Sunday, 12 January 2014

Blog Reflection

I really enjoyed my chosen elective of Sustainable Design. The series of lectures really opened my eyes to the amount of work designers are performing to help promote and encourage sustainability.  The lectures taught me not only about the problems within our current environment, but also the solutions that creative’s are coming up with to help solve them. TED’s Ten strategies revealed different methods of how change can be made. The ten strategies also helped me section each design and designer into different categories on what and the reasons why for their designs.
Learning about environmental issues around the world really fascinated me, as well as learning about design solutions for them. This elective revealed to me the vast amount of creativity and energy there is behind the sustainable design industry. I had no idea before hand how alive and relevant it is to our every day lives. When thinking about my own designs now, I am much more conscious of the implications and consequences of certain design choices. In the future, I hope to design sustainably, for a customer that is aware of their environmental impact and desire to change it.
The system of a blog helped me keep all my research findings and thoughts in a clarified format.
Throughout the elective I have become more and more interested in the social side of sustainable design. Design that improves the welfare of those who help make the products really inspires me. I hope that my designs can benefit people in that way someday too.  On one of our very first lectures we learnt about the designer Florie Salnot. Salnot is a designer who created a method of making beautifully delicate and unique jewelry using plastic bottles from Saharawi. These pieces are created by women from refugee camps in the desert, giving them financial independence since living in exile. I love the simplicity of taking something that once was rubbish like a plastic bottle and turning it into a treasured object that changes people’s lives. By thinking of alternative uses for unwanted objects, the environment as well as the people within it can be saved.
Before I studied sustainable design in any depth, I thought that sustainable design was less beautiful because the aesthetics had to be sacrificed due to the production. This elective opened my eyes to the stunning sustainable designs across the world. A design company that really stood out to me aesthetically was Studio Swine. They married the idea of sustainably and beauty perfectly in lots of their products. Their ‘Hair Glasses’ is an example of unique and beautiful. Not only this, being made from human hair, the product is biodegradable and therefore sustainable too. There is so much more value in sustainable products than just aesthetics, the story behind them adds to their physical appearance. If something is made with consideration to the environment and the people within it, in my eyes it makes the product so much more valuable.
Sustainable design to me is about working with what is available and exploring the different possibilities to the solutions of design we have today. Our environment is in continuous change therefore our design solutions need constantly changing too. It’s exciting to have had the opportunity to explore what sustainable designers are currently researching and creating. Design is an integral part of our environments future, which is an exciting prospect yet a huge responsibility for designers around the world.  

Sunday, 29 December 2013


Agbogbloshie is a destination site for electronic waste. Migrants from rural areas inhabit the site, earning money from scavenging for metals in the waste. Many illegal cargo containers arrive in Ghana to unload waste from countries such as the UK and America. Unprotected workers, may of them children, sift through the waste for precious metals. Plastics are melted down, emitting toxic fumes and chemicals into the atmosphere and water. 

The area is known to be outside the control of the police, therefore crime is rife. Locals call Agbogbloshie 'Sodom and Gomarrah" after the two condemned Biblical cities.

Wikipedia. 2014. Agbogbloshie. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 January 14].

Monday, 23 December 2013

Swoon - The Swimming Cities.

TED's 10 - upcycling / recycling 

Possibly one of the most environmentally friendly ways of transportation would be by sail boat. The ocean makes up such a vast proportion of our earth, what better way to explore it than with the wind in your sails! 

Swoon is a American street artist who constructed a raft from New York City garbage and scrap material. 'The Swimming Cities' rafts were then sailed from Slovenia to Venice with the help of a team of anarchists. The rafts are built with reused materials symbolising the freedom that comes with self reliance. The boats are an embodiment of the philosophy of reusing found materials and waste.

However these boats do run on fuel. “We’re not perfect,” Swoon says. “How much jet fuel was used to fly all of us here? But we’re not going to let being imperfect stop us. If you are too rigid in your ethics, you undo positive action.”
The boats are aimed to be floating cabinets of wonders, with the crew stopping off a collecting curiosities along the way. The boats were then docked at the Venice Biennale for the public to enjoy and explore. 

NY Mag. 2014. Barging In to Venice. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 07 January 14].

Sunday, 22 December 2013


TEDS's 10 - Upcycling / Recycling 

Another design aim of TED is to create using recycling or upcycling. Lallitara is a great example of recycling saris from India into unique products. By saving what would have been thrown into landfill, recycling these saris also means less environmental damage is created in the manufacturing stages. 

“We pay these hardworking women and men fair wages for their labor and give new life to unique fabrics that would otherwise go to waste.”
All the material is sourced from recycling communities in India and then handmade in America sweatshop free.  5 - 10 % of profits are then feed back to charitable organisations. 
The technique of upcycling means that all the products created are totally unique, which gives a bespoke and personalised feeling to the garments. 

Lallitara. 2014. Lallitara. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 02 January 14].

Naturally Coloured Silk

TED's 10 - New Technologies 

One of the aims of "TED's Ten' is 'Design to Reduce Energy and Water Use.' The dyeing of textiles uses vast quantities of water and therefore is incredibly polluting. Scientists have created a way of minimising the water usage in the dying process. Silkworm larvae are fed on a diet of dyed mulberry leaves, which naturally coloured their usually white cocoons. Experimentations on this type of dyeing are far from finished, but scientists are well on their way to create intrinsically dyed silks.

Ecouterre. 2014. Silkworms Naturally Colored Silk. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 December 13]

The North Circular

TED's 10 - Long Life / Emotionally Durable Design

The North Circular is fashion brand that embraces the skills and talents of grandmothers across the country. The products are all either hand made or hand woven. The designing process ignores trends, rather choosing to focus on the consistency of skill. The brand encourages the long term use of their products. The garments are made using ethical wool from rescued Wensleydale sheep, housed at the sanctuary in North Yorkshire. Their mantra is, "Do what you can with what you've got where you are."
"We wanted to return value to the hand made product, personalise the process of production, rekindle the relationship between the producer and the purchaser."

"With us you're receiving a high quality item that is ethical, supporting high standards of animal welfare, it is eco/green with low mileage, minimal packaging, supporting UK industries, traditional arts and crafts."

The North Circular. 2014. The North Circular. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 26 December 13].

CRED Jewellery

CRED Jewellery was the first European fair trade jewellery company. There company works on the notion of giving back to the gold mining community. The money given back goes towards the communities education, sanitation and power.  'In the mining areas of San Filomena, Peru, we have been directly responsible for bringing improved health, sanitation and education to their isolated community high up in the Andes.'

CRED Jewellery . 2014. CRED Jewellery. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 December 13].