will be when we open again on Saturday 25th.

studio spider chandelier small

It was fantastic. We had put notes on a lot of the key areas of the rebuild and conversion from old public toilet to design studio and it was not long before our pen had nearly run out. From our Celotex insulation to locally sourced plants, recycled paint from REBORN paints to upcycled cabinets from local charity Emmaus, we spoke about a different side to the eco buildings in the city.

studio plants small

We do not have our solar panels on our roof yet, but our electricity is supplied by Ecotricity and we have used A+ appliances throughout and energy saving bulbs. Plants also feature heavily in the studio to not only create a nice environment but to act as air cleaners – removing the toxins which will be given out by our printer, computers and even as we breathe.

labels on the wall

And despite not being completely finished, we were delighted at the comments that people gave us when they visited. Some people had travelled specifically to see our studio, others were doing as many of the Eco Open Houses as possible and others were just walking along the road and happened upon us. All in all, we had just over 60 visitors, which we were most chuffed about.

reborn paints small

But, as soon as the last visitors had gone, the building materials were back in and we were back at the works, with the flooring, front door and tiling set to be finished off this week. I have the job of putting in the hanging planters that I was speaking to people about as well…

neon green flex. grey and copper

So – if you are about, pop by and say hello this weekend – we are at 201 Portland Road in Hove and will be open on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th between 10-1 and 2-5. And we can highly recommend the cafe along the road, Pelican on Portland for all things tasty, lovely and delicious.

(all photos by claire potter)

2014 recap – May – narratives in design…

In May there was lots going on. We spoke at a couple of events, ran a foraging walk in Brighton and visited stacks of Artist’s Open Houses for both ourselves and our clients. It was a busy month, but for our 2014 recap we are looking back to one of the talks we did – all about narratives in design…

first published 12 May 2014…

At the end of last week I was invited to speak at the first Interdisciplinary Narrative Symposium at the University of Sussex, which got me thinking generally about narrative. What do we mean when we talk about narrative as designers? Is everything we do concerned with the narratives of design? What exactly are the narratives of design?

narrative

With speakers from a variety of disciplines, speaking about the different forms of narrative, I was aware that my own application of the term was going to be very different to everyone else, particularly if you then start to think about the theoretical and practical references to the term…

So. I listed a few of the ways that narrative is used in our own studio works. Basically – the stories that we use and the stories we create. Vernacular references are key – ensuring that the projects we create are rooted conceptually in their places, using nods to historical elements, or site stories, or even the materials of the area – like the black tiles and forms of the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings by HAT which references the pitched roofs and blackness of the Old Town fishing net huts, which sit beside. Referenced, but with no pastiche.

Historical narrative is also key in our work, so our designs often are borne out of the fact that they used to be something else, but we try and ensure that this previous life is retained and respected, either within a site or within a product. Repair is championed here in the studio – don’t chuck something that can be repaired – and actually, this repair is an essential part of the process in the life of the product – be it a building or an actual product. It adds to the story.

Re-use is essentially a historical narrative of a previous life that we feel is important and should inform the new. Equally, the materials used in a product have distinct narratives that we use as designers, but are based deeper in the psyche of our own backgrounds and communities. For instance, a product created in wood has a very different feel, associated value and longevity compared to the same form in plastic…

Lastly, I spoke about the power of a strong narrative within a brand. And not just a story that is attached to a brand – a brand that is literally founded on a wonderful and meaningful concept. Microsoft PowerPoint - Design should tell a story - narratives i

Who Made Your Pants was the example that I gave – a wonderful company based in Southampton which reconnects the people who actually are responsible for creating your pants with you, the end user with a little name label in the pants themselves. No sweat shops, no hidden workers – the whole process is beautifully transparent and serves not only to educate us as the wearers of the garments, but helps those who are making them too.

Plus, the fabric that the pants are made from are end of line, past season fabrics that the fashion houses have declared as ‘last season’, but are of course, still completely beautiful and functional. And they are beautiful.

The pants themselves are not only stunning, they are highly finished, very comfortable and a joy to own. But the fact that they are so gorgeous does not a deep brand make. The strength of the ethical story ensures that we ask questions – as I did in the presentation, to a group of mixed age academics and invited guests. Unsurprisingly, I was the only one who could honestly say who had made my pants, which is what I expected. The disconnect between the makers of our products and ourselves is starting to be more of an open issue, which surely can only bring about deeper concern and a heightening call for all workers to be respected, regardless of their locations.

But, in the meantime, it is companies such as Who Made Your Pants who are starting to open our eyes. And how?

By telling stories. The best and foundational in the narratives of design. 

(slides from presentation, pictures on slides via Who Made Your Pants)

december wish list day 13 – conductive paint kit by bare conductive…

We are getting a little bit crafty for our december wish list today, with this fantastic conductive paint kit by award winning bare conductive. It is always great to get something to make each Christmas (if nothing else, to divert our attentions away from the mince pies), and we would be particularly happy if we received one of this sets to create.

So what is conductive paint? Simply put, it is paint that is conductive. You draw a line and the line will conduct electricity, which is like some sort of magic. And to coin a phrase, the possibilities are endless – from creative projects like the flashing card set above to technical applications. It is fantastic to teach children about how electricity and circuits work, and it has many applications in the maker sphere, where it can be teamed up with Raspberry Pi’s and the like.

And like all maker sphere products, there is a fantastic range of projects that people have created and uploaded to share. For us, it feels rather like Sugru, which is another firm studio favourite.

Plus, this magical substance is not expensive – at £15 for the three card kit, or around £7 for the electrical paint on its own, it is a nice stocking filler.

Electrical stockings that is…

(image via Bare Conductive)

december wish list day 12 – a bag from Freitag…

It has been said that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ about bags. If a ‘thing’ means that I am drawn to all manner of things satchel like… er, yes. Not bothered with shoes necessarily, but give me a new satchel and I am like a seagull with a chip. Tasty. And as tasty bags go, there is a particular brand which ticks our boxes of not only being creators of beautiful pieces of useful design, they are responsible and care for what they do. With each bag being completely unique from the next, and made from recycled materials, Freitag is a marvellous brand indeed.

F202 LELAND

Created from old transportation lorry tarps, the bags are hard wearing and individual – showing little glimpses into the previous lives that they had and little hints as to who or what they used to advertise. This material reuse is relatively standard now, with many manufacturers creating completely new products from old items – hence the increase of the term ‘upcycling’ in our vocabulary.

But Freitag has another term for this reuse, which fittingly they have also created – ‘recontexturalising’ – in the world of Freitag is all about the removing of a former life and putting a new context on a material and product.

Another element which makes us rate Freitag so highly is their complete transparency of creation, which is very hands on. The tarps arrive after 5-10 years on the roads, they are de-buckled, washed and laid on huge cutting boards where each bag is cut by hand – with the designers working on the floor to create the best combinations of colours, forms and lettering. Each one is highly considered and beautifully well thought out.

Their stores are just as wonderful, and we will be writing about them in 2015. How do you create a sleek store design where every item is a different colour? They will show you how…

This is recycling and reuse on a wonderful scale – creating great bags, laptop sleeves and accessories. Freitag is a pioneer of designing within the circular economy.

Day 12 of our december wish list – anything from Freitag (but we particularly like this one…)

(image via Freitag)