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)

2015 recap – August – Project Ocean and more marine litter…

We are staying with marine litter for our most popular August post here on The Ecospot – this time with a review of Project Ocean at Selfridges…

(first posted August 15)

As I have mentioned here before, in a childhood long long ago, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I was fascinated by the sea – the abundance yet invisibility of the life. The variety and the scale of those underwater cities, filled me with wonder. Fast forward a few years, and even having decided that design and architecture was my calling, the childhood awe for our oceans never drifted away. This, coupled with the studio foundation in sustainable design is why the issue of marine litter – and particularly plastic waste holds such a concern for us. So – it was with delight that we found that this years Project Ocean exhibition at Selfridges, London, was to focus on this very subject…

Project Ocean 13

It may seem quite odd for a huge department store, which of course, is based on our insatiable appetite for consumption to hold an exhibition of this kind. However, where better place to educate the masses of the issues at hand? By situating the exhibition in a side section of the homewares section in the basement we were optimistic that it would be rammed with people keen to learn more.

This, unfortunately, was not the case. 

Having battled through shoppers on an end-of-the-week spending binge, we entered the exhibition under a ceiling installation of single use water bottles and into a beautifully conceived, yet ghostly quiet space. It was a real shock.

Project Ocean 4

But this was but one of many shocks we discovered at the Project Ocean exhibition. The ceiling of the entrance featured an installation by How About Studio, constructed from 5,000 single use plastic water bottles diverted from the London waste stream – representing the amount of bottles used by the UK market every 15 seconds, which was staggering. Of course, not all of these single use bottles will end up in the ocean, but considering the recycling rates are so pitifuly low, it certainly puts the issue into perspective.

Project Ocean 12

Turning left into the space, we were greeted by a large poster featuring the most dangerous species in the ocean, from a cotton bud sea urchin to a plastic bag jellyfish, again with sobering data on how long plastic waste persists in the water, and the damage it creates.

Project Ocean 10

Project Ocean is split into two halves, with the Water Bar and the main Exhibition – we headed to the Water Bar area, which concentrates on Selfridges own commitments to the cause. The long, recycled glass bar is clean and modern in shades of nautical blue and white and is where the resident ‘water sprites’ dispense free water to visitors, tinted with herbs, essences and fresh fruit.

Project Ocean 11

Behind the bar is a small yet intriguing collection of water vessels from around the world – from clay pots to aluminium French cycling bottles – all reusable, which contrasted well with the abundance of single use water bottles hanging over our heads as we entered the space.

Alongside the Water Bar was a small collection of the vessels that can be purchased from Selfridges, from bpa free plastic bottles to elegant glass carafes and chunky glasses. We were delighted to see that these were sat on a chunk of recycled plastic from Smile Plastics, which not only gave a very relevant nod to the Project Ocean focus, but looked wonderful. This is something we are very keen to promote – as designers it is up to us to specify these types of recycled materials to encourage others to produce materials from ‘waste’.

Project Ocean 3

But the Selfridges commitment also involves the removal of all single use plastic water bottles from their cafes and food halls, and the installation of a public water fountain instead – encouraging people and providing a source for people to refill their own vessels. The water ‘tinting’ will only last for the duration of the Project Ocean exhibition (until early September), but this action will hopefully make people consider their choices…

Join us for Part two on 19th August where we enter the exhibition part of Project Ocean…

(all images by claire potter)

2015 recap – May – how to be a good capitalist…

We have had Christmas. We may be starting on the seasonal sales… so ironically today we one of our most popular posts for May, which was all about capitalism…

(first posted 18th May 2015)

We are massive fans of the School of Life – that little golden nugget in London which is dedicated to ‘developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture’. Through the use of short courses, programmes and activities, The School of Life tackles everything from how to have a conversation to how to be happy. It also produces rather excellent little animated videos which, in a mere five or so minutes, look at some rather weighty issues indeed…

Such as the video we are featuring today on Monday Musings – ‘Against Philanthropy’, or, how to be a good capitalist, which is a rather good thing to be. The biggest way we can really effect change is by choosing to spend our pennies in the right way, with the right people on the right products…

(video via The School of Life)

2015 recap – March 2015 – industrial interior design – on trend or eco?

March heralded a very popular post about our specialism, eco interior design and industrial interior design, and here we were pondering… is all industrial interior design automatically eco?

(first published 31 March 15)

Often, when people find out that we are ‘eco interior architects’, they ask exactly what that means. Do we only use natural materials? Do we use reclaimed materials? Do we have a particular look? The answer varies, but the general consensus is ‘sometimes’. We do use a huge amount of natural materials and specialise in using reclaimed pieces, and whilst our style is very particular to the studio (a general honest, slightly industrial look) it depends hugely on what our client requires. But, the ongoing trend for ‘industrial’ styled spaces tends to lean towards the use of honest, raw, yet highly precise materials.

Designing a Modern Fast Food Restaurant

One such example of this type of interior is with the new fast food restaurant, ‘Simple’ in central Kiev. This innovative restaurant was given a complete identity and interior design by Ukrainian based Brandon Agency, who stuck to the use of organic materials such as plywood, kraft paper and machined timber to create a simple and unified scheme.

brandon-agency-simple-restaurant-8

With the ubiquitous grey (of which we are massive fans…) there is a good balance between the white brick and the green of the plants – another essential ingredient in the stereotypical ‘eco’ interior, which creates a fresh and welcoming, if slightly hipstery space. The design is thorough and beautifully balanced and fits the branding and ethos of the company – simple – very well.

Now, we are fully aware that even though eco interiors can be created in any style, this is the type of project which has come to represent the genre. This is great whilst the grey / green / timber space is being welcomed, but we are pretty keen to break down a myth that perhaps all eco interiors look like this. Many projects that may not be seen as an ‘eco’ interior on the face are actually very responsibly sourced and specified, so if you do not see wood and plants, it does not necessarily mean that it is not an eco interior.

Sometimes you have to scratch the surface a bit…

(images via Design Milk)

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…

Green Gift Guide – day five – subscription gifts…

Day five on our green gift guide and we are into the panic week where we all realise we have missed the last delivery dates for the lovely independent makers. Sooo… instead of panicking and heading to your nearest generic high street, why not think about a subscription to a great magazine, charity or supporting a good cause instead? And if a note doesn’t arrive in time to explain it to your giftee, well, write something in a card to let them know what is on it’s way. Plus, this is the gift that can keep giving throughout the year…

Welcome to day five – subscription gifts…

1 – a Protect Our Waves membership for Surfers Against Sewage – we are really proud to have a few SAS members amongst us – supporting this great charity who do fantastic work at not only highlighting and tackling the issues of water pollution around our shores, but do a sterling job in bringing marine litter to our attention, organising beach clean-ups and generally caring for our seas. Memberships can be bought for individuals, families and you can even sign up to help as a business too. Claire is a Protect Our Waves Guardian – see below for the great stuff you get in a membership pack, along with the lovely regular Pipeline magazine delivered to your door too… from £36 as shown 

2 – Adopt – a – Beehive – one twelfth share – buying a share in a beehive is a way to support bees and earn some honey too… because, of course, Bees matter. Most fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as food crops for farmed animals, depend on bees. But bees are in crisis with their numbers dwindling at an alarming rate.The problem is not so apparent in urban gardens, but in the countryside, where bees are under attack from viruses, pesticides and mites, but most of us don’t have the inclination or the opportunity to keep bees, so here’s an easier way for you to help: Adopt a beehive and help start a new bee colony. For each yearly share you get 1lb of honey made by your adopted bees in September each year along with regular updates from your beekeeper and each shareholder has the option to visit the hive too… £29.99 per yearly share from Nigel’s Eco Store

3 – Montezuma’s Real Chocolate Club – ok – so what could possibly be better than getting a selection of good, organic real chocolate through your letterbox each month? Not a lot. And using very nifty boxes that easily fit through the letterbox (so you will never miss it), you, or your giftee are guaranteed a lovely, delicious surprise. £19.99 per month (you can choose the length of your subscription too)

4 – Another Escape Magazine – just like we reported in our Green Gift Guide day two, print is certainly not dead, and another of our favourites is the quite stunning Another Escape. Outdoor lifestyle, creative culture and sustainable living? Three ticks from us. With engaging stories and eye-wateringly beautiful imagery, this is a real treat for the eyes and mind. Get a range of subscriptions on their shop page here, from current editions, past editions and future ones too…

Another Escape vol6 cover border

5 – Coffee subscription to Small Batch Coffee Company – as well as good chocolate, life is certainly too short to have anything other than great coffee. And here in Brighton we are really lucky to have Small Batch Coffee Company, who source great coffee cherries from reputable suppliers and wash and roast them with love. We are rather partial to their flat whites. But what if your giftee doesn’t live in Brighton? No fear, you can gift a subscription to their postal ground coffee service to someone for anything from 3 months, anywhere in the UK, where they will receive a fresh 250g bag of coffee every two weeks for 12 weeks. And you can choose how you would like it ground – from cafitieres, to stovetop makers… delish. From £42.50 for three months.

3 Month Subscription

So, missing the last postal date does not mean you have to panic. You can still gift something great…

(images via associated brands)

Green Gift Guide – day four – stuff for the home…

Today on day three of our Green Gift Guide, we are looking at nice stuff for the home and garden, which will eco up a space very nicely indeed – and some in very different ways than you may think…

1 – Eco Filament bulb by Urban Cottage Industries – Filament bulbs have been the go-to fitting for a few seasons now to create that popular industrial style interior, but despite looking great, they are certainly not great for energy efficiency. But, thankfully, there is now an option which combines the looks of old style filaments with the energy efficiency we should all be striving for. The Eco Filament by Urban Cottage Industries is A-rated and has a life of 25,000 hours, which equates to 11 years at 6 hours per day… fantastic. from £30.60 inc delivery

Caret lamp eco-filament E27

2 – Hessian covered lighting cable by Urban Cottage Industries – we are sticking with Urban Cottage Industries for the next of our green things for the house, and whilst many people would argue that lighting cable is not sexy, we would beg to differ. The shade gets all the attention, the bulb partly so, but the cable often gets forgotten… bring your lighting up to scratch with some of this brand new hessian covered lighting cable from Urban Cottage Industries – £4.80 per metre (order a bit more and give it a decorative loop we say)

Hessian Fabric Cable | Cloth Covered Wire | 3 Core Round

2 – Home Hack kit by Sugru – there is barely a day goes by when we do not mention Sugru and what we could do with it here in the studio. We have a tin of this wonder stuff in every colour possible in the studio and we use it on everything from in-house repairs to client projects. Sugru – the self setting silicon based rubber has grown into a community, with people posting their hacks and repairs online – proudly showing how they have fixed their stuff. And now Sugru has started a home hack kit, complete with other useful things which you can combine with the mouldable coloured Sugru such as magnets, bits of lego and tennis balls… we love this stuff. Perfect for a DIY enthusiast in your life. Or actually anyone. £17 plus shipping
Home Hacks Made Easy — The Kit

4 – seeds from The Garden House from What You Sow – The beautiful online store What you Sow has everything you would need for those with green fingers – from tools to twine, but it is the seeds from The Garden House, with their stunningly simple illustrations that we adore. With a variety of edibles and flowers to choose from, we say get a bundle of seeds, then also buy your giftee a lovely secondhand frame too, so they can frame up those great illustrations after planting. from 2.95 each plus shipping (final orders 18th Dec!)

Garden House Seeds at What You Sow

5 – recycled card light shades from Tabitha Bargh – possibly the most ‘obvious’ eco choice on our Green Gift Guide today, these lovely lampshades take recycled cardboard to a whole new level. Clean and precise, this is how sustainable materials can and should be used – perfect in any modern interior. In fact, we are looking at using these for a project we have got coming up in 2016… from £75 each

So – five eco ideas that may be a little different from your usual options for the home…

(images via associated brands)

Our green gift guide – day two – prints and printed stuff…

We are properly in the countdown to Christmas now, and whilst we are firmly in the camp of reducing our global consumption, we know that we will all be buying stuff for the people we know and love to open on the 25th. So today we are posting the second of our Green Gift Guide posts to help you through the myriad choices to the greenest, most ethical, most sustainable gifts which look awesome, do awesome stuff and do not look like they’ve been crafted by a hippy in a hairshirt.

Welcome to day two – prints, paper and printed stuff…

decompositon book

1 – a Decomposition Book – made from 100% post consumer waste, these cracking notebooks come in a variety of sizes and with a dizzying array of covers to suit literally everyone. Of course, we opted for the green dinosaurs, but take your pick from flowers to graphic patterns. Available readily online, these are also available at your local Waterstones (UK) and start at £3.50 ish. Great stocking fillers.

Typography Print, Typographic Art, Type Poster, Graphic Design Print, Typography Screenprint, Quote Print, It Takes All Types in Black

2 – ‘It Takes All Types’ screenprint by Hello Dodo – we were delighted to have the lovely Jam and Ali from Hello Dodo at Studio Loo for our recent Christmas Artists Open Houses in Brighton, showcasing their stunning handcrafted screenprints. With witty phrases and a range of colours, Hello Dodo stuff is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. With our love of type, we love this one… £25 plus shipping (get an order in quick for guaranteed delivery before Christmas though)

Alphabet of Endangered Species

3 – Alphabet of Endangered Species in the British Isles print – when was the last time you saw an Undulate Ray or a Zonate Tooth Fungi? Well, ok, but what about a Thrush, or a Hare? This A-Z of Endangered Species is not only educational, it is beautifully illustrated and printed on recycled paper. Available for £15 from Present and Correct

IMG_3552.jpg

4 – Limited Edition Botanical Bundle Subscription to Ernest Journal – for a long time many were declaring that ‘print was dead’, and as fervent devotees of the form, we are delighted that more independent publications than ever are springing up. One of our favourite is Ernest Journal – with beautiful imagery and eclectic stories, this is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea on a drab day. It celebrates beautifully our stunning world and slow journalism. And at the moment, you can do a gift bundle with 2 or 3 copies of Ernest and a selection of gifts from the fantastic online store What you Sow. But there are only 10 of these bundles available, so get in quick! from £25 plus shipping 

5 – A5 Fair Trade Soft Leather notebook – Gorgeous fair trade leather bound journal with smooth handmade recycled cotton pages. With a wrap-around tie to keep all your inserts secure, this notebook is perfect for travelling and sketching. Soft, supple chocolate leather cover, a by-product, is dyed with natural vegetable dyes – a perfect gift that will age beautifully! Now £15.99 from Nigels Eco Store. 

That’s it for day one – stay tuned for tomorrows Green Gift Guide – stuff you can wear…

(all images via associated websites)

Christmas Artist’s Open Houses @ Studio Loo – Rarebit Design…

As many of you are probably aware, we have opened up our home, Studio Loo once more for the Artist’s Open Houses in the run up to Christmas with a raft of wonderful designers and artists showing their wares in our converted wc studio. So, we thought it would be nice to find out a little bit more about everyone with a little interview series. First up today is the fantastic Rarebit Design:

rarebit design 6

Hello! can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? rarebit design was set up in 2012 by Rachel Thomas, a designer/maker living in Hove. Rachel makes lovely handmade things from ceramics, vintage paper and linen. With rarebit design Rachel brings together all her interests – from handmade ceramics to typography and vintage print, paper and linen – and produces collections of beautiful handmade things.

rarebit design 3

What’s your favourite thing in your range at the moment and why? My favourite thing in my range at the moment is probably my tiny speckle bowls – hand made stoneware bowls, each one unique and beautifully organic in form with a delicate speckled finish. They look amazing in groups or alone, and are perfect pinch pots for salt and pepper, or ring bowls, or dip bowls at the table… the possibilities are endless. Plus I love making them!

rarebit design 1

Ok – I’ve got £20 to spend. What should I buy from your range? £20 to spend? Well it’s Christmas, so I’d go for a few of my ceramic hanging decorations with suitably festive quips such as ‘Ho Ho Ho’ or ‘Humbug’ printed into the clay with vintage letterpress letters. A rarebit design speciality! Plus a handmade vintage paper Christmas card of course!

rarebit design 2

What is on your own Christmas List this year? On my Christmas list this year is something special from Christmas Artist’s Open Houses to hang on the wall. There’s such a wealth of amazing artists living in Brighton and Hove. I’ve already bought a fabulous print from Hello Dodo but there’s still more wall space…

rarebit design 4

Christmas pudding or Christmas cake? Bah Humbug…neither I’m afraid. Mince pies all the way…

rarebit design 5

Thank you Rarebit Design! 

*** you can see all of Rarebit Design’s lovely stuff and more at Studio Loo – we are OPEN for Christmas Artist’s Open Houses 21/22 + 28 Nov, 5 + 12/13 December – 10.30 – 5.00 at 201 Portland Road, Hove, BN3 5JA ***

click here for more details!

***REVIEW*** Brighton Fashion Week 2015 – part 1…

Talk about sustainability, and haute couture fashion is often not the first thing that springs to mind, but with a commitment to all things ethical and sustainable, the Brighton Fashion Week 2015, which was held on 15-17 October certainly put this straight. All this week we will be looking at the activities and shows – starting with our Photo Special of the Showreel Design Competition, sponsored by Bolli Darling.

Located in All Saints Church, Hove, the last of the catwalk shows was actually a design competition, where designers, artists and creatives created one outfit from a ‘Beauty from Waste’ brief for a showcase of fashion, art and performance. It was rather spectacular too… starting with an incredible construction from competition sponsor and costumer extraordinaire, Bolli Darling…

Bolli Darling BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

And so, here are a few of the entries.

Elpida Hadiz-Vasilva – Gunna – chicken skin and recycled cotton combine to explore the notions of beauty and elegance… This dress was as delicate as paper – and was modelled beautifully.

Elpida Hadiz-Vasileva BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotElpida Hadiz-Vasileva 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotElpida Hadiz-Vasileva 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotGenieve Couture – Rags to Riches  – a dress created from 58 recycled garments, showing how post-consumer waste could be reimagined… A stunning, flowing dress that felt almost mermaid like, with a huge trailing tail of material. This was one dress where the origins of the material could be seen clearly.

Genieve Couture BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotGenieve Couture 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotGenieve Couture 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAnne Sophie Cochevelou – Glorious Junk – tribal inspired costume made from waste… This was a performance – with each model adorned in jewel like creations of material, plastic and metal. The opulence was incredible in these stunning pieces.

Anne Sophie Cochevelou BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAnne Sophie Cochevelou 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAnne Sophie Cochevelou 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAfton Ayache – Les couleurs d’Afrique Recycler – inspired by a heartfelt story of selflessness and appreciation for what we have, waste was used to create these African prints… Beautiful prints, with structure and flow.

Afton Ayache BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAfton Ayache 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotHayley Trezise – Raggedy – Rebirth- A design which explores confidence and the process of being reincarnated or born again… Another performance piece, with a cloaked ‘crawler’ adding pieces to the long tail of the dress, which itself was highly textured.

Hayley Trezise Raggedy BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotHayley Trezise Raggedy 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotHayley Trezise Raggedy 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotKumiko Tani – Evening Coffee – couture dresses created from upcycled materials that explores our desire to dress up… A dress that was clearly constructed from waste, but that was well conceived in design.

Kumiko Tani 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Kumiko Tani BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Freya Von Bulow – Flow of Nature – a technical gown designed to raise awareness of production and efficient recycling techniques… This dress was very structured and featured interesting pieces, like the clothes pegs in the neck section.

Freya Von Bulow 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Juliette Simon – American Dream – a journey through the dark side of the American Dream… Very American Beauty, this dress told a clear story of waste and consumerism.

Juliette Simon 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Juliette Simon BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

We were blown away by the creative theatre of each of the costumes, but after lots of deliberation, the judges awarded Afton Ayache the £1000 prize, courtesy of Veolia.

Afton Ayache 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

A fantastic competition, showing the wealth of talent out there – and we will be staying with Brighton Fashion Week 2015 for the rest of the week, with the Zeitgeist and Sustain shows, plus a look at the debates…

(all images copyright Claire Potter)

Pecha Kucha Brighton – Volume 22 – Good Grub…

The Pecha Kucha format is something that has to be experienced. It is a quick fire set of presentations, usually formed around a theme, where the speakers are limited to 20 slides, with 20 seconds per slide. Each one flicks on automatically, so if you are behind in your talk, you are in trouble. This is a brilliantly entertaining way to learn something exciting in a concise way, and we are delighted to announce that we will be taking part in the next Pecha Kucha in Brighton.

Volume 22 of Pecha Kucha Brighton on 22nd November will be around the theme of ‘Good Grub’, with a great line up of speakers talking about food in a variety of ways, from typography to crochet. Claire will be speaking about Urban Foraging and the rewilding of the city and it’s inhabitants, based on our Edible City escapades.

Tickets are £15 (+ booking fee) and include a light dinner at Silo, the venue for the evening, and Silo founder Dougie McMaster will also be talking about the philosophy behind the project – which is incredible both in concept and practice.

But even though the event is just over a month away, tickets are selling like zero waste organic hot cakes, so if you fancy it, head to the Pecha Kucha Brighton site sooner rather than later!

(image via Pecha Kucha Brighton)

*** PREVIEW *** Brighton Fashion Week 2015…

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…

Check out the Brighton Fashion Week 2015 website for full details of all the events and the designers taking part in this unique fashion event… see you there.

(images courtesy of Brighton Fashion Week)

 

SPOTTED – the NURDkit by Alice Kettle…

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.

IMG_8909.JPG

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.

IMG_2249.JPG

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.

IMG_0191.JPG

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.

IMG_2097.JPG

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.

Inside the NURDkit

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.

(all images via Alice Kettle)

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)

Easter gift idea – a membership to the Heritage Seed Library…

Before anyone says anything – we are huge fans of chocolate, especially the organic loveliness from Montezumas in Brighton, but we had a thought about what else we would love to give people as a gift this Easter break. With the front of the studio literally springing up before our eyes, the soil warming nicely and the seed packages mounting up, we will be giving the gift of heritage growing – with memberships to the Heritage Seed Library from Garden Organic.

We are very proud to be members, with our annual subs of £18 going towards conserving vegetable types which are not commercially available any more. Some are UK varieties, some from further afield, but the HSL ensures that these varieties are not being lost forever… Plus, as part of our membership – as well as the warm fuzzy feeling of doing something good, we also get to pick six different varieties from the library each December to grow ourselves.

From purple carrots to purple beans and even long lost fruits such as the triffid like Achocha, we have had the joy (and sometimes despair) of growing over the past ten years or so. Plus, there is nothing quite like putting a variety into the summer village show that has not been seen for a few years, if at all.

So, if you have someone that is green fingered and not a huge fan of chocolate, perhaps a membership to the Heritage Seed Library could be in order?

(images via the HSL)