the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 20 – Urban Foraging Cocktail workshop…

Ever wondered what edible things you walk past each day in Brighton and Hove? Not sure how to spot them or what to do with them? Well, for another of post free gift options in our Eco Gift Guide, we are shamelessly plugging one of our own events, but it will be a cracker! Join us for an introduction to foraging and a few top tips of where to find useful things, culminating in a HUGELY popular foraged cocktail making session using flavours gathered from the city of Brighton itself…

This special event led by Claire Potter (claire potter design) is part of the immersive experience at Patterns Bar, Brighton. Step through a transformed mystical entrance, and discover an enchanted forest filled with nostalgic treats and immersive visual feasts inspired by Britain’s woodlands and the wild outdoors in Winter.


The ground floor bar will be transformed into a winter wonderland reminiscent of scenes from The Chronicles of Narnia, brought to life by a multi-level digitally projected and interlinked forest, complete with softly falling snowflakes, inquisitive wild animals and scents of the forest air. Inside, you’ll find festive treats such a boozy hot chocolate menu and Hot Buttered Rum to enjoy as you watch a flock of birds fly around the room or a snow fox dart in front of you. Imagine watching the sunset from a discarded Chesterfield in Narnia with a warming cocktail in hand, dancing amongst the swirling snow in the glow of a Victorian lamppost and you will be half way to Woodlandia.


Claire will be leading a talk and discussion around urban foraging, but the best bit is that there will be a foraged cocktail workshop in the second half of the workshop – hands on making and sampling too!

Plus, as it is in February, the post Christmas and New Year detox will be over. The lovely cocktails we will be making use the very best of the new sprouts and shoots of the season, and as local as you can probably ever get…

Tickets on sale now – £15 per person on our Eventbrite page

(images via claire potter and woodlandia)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 18 – ticket to Pecha Kucha Brighton…

It has been said that we should be gifting experiences instead of stuff to be truly sustainable. Of course, it really does depend on what type of experience you gift, but sharing something special with a loved one will give the gift of precious memories, shared experiences and perhaps even a new skill. It could be something outdoors, something indoors, something to make you think or something to make you smile. So, for day 18 on our Eco Gift Guide we have chosen an experience close to us – tickets to volume 26 of Pecha Kucha Brighton…

Literally meaning ‘chit chat’ in Japanese, the Pecha Kucha format was dreamt up in 2003 by Tokyo based architects, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham who had had enough of watching long, tedious presentations by other architects. With just 20 slides and each slide being present for just 20 seconds, the 6 minute 40 seconds format was short, sweet and swallowable, and Pecha Kucha was born. There are now PK licence holders all over the world, replicating the format in cities across the globe.

The Brighton license is now held by Alex Leith (Viva magazine) and Zara Wood (aka Woody the illustrator and graphic designer), who present the Pecha Kucha nights every two or three months, each with a different theme. They are nights of great inspiration.

Claire has presented twice at Pecha Kucha nights in Brighton, under the themes of ‘studio’, ‘good grub’ (talking about urban foraging) and will also be presenting at the next volume of PK – under the theme of ‘RE’ on January 25th 2017. Expect people talking about REvolution, REcycling, REuse, REbellion, REsponsibilities and many other things starting with RE. It’ll be REally good. (sorry)

So why not think about popping along? Tickets are available from here and early bird options are just a fiver a piece, so will not break the bank and would be a great stocking filler. Give the gift of an experience, with a difference.

(images via Pecha Kucha Brighton)

***EVENT*** our last foraging walk of the year this Sunday!

Well, the summer has rocketed by, and we can’t believe that our last guided foraging walk of the year will be this Sunday. Starting at a location just outside the centre of Brighton, you can join us for a 2 hour or so foraging walk, where we will point out the 20 or so different things that you can eat (or really should not be touching!). Things that you will recognise and lots that you will not, this walk will equip you with the basics of urban foraging, including the rules you need to adhere by.

cherry plum foraging

Finished off with a little drink at the end, the walk starts and ends in two Brighton parks, with some street foraging in the middle… Kids are welcome (and go free with an adult too).

There are only a few tickets left for this walk, so if you fancy it – here is the link to our Eventbrite page… We hope to see you there!

(image by claire potter)

*** EVENT – Earth Hour at Silo Brighton ***

Many of you will know about the fantastic restaurant, Silo in Brighton – the brain child of chef Douglas McMaster, which operates as a pre-industrial food system and is best known as being a zero-waste operation. It is one of our favourite places to eat in Brighton and we are always delighted to visit Silo, whether as a speaker at a Silo hosted event, or showing design students just how passion for a sustainable system can work in real life as a business.

As the Silo ‘Story’ states:


Well said we say. 

SILO earth day 1Plus, as well as being an outstanding place to visit at any time (and in our top 10 places to visit in Brighton) the events at Silo are fantastic – and we are seriously gutted to be missing this one (as we will be travelling back from France)

For Earth Hour on Saturday 19th March, join Silo for a special raw menu meal in the dark. And you have to admit, that menu looks pretty awesome…SILO earth day 2Book your tickets, which are priced at £38 per head here. It’ll be a night to remember for sure. Just don’t tell us and rub it in. *sigh*

(images via Silo)

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)


The London Design Festival is in full swing – here are our picks…

We honestly do not know where the year has gone – was it really 12 months since we were up at the London Design Festival with Fixperts, running a workshop on fixing and hacking? It appears it was. However, apart from being a year older, the London Design Festival is a distinct highlight of our calendar – and it gets bigger each time. Whilst this is fantastic, the bigger the event, the more you have to pick and choose the events that you go to, so we are sharing our picks for this year with you all…

First up – we will be heading to LASSCO, to drool over the reclamation:

‘Pioneers of Architectural Salvage, LASSCO supply a virtually unending stream of recklessly curated objects and materials, aided by an unerring eye, impeccable provenance and profound practical knowledge.

Over the past year the shop has contributed architectural elements to some of London’s most exciting and on-trend retail and hospitality brands across London including: Aesop, Club Monaco, St John’s, Groucho, Ralph Lauren, Hostem, & China Exchange. This inspiring exhibition documents them and shows how our reclaimed materials are being incorporated into interior design today.’

19 – 27th Sept / 41 Maltby Street, Bermondsey / £free

Next we will be heading to Interface to see their Designing with Nature exhibition, which looks in detail at biomimicry:

‘Interface is a worldwide leader in the design and production of sustainable modular flooring, suitable for all commercial interiors. Interface products come in a range of colours, textures and patterns that combine beauty with functionality to help organisations bring their design vision to life.

The effect that nature can have on your well being is remarkable. Nature has long been a source of inspiration for Interface and has led to the production some of the most sustainable and innovative nature-inspired carpet tiles. We learn from nature’s systems and our designs take cues from visual and tactile textures, also found in nature, helping to bring the feeling of outside, in to create spaces which inspire, energise and engage individuals in the workplace.’

21 – 25th Sept / 1 Northburgh Street, Clerkenwell / £free

We are also heading off to the Ella Doran & The Great Recovery Material Engagement and the Art of Re-upholstery workshop too:

‘A day at Fab Lab London exploring the possibilities, challenges and rewards of re-upholstering old furniture to give it a new life through talks, hands-on demonstrations & the opportunity to talk to the participants of the Great Recovery’s design residency with SUEZ.

This event reflects and builds on the Great Recovery’s ‘bulky waste’ Design Residency in partnership with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery earlier in the year. Hackney duo Urban Upholstery and award-winning textile designer Ella Doran join the Great Recovery at Fab Lab London to explore how to reduce the quantity of furniture going to landfill through considered design approaches and practical re-upholstery techniques.’

25th Sept / Fab lab London, 1 Frederick’s Place / £free – but book places here

Last on our list is the launch of the Fairphone 2 – an ethical, modular, repairable smartphone:

‘Fairphone is a social enterprise that is building a movement for fairer electronics. By making a phone, we’re opening up the supply chain and creating new relationships between people and their products. We’re making a positive impact across the value chain in mining, design, manufacturing and life cycle, while expanding the market for products that put ethical values first. Together with our community, we’re changing the way products are made.

Come to Fairphone’s launch event, a pop-up space taking you behind-the-scenes of their latest phone – the Fairphone 2, designed with a fairer supply chain and advanced modular architecture. Discover what’s behind your phone: from mines in DR Congo to factories in China and e-waste dumps in Ghana.’

26 – 27th Sept / 2-4 Melior Place / £free

But with so much to do, check out the London Design Festival site – get exploring with design…

(images via LDF15)

Clerkenwell Design Week 2015 – a preview…

Clerkenwell Design Week is upon us once more – beginning today, the annual three day event in the part of London that has the densest population of creative studios, practices and showrooms, per square mile – in the world. Quite something. And each year, these doors are thrown open to all for three days of talks, exhibitions, workshops, launches and parties – for free.

We will be heading up to Clerkenwell on Thursday for a look about, plus we will be on the FIXPERTS stand in the Design Factory between 1-5 (come and say hello!) and then we are off to a very special workshop with the guys at Factorylux (Urban Cottage Industries) – more on that later on in the week, but for those of you not familiar with Clerkenwell, here are our top tips:

1 – Looking for furniture, lighting and product design? First stop has to be The Design Factory located in the Farmiloe Building on 34 St John Street. Not only is the building absolutely stunning (a real 19th century industrial beauty), the variety of work on show is staggering.

2 – want to see the hot off the press new designers in another architectural gem? Check out the House of Detention next, which features interlocking subterranean spaces filled with great design and furniture.

3 – Clerkenwell Conversations is another real highlight of the three day festival, with world class designers, architects and manufacturers – this year talking about everything from public art to the architects insatiable desire to create furniture (ahem). Take a look here for the full programme.

4 – there are multiple showrooms open too, where you can discuss projects directly with the manufacturers, or just have a nose. This year we will be heading to Camira, Interface, The SCIN Gallery and Vitra – for starters…

5 – check out the Fringe too – there are some great event on in the smaller workshops and studios…

And want to whet your appetite? Take a look here at this round up from last year.

(video via Clerkenwell Design Week)

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)

Monday Musings – what we are doing at the London Design Festival…

Today on Monday Musings we have a couple of little announcements about what we are up to for the London Design Festival – which properly gets underway today. A celebration of all things design, the capital buzzes every September with activities, exhibitions, displays, workshops and talks and this year we are very pleased to be part of two events this week…

First up, this Wednesday evening from 7pm, we will be with the fantastic guys at Sugru for their Love Your Stuff party at ‘Look Mum No Hands’ cycling workshop in Hackney. This is a celebration of having stuff for a long time, so if you also have something that you have loved, fixed and repaired to keep it going, you are encouraged to bring it along and get it illustrated to mark its birthday. We will be running one of the Fixing Stations, and will be there all night offering on the spot fixes for things that may be a little bit broken but still useable, encouraging the whole fixing element of design. We ran a similar workshop last year at the Brompton Pitch outside the V & A and over the course of the day, fixed everything from tote bags to bracelets and key rings. So – come and say hello and bring something that we can fix. We will try our best! Here is a little video about the whole Love Your Stuff concept from Sugru…

Next up, we will be with the wonderful Fixperts, running a workshop at the Saturday Market Project on Saturday 20th September between 2-5, which is part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle and on the ICON Design Trail 2014. We will be showing a few images of the Fixperts fixes we have completed at the studio and with the Product Design students at the University of Sussex, plus running a making workshop for one of the Fixes we designed. So – suffer from nasty, tangled headphone cables and broken wires in your bag? Not any more – book on the free session to build and customise your very own headphone holder from inexpensive, everyday household materials. And then take it away with you…and make them for your friends.

The Saturday Market Project at London Design Festival

This session will be an exercise on how problems of all magnitudes can be solved with a little sideways thinking and a quick, hands-on approach. Design comes in many forms but ultimately, fixing a problem is the crux of all design. If we are able to link back into this hands on, fixing mentality rather than worrying that we shouldn’t or couldn’t fix something then we start to gain a little bit of control over our possessions – and essentially contribute to their life cycles. This drive for repair has already started to feed back to manufacturers who are taking note – and beginning to realise that product value comes not only from the item we buy, but it’s whole life…

So – two events for us at the London Design Festival – both celebrations of the power of fixing in design. Come and say hello…

SPOTTED – the Artist’s Open Houses – the Hove trail… pt 2

Continuing on from our post on Tuesday this week, here is a couple of extra spots from our trip last weekend to the Artist’s Open Houses in Brighton – the Hove Trail part two…

It struck us as we were going around that there is a great range of ceramics on offer this year – with a good variety of styles and prices to suit everyone too. So, if you are in the market for a bit of ceramics this year, you will not be disappointed. tessa wolfe murray ceramicWe have a particular thing for useful ceramics – functional pieces that are a bit special too, and it was great to see the works of Tessa Wolfe Murray at 38 Lorna Road, where I snapped up a gorgeous ceramic button which just looked like a foxes head. Being washing machine safe, this lovely button is the largest of three sizes that are available in both sets or as individual pieces, with lozenge shapes, stars, hearts and geometric shapes up for grabs. This little fella will be turned into a necklace…

Then, on the way back, we dropped into Peanut Butter Tree Arts in Portslade after they tweeted us earlier in the day to let us know that they were open too, on the West Hove trail. This house is a real gem of an Open House, with a great atmosphere, huge variety of work on show and brilliant pieces. In every room we found something that we coveted, from screen printed and hand embroidered cushions to silver jewellery featuring squirrels and tiny wooden acorns.

georgina luck

There was also a great range of illustration on show, and we fell in love with the loose illustrations of famous brands by Georgina Luck, whose work has featured in lots of publications and advertising campaigns. We were torn between the Heinz Beans and the Black Treacle, so we got both for the new studio kitchen. 

We then had a couple of very good cups of tea in the beautiful garden and I succomed to one of my favourites – lime and poppy seed cake.


Next week we are heading to Brunswick and Fiveways trails we think – head back on Tuesday for our next SPOTTED in the Artist’s Open Houses series…

(photos by claire potter)

SPOTTED – the De Invasie Van Amsterdam Design Event, this weekend…

Amsterdam is one of our very, very favourite cities and we have written about our travels here and here. For us, it is the sort of place that we feel rather comfortable and design is celebrated not as an expensive and optional ‘add on’ but as an integral part of everyday life. Which certainly is how we think it should be as well. So, we were delighted to hear about another great Belgian design event that is happening in Amsterdam this weekend – De Invasie Van Amsterdam…

De Invasie van Amsterdam: the event

Acting as both a discussion point and an exhibition for 50 emerging designers across a variety of sectors, De Invasie Van Amsterdam is a free event over both Saturday 3rd May (11-6) and Sunday 4th May (10-4) at the Flemish Art Centre de Brakke Grond in Amsterdam.

Here are a snippet of a few of the designers that will be exhibiting…


DIVAM14: Studio Sergeant

Studio Sergeant is a collaboration of three Belgian designers who are specialized in furniture design. With their designs, they want to make people aware of the talent that is present in this small country. Their different education and backgrounds makes them a very multidisciplinary team.  (Studio Sergeatn)


DIVAM14: Lisette Appeldorn

After training as Fashion designer, Lisette Appeldorn noticed that she was really interested in the wider applications of Product Design. Lisette wants to break through well-defined frameworks by using materials that aren’t intuitive. You can see her project ‘raster’ during De Invasie van Amsterdam. (Lisette Appeldorn)


DIVAM14: Sep Verboom - Livable products from discarded fans

Fantasized will present a new range of FAN products at De Invasie van Amsterdam. Fantasized ‘Livable products’ focuses on more than just a product collection. It’s a welcoming wink to our vision. What drives the studio is threefold: raise environmental awareness; pursuing a well-balanced design approach and support communities in the Philippines.

Belgium designer Sep Verboom partnered with social environmentalist Hon. Nida Cabrera to innovate the waste management in Cebu City. Old fans are purchased in junkshops and are combined with traditional weavings by local craftsmen. (FANTASIZED)

So – heading to Amsterdam this weekend? Take a look and for further details visit DIVAM14.

(images courtesy of DIVAM14)

the little yellow book – the ICON Design trail 2012

Every month we look forward to our design magazines thumping onto the mat of the studio, and the September issues are always pretty bumper editions – what with the London Design Festival beginning on 14th September. Today, we got our copy of the very useful and lovely little yellow book – the ICON Design Trail 2012.

This little guide is really the go-to for us as a first step to seeing what is on at the London Design Festival and is helpfully sectioned into areas to literally trail around.

Exhibitions, talks and events are all listed, along with some very nice little photos to whet your design appetite. You can find specific places in the index, there are top tips and even an underground map at the very back.

Plus, it is just about A6 size, so can fit nicely into a large pocket, or for us, our satchels with ease. We bind ours to our sketchbooks so we do not lose it, but this year we need not worry as there is even an app which gives you full digital access to the guide to see what is going on in any area (download it here), so for those of you who either do not subscribe to ICON, or cannot find any of the 100,000 or so copies which are floating about have no excuses.

For anyone interested in design, in whatever capacity, it really is worth finding a copy of the ICON Design trail book, or downloading the app so you can make the most of the many wonderful (and often free) events which are happening in London over the next couple of weeks.