London Design Festival 2016 – our top sustainable event tips…

It is that time of year again, and starting on 17th September, the London Design Festival is pretty much here. And each year it gets bigger, so we have looked through the line-up so far and picked out our top 5 sustainable visit tips for the festival…

  • Soak, Steam, Dream – Reinventing Bathing Culture with Roca:

A free photography exhibition at the Roca main gallery, Soak, Steam, Dream shows a series of architect designed bath houses from around the world which deal with different issues relating to water use and the rituals of bathing. It was this particular image above by Raumlabor in Gothenburg that caught our attention – the use of corrugated cladding and reused material was something very interesting to the norm… click here for full details.

  • The Circular Building – The Building Centre:

It is a very sad fact that the construction industry produces three times more waste than UK households, half of which is not recycled. Keeping materials at their highest value for longer changes this and is the main thinking behind circular economy processes – a way we should all be designing for the future. The Circular Building by Arup, The Built Environment Trust, Frener & Reifer and BAM pushes circular economy thinking at one of the largest scales – a full size building… click here for more details.

  • ‘Waste Not Want It’ Bloomburg Launches 5th Edition:

The WNWI initiative sees some of Europe’s most dynamic designers approach upcycling in innovative ways. Commissioned by Bloomberg and curated by Arts Co, 8 new furniture installations, made almost entirely out of Bloomberg’s own waste, are displayed throughout the building. This will be a really interesting exhibition – really bringing home not only what can be made from ‘waste’ (and how desirable it can be), but how much is thrown away… click here for more details. 

  • Ecotopia – A Sustainable Vision for a Better Future:

Ecotopia is a multi-sensory installation exploring the appeal of Utopian thinking in envisaging a sustainable future for our planet and society. It showcases the ideas of leading scientists, academics, designers and architects who are currently looking at climate change and sustainable solutions. A mixture of conceptual thinking, physical and virtual installations, Ecotopia could just be a window into our future… click here for more details. 

  • Plasticity Forum:

As we hurtle into the Anthropocene, plastic is that wonderous material that has helped to shape the new age. But what does the future hold for plastic? How can we harness the usefulness of a material that can take centuries to degrade and remove it from the single use association it currently has? The Plasticity Forum brings together a great panel of experts to discuss this and far more… click here for more details.

So – our first top five of sustainable events at the London Design Festival 2016. No doubt there will be more added to the list in coming weeks, and we will bring you our top picks as they are revealed…

(images via London Design Festival)

***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)

The Guardian features ocean based companies tackling marine litter…

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?

Big Spring Beach Clean 3

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…

surfers stood on beach with wooden surfboards

 

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.

More Product Views

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…

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FiveOceans – a surfboard fin made from recovered marine waste – working to save the five oceans.

ecoFin - Thruster Set for FCS Plugs

RubyMoon and Finisterre – swimwear made from Econyl – a yarn made completely from recovered waste nylon, such as fishing nets.

swimwear

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.

(images via associated links)

SPOTTED – sustainable product design at New Designers 2016… pt2

On Tuesday, we started our pick of the best sustainable design we spotted at the recent graduate design show New Designers – and with over 3,000 exhibitors showing their work it was no mean feat to select our favourite. Tuesday saw our pick of the ‘different materials’ projects, where the designers have rethought a waste material into something new. Today, we are looking at ‘recycling and repair’…

Starting at the University of Brighton’s 3D Design and Craft stand, we were delighted to see a really interesting mix of well thought out projects, finished beautifully.

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The work of Helen Jones, entitled ‘Alternate Endings’ looked to challenge the throwaway culture we have, and endeavours to reinstate the value of a product with visible repair.

Helen Jones 2

The range of products shown were really beautiful – from plastic repairs to ceramic and metal restorations. A very poetic and powerful set of pieces.

Helen Jones 3

Also on the University of Brighton stand was the work of Ella Hetheringon, who immediately had us hooked with her investigations into ‘Forgotten and Future Foods’.

Ella Hetherington 1

Looking into how we could both eat sustainably whilst connecting with the seasons, Ella also created tools made from site specific materials. The marine plastic handled knives were a real thing of beauty…

Ella Hetherington 2

Whilst the detailing on the folded leather bowls was delicate and considered. A very nice set of works indeed.

Moving onto plastics, there were two recycled plastic projects which really stood out for us this year – and interestingly, both won New Designers Awards too. Is this a sustainable shift we see?

Jack Hubery 4

First up is the work of Jack Hubery, who tackled the issues with our obsessions with plastic by creating a kit system to allow people to reuse their own plastics at home.

Jack Hubery 3

The ‘Experiments in Recycled Plastic’ created a series of recycled plastic plates, made using a simple jig that fitted in a domestic oven. Would this type of plastic reuse increase the emotional connectivity with the material and encourage a more sustainable use of plastic? An interesting set of pieces for sure.

In a similar vein, Josh James from the University of West England was also using recycled plastic, with another ‘kit’ to allow plastic reuse at home.

Josh James 1

The pieces had a very appealing, sweetie style aesthetic, with colours and effects marbeled through both the geometrically moulded final products and the nuggets of sample combinations. We particularly liked the illustration of how much material went into a piece.

Josh James 2

And after winning the Not On the High Street Award, we will keep our eyes open for perhaps some bespoke recycled plastic pieces online soon…

So there we have it. Our top eight designers spotted at New Designers 2016 who were doing something sustainable and interesting. We look forward to seeing what they get up to next, and here’s hoping that we will have far more to cover next year.

(all images by claire potter)

SPOTTED – sustainable product design at New Designers 2016… pt1

Last week went rather quickly for us at the studio and like most days, we were wearing at least two different hats. Up at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London for the prestigious graduate design exhibition New Designers, our first role was with the final year Product Designers from the University of Sussex (who won three awards), co-coordinating the build of their stand and talking about the Design for the Circular Economy module we teach. The other hat was our blogging hat and we had a good hunt about for all the sustainably minded student design projects from over 3,000 exhibitors…

First up is our ‘different materials’ selection, comprising different designers who are using somewhat alternative materials to make new products.

Lucas Santos 1 New Designers 2016

With our own research area being firmly in the marine litter area, we were delighted to see Lucas Santos’s exhibit at the Edinburgh College of Art stand, which was designed to highlight the issues of discarded cigarette butts. Combining the butts with natural resins and forming it into a surfboard was a nice way to show the scale and environmental issues. It was just over a year that we discovered the NURDkit by Alice Kettle at the same stand, so there appears to be a marine litter strand running through the University of Edinburgh concepts…

Tereza A 1 New Designers 2016

Also on the Edinburgh College of Art stand was the work of Tereza Astilean, who won a New Designers Award for her project which looked into the waste created from the carpet and textile industry, and how it could be reused.

Tereza A 2 New Designers 2016

This is a very nice circular economy based design – taking the waste from another process and building into the ‘food’ for another process. The garments on show were also nicely put together, with a very utilitarian nod.

Abbie Karrington 1 New Designers

Heading over to the University of Plymouth stand, we spotted this very interesting concept from Abbie Karrington. Named VEGtables, reclaimed table legs were combined with an undulating surface made from waste vegetable peelings mixed with a 100% natural resin. The surface was very tactile and visually appealing (no pun intended). We would like to see it a bit thicker with a ground down smooth surface too – similar to Solidwool (who we will be featuring here on the Ecospot very soon).

Meg Walker 2 New Designers 2016

Last up is Threadbear from Meg Walker, who was an intern with us last year and has just completed her final year in Product Design at the University of Sussex. Meg’s concept is very circular economy based, with extensive research into items that get consigned to landfill. Soft toys that have lost their labels are one item that are seemingly worthless as they cannot be re-sold, so through a meticulous disassembly and transformation process, the Threadbear fabric was created.

Meg Walker 1 New Designers 2016

Using everything from disassembled soft toys, the new woven fabric includes threads from the fur and spun polyester filling, with added colour and texture from the fur itself. A very handcrafted process, the Threadbear fabric is high concept, but is certainly something that could be scaled…

It is always incredibly heartening to see student designers taking on environmental issues with their projects – and each year we hope to see more…

Keep your eyes peeled for our next SPOTTED from New Designers – coming up this Thursday.

(images by claire potter)

Remarkable Magazine – does exactly what its says on the tin…

We love print. Ok – perhaps it is not the most eco friendly of reading choices, but there is something quite special about the whole experience that cannot be replicated online. The feel, the smell, the touch. And so, we often frequent the wonderful store Magazine Brighton, which stocks a dizzying array of short run, independent and overseas publications – always on the look out for something gorgeous. Our latest find is very special indeed – Remarkable Magazine – which has the tagline ‘Live better. Harm less.’ We were sold.

Cover2

So what is Remarkable?
‘Remarkable is a digital gallery, magazine and marketplace showcasing remarkable humans doing and making remarkable things to help people live better and harm less.
We understand that our global population grows while resources shrink, but we believe the solution lies in making simple, graceful and thoughtful choices. Our mission is to inform when you ask why, inspire when you ask how and be there when you’re ready to make a remarkable change.’

And it does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a remarkable read, with inspirational features, beautiful infographics, wonderful calls to action and a very nice design. From fast fashion to Being an Unfucker (more of that in another post…), to smart cities and moving yourself more.

It is an eco magazine for the design conscious.

This may seem a rather odd statement, but in actual fact, despite the fantastic contemporary, sustainable and circular economy designs that are happening all over the globe, by many different types of designers for all sorts of reasons, quite often sustainable designs / products are segmented into a special ‘green’ edition of a design publication, or collected into an ‘eco page’.

Remarkable showcases the range and variety of design led sustainability throughout – without being preachy.

We loved it.

But, with only two issues per year, we are going to have to wait a little more time till we can get out next print fix. In the meantime, we will be keeping a close eye on their online features over here, so ask yourself – do you want to be Remarkable too?

REMARKΔBLE from Remarkable on Vimeo.

(images via Remarkable)

Studio Loo is getting ready for the Artists Open Houses…

It’s that time of year again. May is possibly one of the busiest times in the studio for events, and this year, we are not only doing the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses and opening our Studio Loo to the public, we are also doing Clerkenwell Design Week too. No rest for the wicked as they say. And now we are in the thick of our set-up for the Artist’s Open Houses, we thought we would introduce you to our guest artists, designers and makers this year…

A3-A4 DE LA WARR V small

Linescapes were with us last year – with wonderful architectural prints of iconic buildings from Brighton and further afield, we will have a selection of prints and gifts at Studio Loo…

Keith Richards by Dave Friston

 

It is the first time fine artist Dave Friston is with us at Studio Loo, and we are really excited to be showing all four of his incredible Rolling Stones paintings, which use reclaimed pallets as their canvases. Prints will be available too..

Penelope Kenny is a huge favourite of the studio – with her exquisite screen prints of Darwinesque animal combinations. We’ll have a selection of prints from pocket money pieces to larger one-offs.

Ship Faced Tote Bag, Funny Tote, Drunk Tote Bag, Boat Tote, Canvas Shopper, Screenprinted Bag, Handprinted Cotton Shopper, Cute Tote Bag

Hello Dodo never fail to raise a smile with their brilliantly witty and bold prints and accessories. And this year, Hello Dodo will be launching a new range of prints at Studio Loo! Even we haven’t seen them yet! Come and check them out before they disappear.

Image of 'No Bulb in My Lamp: Selected Diary Sketches 2004-2014'

Local illustrator Peter James Field captures the delicacy and strangeness of life in a magical way. From cards to original prints and books, his is a world that needs to be explored…

Vintage Fabric Cushion With Woven Floral Stripe

Like reclaimed fabrics? You will love the work of Sue Milner, who is bringing a whole stack of one-off cushions to Studio Loo made from her extensive vintage fabric collection.

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Like many pieces of large furniture, pianos often suffer the fate of being discarded and left to rot. Mark Reeve rescues theses pianos, dismantles them and builds these wonderful creatures for his Piano Planetorium. Each one unique…

Brighton Beautiful Shoulder Tote Bag - Navy Linen & Ikea Print, Microscopic Bugs

Frances Derbyshire of Brighton Beautiful will also be showing a great selection of vintage fabric makes – in the form of bags and purses. Brilliant colours and fantastic prints and all unique pieces again.

Traditional Japanese wood block artist, Claire Cameron Smith will be showing her stunning prints in both colour and monochrome. Carved in cherry wood, come and see the detail in these gorgeous prints, which, due to the method of creation and the natural block, are all slightly different…

So – come along to Studio Loo at the Artists Open Houses for the next four weekends in May (7/8, 14/15, 21/22, 28/29) from 10-5 and have a look. Oh – there is cake too!

simple pleasures cupcakery

check out this page for full details! 

***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)

***EVENT*** The University of Sussex Product Design Degree Show…

As well as running the studio, I am also an associate tutor at the University of Sussex, where I teach circular economy design to the final year product designers. And for this week only – come and see the University of Sussex BSc Product Design Degree Show, where the final year designers will be showing their products developed over the past 12 months.

Product Design Show 2016

From a money tracking app for students to a circular economy based method for the reprocessing of soft toys, there will be a huge range of projects on show, along with their creators who will be on hand to answer any questions…

Product Design Show 2016 invite

Find out more at the University of Sussex BSc Product Design Degree Show site.

SPOTTED – Tauko Design – using reclaimed textiles in new, utilitarian fashion…

Fashion is often heralded as one of the biggest bad boys when it comes to wastefulness and a huge turnover of raw materials – telling us daily that the new thing is the best thing. Fashion moves quickly. The waste clothes soon follow. But not all fashion is created this way, and we were really interested to discover Finnish brand Tauko Design, who use reclaimed textiles in their collections.

Tauko design 3

Based on waste textiles from the service sector, Tauko Design takes lots of sheets (often waste from hospitals), dyes them in vibrant colours and completely transforms them into new items.

Tauko design 4

“In our creations, we show the minimalism of the Nordic design tradition as well as the coolness of the Finnish landscape. There is always a hint of Baltic humor in our garments; small colorful details that give them a unique edge. We love big pockets and guarantee that the clothes won’t limit anyone from biking, running, dancing or just having a rest. 
Each of our designs were made with passion and commitment, always keeping in mind to make them work for diverse occasions and various body types.
We want to keep it classy, yet make the day a brighter one!”

Tauko design 2

What is really interesting is that the intro quote from Tauko says absolutely nothing about reclamation, recycling or reuse. It’s just part of what they do.

Tauko design 1

Many people have a preconception that ‘sustainable fashion’ has a particular ‘look’. Hair shirt and sandals is the phrase that we often coin for this kind of preconception – that all sustainable products are somehow stuck in the 1970’s. But of course, sustainable fashion can be anything but. We are totally in love not only with the ethos of Tauko, but their stunning designs too.

Take a look at Tauko Design’s main website to see the full range of their stunning garments…

(all images via Tauko Design)

CPD project update – the Preston Circus Planter…

We have been working on this project for a little while now – a new external planter for the landscaped area outside the Duke of York’s Cinema in Brighton, and this week, we finally saw it jump out of our screens.

Preston Circus Pocket Square NEW SCHEME small

Based on the huge amount of converging lines that meet up in this part of Brighton, the new planter has been commissioned by Brighton and Hove City Council to replace an old, defunct standard structure. The geometric shape that has emerged from the road lines on the plan has now been built locally from 20mm steel which will be galvanised for durability. The external faces are due to be clad in reclaimed decking from the Palace Pier in Brighton and are being bolted to the frame to ensure that each piece can be replaced if required.

Iron Designs planter image 2

The planting will be a selection of hardy perennial and the whole piece is set to be installed in the next month or so. We will keep you updated on the progress…

New RSA Report launched – Designing for a Circular Economy…

Over the past few years, we have seen a distinct transition from what was formerly known as ‘eco design’ or ‘green design’ into a much more complete and all encompassing term – circular economy design. This takes into account the different veins of truly sustainable design, from material specification and design for disassembly to remanufacture, reassembly and supply chain issues. It is the way of designing that we have to transition towards globally – ending the typical take / make / use / discard mantra that flows in most of our products today. And given that up to 80% of a products environmental impact is decided at design stage (1), designers hold a great deal of both responsibility and opportunity to create change.

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This is how we think as designers at Claire Potter Design – we know that each of our decisions hold a huge amount of implications to our projects, our clients and ultimately our environments, so we take steps at each stage to ensure that we are working as closely within a circular economy remit as possible.

team

So, it was brilliant that in 2012 we discovered The Great Recovery Project – an RSA project that was seeking to understand the impact of circular economy design, how it could be implemented and how to see the opportunities. We became avid followers of the research and took part in many of the workshops – investigating all aspects of this growing area.

Many of this research has fed into our own studio work, as well as the role I play as an educator – namely in the 12 week module I wrote and deliver to the final year Product Design students at the University of Sussex‘the role of Design in the Circular Economy’. 

So four years on and launched this week, the Great Recovery is now looking back at what has been discovered and learnt about the circular economy, and how design, making and manufacture plays a critical role. This is all now available in a free to download report available here. (and there are a couple of quotes from me in there too, and I am most honoured to be quoted too!)

Design for the Circular Economy quote

Circular Economy Design is the future. And we need to get there as soon as we can.  

(1) Sophie Thomas, Director of Design at The RSA and the Great Recovery Project

(images via the Great Recovery Project)

2015 recap – April – a trip to Milan with Ford…

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…Ford GT stand 2And 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.

Ford stand

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’.

All-New Ford GT

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.Ford GT stand 3

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’

Ford GT guitar

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.

Ford GT sailing yacht

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.

Ford GT LED clock

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)

2015 recap – January – going green…

So, now the studio is closed for a seasonal break, we are into our 2015 recap, where we look over the past years posts and pick out the most popular from each month. We start with January – where we were thinking forward to the colour trends of 2015…

(first published 15th January 2015)

Ok – we are DONE with 2014 and are now looking towards 2015, so for the rest of the month, we will be looking at our predictions for what we think will feature heavily in the coming 12 months. This will be a mixture of design predictions, fashion predictions and behaviour predictions – all based on what we have noticed developing in our studio work and the work of those we admire.

So, to start off, we have our first prediction of 2015 – green.

Pantone may have declared 2015 the year of ‘Marsala’ (Pantone 18-1438) – which, according to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth, but we are not that sure.

We for the first of our 2015 trend predictions, we think that 2015 will be the year of green – as do Farrow and Ball, who have put together the image above. With an increased interest in internal planting, and the incorporation of nature into our homes, offices and retail spaces, we think that green shades will serve well to support this ‘naturalisation’ of our interiors. We think that this will link into other styles that will develop in 2015, such as a softer industrial, and productive spaces, which we will speak about in future posts… This also ties into very important political meetings for the future of our environment, such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris where a binding, global deal on carbon emissions will be critical.

So we think green is coming our way in 2015…