DESIGN FOR LIFE sharing design knowledge
Peer Eriksson, on, email@example.com peer p +46 705336631 053 David Carlson, n, da firstname.lastname@example.org avid +46 707982897 707 7
14 OCTOBER â€“ 15 NOVEMBER 2009
DO THEY AB
CARE BOUT US?
– How can we use interactive design as a tool for social change? Behrang Miri - Artist and pedagog
– How can Ecodesign save the world? Ken Yeang - Architect
– Do You Design Responsibly? Eero Koivisto - Architect and designer
– Why growth?
Ilkka Suppanen - Designer
â€“ What are the priorities we should set for life? Which are interesting, or could be pushed forward by design? Ineke Hans - Industrial designer
â€“ All things becoming more equal, how can design be used as a real source of sustainable differentiation? Jan Holmberg - Brand Director
do k about m
do they know about my life?
N FOR LIFE Itâ€™s time to rethink design. To create long time value instead of short time profit. To build the future on generosity instead of greed. We need optimism, new spirit and change! We need Design for Life. Design for Life is all about how we can create better lives for the many. How we plan, produce, deliver and consume everything from cities, transportation and infrastructure to food, entertainment, products and brands. Together we have a joint responsibility. We can all make a difference. Design is always about humans â€“ about satisfying needs, solving problems and attracting us towards new experiences. This implies that great design often is founded on a social and cultural perspective. Unfortunately design has partly turned into a major source of pollution. Just look at everything modish and the hunt for newness. A big part of the industry are focusing on more when we actually need better. Design for Life is about concern and cooperation. Even a long journey starts with a first step. Doing something is always better than nothing.
DESIGN B Designboost is a knowledge company in the fields of events, media, resources and concepts. We work with four inter-related platforms, BoostUpgrades: BoostEvent, BoostMedia, BoostResource and BoostConcept. BoostEvent is a new way of sharing design knowledge. At the key annual DesignBoost in Malmรถ and at several MiniBoosts around the world, a renowned international crowd of professionals, Boosters, meet to upgrade through our integrated and consistent formats: BoostChat (workshop), BoostTalk (lecture) and BoostShow (exhibition). BoostMedia is our accumulated knowledge. What we have shared on different platforms throughout the year is continuously applied to upgrade our site and is also documented in our BoostMag and as BoostCast. It becomes further developed in our BoostBook. You may also subscribe to the irregular online e-Boost: challenging comments on design issues of the day.
N BOOST BoostResource is a profound source of global knowledge. The Designboost BoostCommunity includes well-known personalities and highly professional individuals, Boosters, within design in its broadest and deepest sense. They represent worldwide competence. Our Partners make up an important network of companies and institutions. Projects and experts are joined together through BoostWork. BoostConcept is the incubator for our ideas. The Sustainable Wheel, our vital conceptual tool and the basis of our reasoning, holds seven spokes each of which contribute to a holistic knowledge of sustainability. In BoostConsult we develop new concepts for application. Through BoostResearch we learn more about the preconditions for true sustainable development. Our BoostStore is a conceptual online shop to come. Designboost is created by award winning communication strategist Peer Eriksson and international acclaimed design thinker and trend strategist David Carlson.
The vision of Designboost
SHARinG DESiGn k DESiGn in A SUSTAinABlE SOCiETY The more you give the more you get. At Designboost we believe in sharing knowledge. We use this thinking in everything we do. We have an open minded attitud to processes where interaction is in the core of the method. It can concern consultancy work, development of creative communication, an event or building a community. Groundbreaking ideas quite often arise in the intersection of knowledge from different industries and cultures. Designboost can be seen as a catalyst and conceptual incubator. Designboost connects people; industry with schools with designers with politicians with future scientists with… the list is never ending. We are working hard to apply more ”open-source” thinking to the design world. For our key annual DesignBoost and MiniBoost we have developed a process consisting of three integrated steps to better knowledge. All three are equally important but can differ in size from time to time. We call them: BOOSTCHAT (formerly known as workshops) BOOSTTAlK (formerly known as lectures) BOOSTSHOW (formerly known as exhibition) Our goal is that Designboost shall be a humanistic arena and a big boost for you, both on a personal as well as on a professional level.
The mission of Designboost
n knOwlEDGE....... Creating a platform where people can meet, discuss and challenge the meaning of design, through workshops, talks, exhibitions and all other media.
THE SUSTAin A It’s important to have a holistic view on sustainability. Sustainability is not only about “green” and environmentalism, even if it is an important part of it. Sustainability is also very much about timelessness, new materials that push the envelope, storytelling, sensorial experiences and cultural awareness. Designboost has defined seven different themes that by itself or in combination are important in the definition of sustainability. The Sustainable Wheel can be used as a tool or why not a check list.
Environmental influence – to affect the environment as little as possible
Which material resources do we use directly or indirectly; does our product consume too much energy when in use? What waste do we produce directly or indirectly; recycling of our product is costly and/or reuse is complicated as it demands transport or substantial deconstruction?
– to own multi-quality capacities Do we recognise that quality is a multi capacity? Have we tried to specify our products capacity beyond the most obvious; material quality and physical functionality? Is quality relative to intended use? Have we recognised quality as lasting meaning and appeal and considered if our product makes sense: is meaningful or appears merely strange: new and cool?
innovative development – to develop unique attributes on several levels
Is our product merely innovative or does it contribute to development; an improvement of our lives, and not only to a demand for newness? Innovation is about seeing things in different ways, thinking out-of-the-box, thinking for renewal and change, removing blinders, boldly processing new and old information. How can we break innovation barriers and push the envelope concerning technology and production?
beyond temporary lifestyles and makes us associate and recognise? Meaning is paramount for affectivity; the moderator of emotions and feelings, and thus for long-term attachment.
Aesthetics – to age with grace
Have we realised that the aesthetic is about immediate but also lasting appeal? Do we confuse aesthetics with beauty? Are we aware that beauty is something negotiated and what is judged as beautiful one day might not be the next? There are things that survive year after year, are inherited by the generations to come and excellent examples of truly durable objects; “they truly age with grace”. What’s the secret?
– to be able to tell a credible story How do we define authenticity? Is it a product which is as close to the original version as possible? Or is an authentic product is an object which is true to its meaning and its function? An object without history is fiction and an object which has not moved on from history is retrospective. An authentic product could be seen as a mix of the two. How do we create authentic experiences that has meaning and value and a strong sense of cultural identity?
– to be part of a bigger coherence
– to be a part of the user Does our product have a chance not only to connect emotionally; create attachment, but also to retain it? Have we considered that emotions are much less sustainable than feelings? Emotions make us buy, whilst feelings make us keep. Has our product a meaning; tell a story which goes
What is at stake if we make our product compatible with that of our competitor or neighbour? Is it a long term negative, a short term or no negative at all? How can we connect the history, with the present and the future? And how can we create common platforms (designers, materials, technology etc) with several outcomes and, out of that, get sustainable co-ordination advantages? Isn’t compatibility also about supporting human to human relationships?
In the end, a product is nothing worth if it is not put in a humanly context. We have to remember to always look through the lens of humanity when we develop, or trying to define a sustainable product or service. Because, we always have to extend sustainability beyond materials.
n ABlE wHEEl
– Does your design take into account my culture? Sanjoo Malhotra - Client Strategy & Communication
– How can we create a common global mentality and awareness of the importance of Design for Life? Thomas Lykke - Director
– How do we expand our imagination? Katrin Olina - Designer
– What kind of design could contribute to tropical forests’ sustainability? Ary Perez - Engineer and artist
– How could we change our standards of living towards a sustainable world? Mario Barros - Water Engineer and professor
– How can we make design last for life? Daniela Rogosic - Project manager
– How can design give life and how can we give life to design? Vanessa Gandy - Design strategist
– What social codes of conduct should, Design for Life, have, in order to be trustworthy in the future? Cay Bond - Trendanalyst
-How can design solve problems that really matter? Ewa Kumlin - Svensk Form
– How can we best make design tolerant, responsive and alive? Ilse Crawford - Creative director and designer
– How can we create meeting places, arenas for more creative ways of making meeting ,meeting and networks alive.. in this extreme speedy life.. were the web plays a bigger role? Yvonne Rock - Culture producer
BOOSTTALK 15 OCTOBER 9.00 WELCOME Inaugural speech by David Carlson and Peer Eriksson Session one Katja Gry Carlsen Mathias Eriksson Filipe Balestra Max Fraser 10.30 ENERGIZING BREAK Session two Ilse Crawford Magnus Lindqvist Behrang Miri Ineke Hans To be confirmed 12.30 LUNCH Session three Richard Hutten Jonas Pinzke/Harry McNeil Colin Drummond Katrin Olina Roy Antink 15.00 ENERGIZING BREAK Session four Ary Perez Ken Yeang Katarina Graffman/Kristina Bรถrjesson Short body stretch Eero Koivisto Brent Richards/Phillip Allsopp Wind-up: David Carlson and Peer Eriksson 17.30 THE END
14th October Who will chat? We don’t have the truths. The question is, does anyone?
On the other hand there are plenty of questions and possibly some answers. When it comes to Design for Life there are probably many things that needs to be questioned, left could very well be right. The objective of DesignBoost 2009 is to make everybody question, reach awareness and think in new paths when it comes to creating better lives for lots of people. This is after all the ultimate goal for all design, isn’t it? As earlier years we have carefully selected and then invited Boosters (as we call the participants) from all over the world which represent the true frontline within design in its broadest context; designers, architects, anthropologists, future scientists, artists, brand strategists, creative thinkers etc. All are authorities in their field of expertise and our selection reflects the principle that design is multidisciplinary reaching way beyond the obvious. The Boosters will be able to interact with organisations, institutions and companies including Iittala, Audi, E.ON, Thule, Skanska, Svensk Form, City of Malmö, Region Skåne, Swedish EU presidency and Sydsvenskan among others.
The objectives for the BoostChat at Designboost 2009 – To reflect the principle that design is multidisciplinary reaching way beyond the obvious. – To make everybody question, reach awareness and think in new paths when it comes to creating better lives for the many. – To improve cooperation among companies, institutions and organisations and practitioners of design in its broadest context. – To provide for better and more culturally connected design solutions. – To find new ways for creating long time value instead of short term profit. – To improve diversity, justice and integration.
Ilse Crawford - Creative director and designer Ineke Hans - Industrial Designer Ken Yeang - Architect Brent Richards - Architect and Polymath Katrin Olina - Illustrator and designer Magnus Lindqvist - Trendspotter Filipe Balestra - Architect Behrang Miri - Artist and pedagog Richard Hutten - Designer Max Fraser - Director at Spotlight Press Eero Koivisto - Architect and designer Ary Perez - Engineeer and artist Philip Allsopp - Principal, Transpolis Global Katarina Graffman - Anthropologist Ilkka Suppanen - Designer Staffan Weigl - Designer Bob Jacobson - Societal Impresario Artur Moustafa - Concept designer Jens Martin Skibsted - Creative director Henrik Marstrand - CEO and founder Mater Cay Bond - Trendanalyst Martin Hoenle - Founder thequietriot.com Mikael Fuhr - Director of Design/DSB Thomas Lykke - Director OeO Anne-Marie Buemann - Director OeO Sebastian Holmbäck - Designer Lotta Lundberg - Spiritual speaker and coach Mats Karlsson - Architect Simon Nordtorp - Fashion Curator Mario Barros - Water Engineer and Professor Vanessa Gandy - Design Strategist, Grow Yvonne Rock - Culture producer Robert Voticky - Professor Claes Foxerus - Design Management Planner Olof Kolte - Designer Matthias Weber - Trend Consultant Chandra Ahlsell - Designer Anna Holmquist - Designer Ewa Kumlin - Svensk Form Kristin Heinonen - Web strategist Mia Svensson - Entrepreneur Anna Maria Orru - Architect and Researcher Krzysztof Bielski - Design center director
oost chat Mikael Håkansson - Concept Developer Brett Patching - Strategic Designer Allan Alfred Birkegaard Hansted - CEO, wecollaborate.org Jan Holmberg - Brand Director Daniela Rogosic - Project manager Harry McNeil - Managing Director at The Good Guys. Karin Stenmar - Founder DEM collective Alex West - Global Head of Talent & Partnerships Eva-Maria Elstner - PR manager Audi Jonas Pinzke - Creative Director at The Good Guys Christian Aronsen - Creative director Tanya Kim Grassley - Brand development strategist Adam Szczepanowski - Senior Industrial Designer, Electrolux Karl Nyberg - PR manager Electrolux Katja Gry Carlsen- Potentialiser- Pr & Communication Christel Vaenerberg - Creative director Iittala Fredrik Magnusson - Design director Iittala Tiuja Aalto-Setäla - PR manager Iittala Peter Majanen - Quattreporte Despina Christoforidou - Researcher Maria Cecilia Loschiavo - Philosopher and Professor Peter Bundgaard Rützou - Architect / Designer Signe Bindslev Henriksen - Architect / Designer Sanjoo Malhotra - Client Strategy & Communication at Itim Maxjenny Forslund - Super fashion designer Mathias Eriksson - Copywriter and Co-founder of Brikolör Mats Olsson - Urban planner Johanna Ericsson, Product Development Manager Höganäs Keramik Jolanta Marcinkowska - Head of Knowledge Fernando Gabeira - Politician Roy Antink - Development manager, Green construction Skanska Carl-Johan Wachtmeister - Communication consultant Johan Hjerpe - Concept director Catja Löfgren - Creative strategy and insights Kristina Börjesson - Researcher sustainable design Tomas Bokstad - Project Manager, Prime Minister’s Office Magnus Thure Nilsson - Director at Moving Media Malmö Lena Rahoult - Museum director Irene Bernald - Markering director Audi Maria Lomholt - Brand director Skanska Thomas Ermacora - Founder Clear Village Colin Drummond - Director of Cultural & Business Insights at Crispin Porter + Bogusky Mads Damkjær - Partner and Creative Director, Goodmorning Technology
15th October Who will talk?
The Designboost BoostTalk (formerly known as lectures) is for you who want to widen your scope and see the opportunities in diversity rather than in speciality when approaching and discussing a complex subject. The BoostTalk are focused on best practise: ideas, concepts and projects which individually or when put together offers new insight in what contributes to a long and prosperous life. You will leave DesignBoost 2009 with a fresh consciousness on how you can make a difference, become a booster, professionally or privately.
SPEAKERS 2009 Ken Yeang, Architect at Llewelyn Davies Yeang Ken Yeang is an architect-planner, and one of the foremost ecodesigners, theoreticians, and thinkers in the field of green design. Ken Yeang is the author of several books on ecological design. He is the distinguished Plym Professor at the University of Illinois and Adjunct Professor at the University of Malaya and University of Hawaii (at Manoa) and recently received a D.Lit. (Hon) from the University of Sheffield. He is well known for designing signature green high-performance buildings and master plans, and for his pursuit of an ecological aesthetic in his designs.
Ilse Crawford, Creative director and Designer at Studio Ilse Ilse crawford is a creative director and designer who crosses the worlds of brand creation, interiors and design. As founder of studioilse, she creates identity through interiors; setting strategic direction and pinpointing the design dna. as well as using design as a means for change and revitalisation. She is also head of the department of man and well-being at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Prior to this, ilse was launch editor of BARE well-being magazine, which connected design, health, clothes, travel and founded Elle Decoration UK.
Richard Hutten, Designer Richard Hutten graduated at the Academy Industrial Design Eindhoven in 1991. That same year he started his own designstudio, working on a variety of projects such as: furniture-, product-, interior- and exhibition design. He is one of the most internationally successful Dutch designers; a key exponent of ”Droog Design”, in which he has been involved since it’s inception in 1993. His work is part of the permanent collections of, among others, Centraal Museum Utrecht, Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art Amsterdam, Vitra Museum Weil am Rhein, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Max Fraser, Director at Spotlight Press Max Fraser is a design author, journalist, and curator based in London. He has recently written and self-published LONDON DESIGN GUIDE - a guide to the best design offerings in London. Considered a true celebrator of design, Max also advises and nurtures new talented designers within the industry and has showcased their work at exhibitions in London, Milan, and New York. His ongoing quest is to make the design scene more accessible to all through a variety of media avenues in the UK and abroad.
Colin Drummond, Director of Cultural & Business Insights at Crispin Porter + Bogusky Colin heads up what is traditionally known as account planning at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The Cultural & Business Insights department is a 30 person multi-disciplinary team of social scientists, account planners, and investigative journalists. They are nicknamed ”Cogs”, which is short for ”Cognitive Anthropologists”. It is their goal to develop culture and business changing insights and strategies for their client’s brands. Colin joined CP+B in 2004 with 17 years of experience building brands.
Ineke Hans, Industrial designer Since graduating from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Arnhem (NL) in 1991 and the Royal College of Art in London in 1995, Ineke Hans’ work has evolved in many ways, acquiring the identity most clearly of a designer, with the impulses of a sculptor, and the industrial experience needed to define products with a commercial life. Her work investigates the psychological roots of products, perceiving and playing with the interaction between people and objects. It centres around the pictogram and archetype.
Katarina Graffman and Kristina Börjesson, Anthropologist respectively Researcher sustainable design Katarina Graffman is an experienced consumer anthropologist with aPhD in anthropology. She is the CEO and founder of Inculture. Katarina is specialized in consumer-close businessand brand development. Kristina has for most of her professional life as a projects manager and managing director worked for an altered attitude to markering. Kristina lives since 1996 in London and has written a Master thesis on designers as the link between culture and meaning as also a PhD thesis on the affective sustainability of objects.
Magnus Lindqvist, Futurologist at Pattern Recognition Magnus Lindkvist runs the trendspotting agency Pattern Recognition in Stockholm and is the author of the book ”Everything We Know Is Wrong - The Trendspotter’s Handbook”. His aim as a trendspotter is to fuse the quantifiable with the imaginative to create a stew that will stir emotions as well as
oost TALK Ary Perez, Engineer and artist provoke thoughts. Magnus Lindkvist is an active member of TED, a congregation and yearly seminar in California featuring some of the world’s foremost innovators, scientists, thinkers and artists among its members.
Behrang Miri, Rapper, Actor and Teacher At the age of 24, Behrang is already an established rapper, actor, lecturer and host as well as a teacher and coordinator of the youth movement in Malmö RGRA – The Voice and Face of the Street. Behrang Miri cares deeply about social change. This can clearly be seen in his music. The musical breadth of his latest album in combination with the important message of the songs makes it easy to appreciate for all consumers of culture, including young people and both urban and suburban people.
Jonas Pinzke and Harry MacNeil, Innovators for the greater good at The Good Guys Jonas Pinzke and Harry MacNeil are founders of The Good Guys, an innovation agency focusing on solving the the global challenges through creativity. Prior to the The Good Guys, Jonas was partner and CD at KNOCK, working with clients such as Absolut vodka, Volvo and Puma. Prior to the The Good Guys, Harry has worked as a management consultant in the US, China and Uganda and at the Swedish Emergency Management Agency . Harry is founder of the NGOs Social Entrepreneurship Forum and Prometheus.
Brent Richards and Phillip Allsopp, Founders of Transpolis Global
Prolific engineer, artist and scenographer, Ary Perez has been increasingly involved in cultural activities since 1985. Undergraduate by the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he has worked as a teacher, and graduate by the Architectural Association (AA) in London, Ary Perez currently develops researches on the subject of design. He also participates in group studies with Brazilian artists and he is a regular collaborator in projects with international artists and designer such as Vito Acconci, Rem Koolhas, Ingo Maurer, and Krizystof Wodiczko.
Fernando Gabeira, Politician Gabeira was also one of the founding members of the Green Party of Brazil, but left the group in 2002 to join the Workers’ Party. Fernando Gabeira ran for the mayoral office in Rio de Janeiro, and was defeated by Eduardo Paes in the run off round on October 26, 2008. During his exile, in the 70s, Gabeira lived in many countries as Chile, Sweden and Italy. In Stockholm, the city that he spent most of his exile in, he studied Anthropology - at University of Stockholm[Plataforma Diplomatica] - and worked as a journalist as well as metro conductor
Roy Antink, Development Manager Roy Antink is development manager for Green Construction at Skanska. He is one of Skanska’s contributors to the four-year global researchstudy Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EEB), facilitatedby the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, (WBCSD).
Mathias Eriksson, Copywriter and co-founder of Brikolör
Brent is currently CEO of The Design Embassy Europe, an international transdisciplinary creative consultancy working in the diverse fields of advance Architecture and sensorial environments , Sensory design, Food design and Luxury artefacts. Phillip Allsopp is former President and CEO of Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Brent and Pihillip are also co-founders of Transpolis an Urban Design a global applied research entity, devoted to improving the policy, business practices, and design input to proactively create and support sustainable urban conditions.
Mathias Eriksson is a trained journalist that’s running an advertising agency in his hometown Göteborg, Sweden. Originating from Småland, where the number of trees 10 000 times outnumbers the people, the furniture industry has always been close. However, business development, politics, communication and philosophy has been the major fields of interest throughout his adult life. Mathias is one of the four founding members of BRIKOLÖR, a furniture producing company that launched their first prototypes in Milan 2009.
Eero Koivisto, Architect and designer
Filipe Balestra has a Masters in Architecture from the Royal Institute of Technology of Stockholm and a Bachelor in Architecture from the Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland. The Incremental Housing Strategy, a project by Filipe is a strategy to develop informal slums into permanent urban districts through a process of gradual improvement to existing dwellings instead of demolition and rebuilding. The Incremental Housing Strategy in India was chosen by Azure magazine as one of the 10 most important architecture and design projects of 2009.
Eero Koivisto is a partner of the Swedish architectural firm Claesson Koivisto Rune, together with Mårten Claesson and Ola Rune, founded in Stockholm 1995. Apart from their Architectural work they also have a sucessful career as designers, with commisions from some of the most prestigous manufacturers today. Up til now, six monographs covering varied aspects of their work have been published in Europe, Japan, and the US.
Filipe Balestra, Architect
16Th oCToBer – 15 noVeMBer DESiGn fOR lifE The BoostShow (formerly known as exhibition) will this year concentrate on Design for life. How can we make design economically, ecologically and socially justifiable? And even more important, how can we make lives better for the many? There is a need for a new holistic viewpoint. We all have a joint responsibility to make a difference. As private individuals, companies and organizations as well as cities, regions and countries. The BoostShow is this year, as earlier years, based on our tool and check list The Sustainable Wheel. Through “best practice” examples you will be able to experience how different designers, companies, cities and regions are adapting to the challenges of creating better lives for the many. You will find examples from Electrolux, Audi, Skanska, E.On, Thule, Iittala, City of Malmö, Region Skåne, Malmö Art Museum and many more. In another part of the BoostShow you will find good examples of Design for life related products from companies like Helly Hansen, Peepoople, The Stockholm City Mission, life Straw, Mater, Wästberg, Marimekko, Brio, Street Swag, David Design, Zero, Hay, Hans Grohe, Kvadrat and designers like Claesson Koivisto Rune, Monica Förster, Andrea Ruggiero, Ilse Crawford, Arik levy, Apocalypse and Filipe Balestra. We will also present a selection of our inhouse produced filmed interviews with acknowledge personalities like Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Ross lovegrove, Patricia Urquiola, Konstantin Grcic, Richard Hutten, Katrin Olina, James Irvine, Jennifer leonard, Tom Dixon, Ineke Hans, Michael Young, Alfredo Häberli, Inga Sempe, Ilka Suppanen and many more. Printed on large banners you will be able to read the one hundred question formulations written by our Boosters as a challenge to Design for life. You will also find the question formulations printed here and there in this magazine. During the weekends MiniBoost or short lectures will be held in the BoostShow. Opening hours: Thursday–Friday 11am–6pm Saturday–Sunday 12am–4pm Free entrance.. Free entrance.
– Design are in many ways a privilege explored and developed by wealthy and (relatively!) peaceful nations, often imposed on lesser developed countries and regions. How can design be used to actively convey peaceful behaviour and relations between nations? Sebastian Holmbäck - Designer
– Mental design defines! What does your construction look like? Mia Svensson - Entrepreneur
– Can we humans creep over our desire for the next new product, or are we spellbound by ever-growing choice and even more rapid product cycles? Matthias Weber - Trend Consultant
– We all want to fulfill our life’s with more and more life enriching products/services - a kind of Design for life. How would you design your, and my, future life concerning sustainability and economic growth? Claes Foxerus - Design Management Planner
– How can we increase innovations aimed as improving the life of the 2.7 billion poor people? Harry McNeil - Managing Director
– How could design be a material for thinking, reflecting and acting? Could we then say that the function of the object itself should be re-defined? Anna Holmquist - Designer
-Are there a greater need for design in certain regions of the world? Mats Karlsson - Architect
– How can social innovation and crowdsourcing be used for sustainable change? Kristin Heinonen - Web strategist
DESIGN AGAINST M is D The urge for more, for the new, for the right thing for SOMETHING, is created by dissatisfaction with what we already have. We are surrounded by objects and spaces, which are meant to contribute to a good life and possibly, even to increased happiness. Instead we seem often to achieve the opposite. Dissatisfaction with what we have and what we do is driving the economy through innovation and consumerism, but it is also ruining lives: we are all worth something better than what we have and to whatever cost. Designing for lifestyles rather than for human ways of being creates short-lived satisfaction. If we want something else, design has to be built on recognition, improvement, experience and meaning. There are already several examples in real life to support this thesis.
DESIGN FOR LIFE? The theme for Designboost 2009 is not unambiguous. What is life? We are trying to be more reasonable and than philosophical when we pose this question: Life could be about survival, but also about the less dramatic, health. ‘For life’ also implies sustainability and longevity, Not to mention happiness and wellbeing! None of these criteria are of course mutually excluding. Human life is not about living in a bubble but in a constantly changing context. We are affected and affect in an endless sequence. When we write ‘Design against more is design for life’, we therefore include all these criteria, possibly with the exception of survival. As we in this article refer to the situation in the developed part of the world, survival is [still] taken for granted.
OUR THESIS. We will claim that objects, spaces and environments, which contribute to mental and bodily wellbeing, are a pre-condition for health, which in turn is a crucial factor for happiness. To feel happy for something motivates us to retain and sustain, to allow this thing a long life. It is a well-known fact that people can live with serious bodily illnesses and handicaps and still be happy. Mental health appears to be able to overrule the state of the body or bodily shortcomings. If we describe health as ‘free of symptoms of illness’, we should maybe focus on wellbeing instead. But, this expression with its multitude of definitions is quite ambiguous and therefore hardly makes sense when you want to be precise. It is like ‘timeless’: we use it randomly without knowing what it really means! We thus propose that ‘design for life’ is to design for mental and bodily harmony in conjunction and that one of the most
potent enemies to this state is dissatisfaction. We further suggest that harmony on this micro level is a pre-condition to successful actions on macro level. Individual harmony adds positively to the community.
SATISFACTION. Spending time with Peter in an ethnographic study makes you curious about what is the driving force behind the desire for the new. Peter has just bought the latest Nokia phone: “The iPhone was useless. It didn’t even have a radio”. But he is not satisfied with his new phone either. With his eyes focused on it, he states: “Maybe I will have it half a year, then it’s time for a new one… you know the technology develops so quickly and this phone will soon feel old and dated…” (Peter 30 years old, Stockholm) Most people want to be part of or have the ‘latest’ in many respects. But the new is often an illusion, a cultural phenomenon. What is really new? The new is constantly in transition, changing. How can we slow down the strong “need” for always having the “latest? Long-term satisfaction is hardly achieved through succumbing to ever changing lifestyles even if this is what we see when we look around. Design for lifestyles drives consumerism but in a quite naive and short-sighted way. It is almost like when we defend spending too much time on leisure: I will get down to more serious things tomorrow. If we stop consuming, the word falls into crisis, like now. The issue is thus not about bringing consuming to a halt but about re-directing resources like design, material, production, distribution and more to matters worth consuming: something that is better and brings satisfaction through improvement. It is obvious that ‘the world’ cannot afford yet another but needs solutions to manage an increasingly demanding context. To be satisfied long-term, we want to consume improvements, not merely innovations.
RECOGNITION. Kornelia sits hours in front of her computer. She is upgrading her status on Facebook, putting new photos on her image diary (Bilddagboken) and writing on her blog: her daily session with her personal “diary”. When I ask why she is not using a more “private” book for her diary, she looks at me in astonishment and says: “What do you mean? This is private, I mean, some of my friends will of course read it but that’s only for the better. I then don’t have to tell them how my day was when we meet… they will know already”. (Kornelia 13 years old, Åmål)
T MORE s DESIGN FOR LIFE. The young use new technology to do the same things as older people did before them. There’s no big difference, except for the tools they use.
ments had they been designed and developed with humans in mind and as part of a system and not seen in isolation. The much coveted innovations resulted instead in dissatisfaction.
It is normally easier to use a trodden path than to find a new one. This goes, according to neuroscience, for our brain as well. We prefer to use existing paths in our brain and thus recognise or at least establish links to objects we know as well as spaces and environments we are acquainted with. We are already overloaded with information and to break new paths in our brains to manage everyday issues take time and effort we need better to understand and rethink complex matters. If we more generally cannot manage by using existing brain paths, we risk reacting in defence: This feels complicated. I will just have to decide and hope for the best. The result is often confusion and dissatisfaction but also hampered creativity. Recognition is the first step in the process of understanding, which in turn is necessary for acceptance. Once we have accepted an object or an environment, there is a prospect for satisfaction and subsequent caring. What we do not care for is never sustained.
IMPROVEMENT. Maria and Tom have moved into a new house. It’s perfect. It satisfies all their dreams of good living. But after some months in the house, Maria and Tom feel a growing discomfort. One day Maria says: I know what is wrong: it is this lighting. It’s like living in a surgery… cold and hygienic. (Maria 32 years old and Tom 38 years old, Stockholm) Saved energy might turn into wasted resources if a brand new lighting is exchanged due to the cold ambiance it creates. Apart from the lighting, the salesman might tell you about all these other innovations, which will allow exactly the house he is proposing to improve and facilitate your life: you are thrilled, WOW! Very soon after having moved in, reality dawns on you. – The high security lock does not easily allow your children to open the door and you are repeatedly called from work to let them in. – The fantastic, big showerhead transforms the bathroom into a pool. – The intelligent fridge does not think like you. – The environmentally friendly heating system is difficult to adjust to the ambience you prefer. What happened to the improvements? All the examples given above could easily have moved from innovations to improve-
Martha is 82 years old. Every day she goes to her favourite café in New York. ”The owners of this place are young but I could never do a better coffee at home” she says sipping her cappuccino. She sits quietly at the table, enjoying her coffee. Suddenly she says:”By the way, the other day the girl serving at my table asked me how to get rid of the big coffee stain on her shirt”. Martha smiles and continues:”Youngsters are so experienced in many ways but then they don’t know what to do with a simple stain. The girl was prepared to throw the shirt away!” (Martha 82 years old, New York) In small as in big, in actions and advices, the elderly appear have a lot to tell the younger generations in private as in professional matters. When did we in the developed part of the world, with a few exceptions, start to de-value experience? Has this situation emanated from the fact that those in procession of this resource kept it to themselves and used it in a power-struggle: the old and experienced against the young and un-experienced? If this is correct, no wonder the young decided against experience: we will go for the new and show them that we can manage on our own. This is pure speculation and has to be seen in the light of modernisation and the modernist movements. Science and reason started slowly to replace dark mystification in the 18th century. The modernists asked us to forget traditions and start from fresh in the 1930th. New has become a cultural phenomenon and a guide for contemporary lifestyles. The modernists argued about traditions as if these were remnants from the ‘dark ages’ and an obstacle to reason when they in fact are experiences which are handed over as they have proven to still be relevant. Notwithstanding these attacks, we appear to slowly recuperate experience as a resource. However, the fascination with new remains. New is only sometimes better and never because it is new but as it offers an improvement. When it does not, we are more dissatisfied then before: we have wasted time, money and, which is worse, got rid of the old, which in the end possibly proved to be a better option. The new is primarily justified when it has moved away from the old as a result of added experience and helps humans adjust to needs which emerge as answers to a changing context.
MEANING. Samuel is asked to bring some eggs to his mother who is about to do pancakes. Samuel goes to the fridge and takes one egg from the package. He looks carefully at it and then turns the egg in his hand. He eventually looks up with a big smile on his face:”This egg is made by ICA”. (ICA is one of the three biggest food distributors and retailers in Sweden). (Samuel 6 years old, Visby) Humans are always trying to make sense of every object and action. For a child who does not have any relation to the countryside, farmers or hens, the egg is a mystery, a magical ingredient in the pancakes. But once the child has seen or is shown the egg in its original context, it gets a meaning beyond the pancake. The form becomes immediately obvious and will forever remind of the origin of life. And pancakes! ‘The meaning seeking human’ is a title of a book in cognitive science and not in philosophy. The introduction to the book states, “Humans are meaning seeking animals. We have a colossal drive to try and understand how the world works.” Whatever we are put in front of or what is put in front of us, we try to make sense of: what is this? Our drive appears to be strong enough to make us also sub-consciously seek meaning in every obscurity: the trees in the dark wood form an animal. The stone looks like the face of a man. Our efforts to understand help us not merely to make sense but also to become aware of dangers and to find our way around: “There should be a lake somewhere if we are walking in the right direction. I cannot see it. But yes, there in the distant is something, a reflection, a light in the dark – it must be water. It cannot be anything else.” Why should a designer or an architect make life difficult for the humans they are there to serve? Why not instead learn about the meaning seeking human and accept the obvious: all humans have a drive to make sense of what they see and experience. The shorter and easier this process, the friendlier for the human and the better the chances of acceptance and long time attachment to the object or the place. To oversimplify has proven useless as a shortcut to understanding and longevity. The very simple is elitist, as it hampers understanding for all but the experienced. When it finally makes sense it leaves very little to explore. To seek meaning is a process, which should feed inspiration to continue and find out more.
OUR CHALLENGE. New lifestyles are created as a way for us humans to distinguish ourselves from the other. It goes without saying that when the other follows, new lifestyles therefore emerge. As a designer you can choose to enter this ‘dance’ or make a difference: promote improved rather than new lifestyles, to design for life rather than for more. An ever changing human context forces us to adjust our ways of being to be able to profit and develop as individuals as well as part of a community. ‘Design for life’ is to support this adjustment by considering satisfaction, recognition, improvement, experience and meaning when working.
Kristina Börjesson Researcher sustainable design Katarina Graffman Anthropologist 1. Peter Gärdenfors. 2006. Den meningssökande människan. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur
– How do we get from talking the sustainable talk to walking the sustainable walk? Staffan Weigl - Designer
– Why should a better life cost more? Krzysztof Bielski - Design center director
– Isn’t there more than one answer to Design for Life? Mads Damkjær - Creative Director
– Response to changes – how should Design for Life manage changes in our life – changing spatial needs, responding to changes of climate, comfort – in another words – permanent versus responsive, fixed versus kinetic? Robert Voticky - Professor
– How will designers develop and implement new design vocabularies to improve urban as well as suburban habitats that support and encourage vibrant and evolving cultures and communities? Philip Allsopp - Principal
– Why are design solutions so often about adding stuff when what is mostly needed is to eliminate and to clean up? Mikael Fuhr - Director of Design/DSB
– Will we in 5-10 years even bother to speak about sustainability or is it just built into our way of life? Henrik Marstrand - CEO
– Design for who’s life?
Christel Vaenerberg - Creative director
– How can a museum improve quality of life and be a useful tool to mirror the past, present and future? Lena Rahoult - Director of Arkitekturmuseet
– How can we overcome the notion that design should represent the eye by which culture sees it self, and instead be an active agent for change? Katja Gry Carlsen- Potentialiser - Pr & Communication
Design for life is enVironMenTAl frienDly The iMporTAnCe of AffeCTing The enVironMenT As liTTle As possiBle.
Quiet Design Design has to be quiet, he said. It has to stop shouting. We are living in a designed world.... products, buildings, transport, cities, landscapes, services, experiences, brands pretty much everything is designed. We as consumers are shouting for novelty: more products, services and experiences are needed every day. To satisfy this demand, our designs are shouting for more resources and energy that we do not have available. We are living on the credit of future generations. We are causing massive pollution. The climate is changing. The impact will be negative – maybe disastrous. Can we stop shouting for constant novelty? Can design stop shouting for more energy and resources? Can design be quiet?
More than a legal requirement The new EU legislation from December 2008 demands 20% less greenhouse gases, 20% more renewable energy and 20% more energy efficiency by 2020 based on 1991 emissions and standards. This is the minimum standard – ideally reductions of 50% - 80% in emissions and increases in renewable energy and energy efficiency of 50 – 80% should be achieved.
The consumer society we designed Over the last century design has played a major role in defining our western consumer societies. Design must play a major role in defining a global sustainable society. To be able to do this design will have to fulfil its traditional role. It will have to be innovative, useful and enable the users to understand the product, service or experience. Designs will have to be characterised by their honesty, simplicity, longevity and their aesthetic. They will have to be thought through and well detailed. We need quiet, considered design, which consumer will love and continue to love.
Less input, more quality, longer lifecycles As designers we understand how to create products, services and spaces which are attractive to consumers and help our customers to gain market share and brand recognition. To be able to create sustainable solutions we will have maintain
these goals whilst at the same time dramatically reducing the input of energy and resources into our designs, enhance the use of renewable resources and energy and develop solutions with longer lifecycles. We will have to use far less. This has the advantage that it should cost less to produce, generate savings for future investments and preserve resources for future generations. We are already in the process of rethinking our attitudes to ownership as bike, car and other sharing schemes become more and more popular. Services are emerging which only a few years ago would have been unthinkable. Consumers pick up these offers not because they have to or they feel guilty, but because they are attractive, convenient and provide quality of life.
Co-create across disciplines Design is a social art and designers will have to continue to work within their social context, starting with the needs of individuals. However, the high degree of specialisation required to manage our complex world has put us all into our silos of knowledge and skills. To be able to tackle the problems we will have start to look across functions again and to take complete systems into account. We will also have to include new disciplines into the design process such as know-how in energy and resource management, lifecycles, natural cycles, bio-diversity and communities. Technology was a key factor in creating the problems of climate change and technology will have to play a key role in solving the problems of climate change. Designers and people in the technology fields will have to form new alliances.
Design for life Designs will only be successful if the consumers love and buy them. We will have to pick up the consumer where she or he is. The product for life therefore is not the ‘greener’ or ‘eco’ product, but the better product which the consumer will love and buy. So let us create the better products with less and renewable resources which will help everyone to embrace a sustainable lifestyle and enjoy life. For examples for quiet designs please visit www.thequietriot.com
By Martin Hoenle
Design for life is AesTheTiC The iMporTAnCe of To Age wiTh grACe.
I am grateful for Designboost because, in expedient and playful ways, it helps unfold the design debate that surrounds the shared challenges of our time. I’m especially thankful to have this opportunity to offer up a ‘quick and dirty’ on aesthetics as, somewhere along the way, to my dismay, it seems to have lots its design cred. Five years ago, in writing the Massive Change book, the guiding principle was “it’s not about the world of design; it’s about the design of the world.” The assumption was that design as a notion, and a practice, was at risk of being constrained by an aesthetic framing alone; that its understanding solely as a materially-driven discipline, giving shape to furniture and buildings, fashion and typefaces, was a mere slice of its capacity to impact the world. So we set up a conceptual exercise that took aesthetics off the table. This experiment gave us permission to temporarily step outside the conventional matrix of design so that we could see the discipline with new eyes. And the view was hopeful: I saw for the first time an interconnected future where ‘design solutions’ came about by nimble teams of creative thinkers from a whole host of backgrounds – from politics to astrophysics, from materials science to microbiology, from economic reform to epidemiology. But my intent was never to abandon aesthetics permanently, or to concretize an either/or situation, where ‘the world of design’ = bad and ‘the design of the world’ = good. We should know by now that binary distinctions are useful in serving us in the short-term exclusively, and then – poof! – a day arrives, like today, when it’s more interesting for the long haul to transcend boundaries and embrace both/and. Moreover, my feeling is that aesthetics, as a branch of philosophy, becomes problematic only when the definition is bound up in Western materialism, which no longer serves us a global community. This limited worldview “takes away our dignity, our livelihood, and our soul,” says MIT sociologist Otto
Scharmer. “It has resulted in the loss of norms and values and the breakdown of social structures.” So perhaps it’s not aesthetics that need to be swapped out for ‘usefulness’ in design but the patterns in thinking that derive from Western materialism. I, myself, choose to see the aesthetic experience for what its worth. For the value it brings. For its harmonizing principle. In this sense, I call upon the likes of Coco Chanel and Anton Chekhov, Allan Kaprow and Bucky Fuller. And all the shapeshifters past and present whose stories, art, music, food, films and forms have touched us. Chanel knew fashion was more than dresses alone; she said, “Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live what is happening.” Checkhov likewise saw beauty everywhere, across all stripes of life, except, he said, when “we forget the higher purposes of life, and our own human dignity.” Avant-garde performance artist Kaprow suggested we blur art and life in order to tease out the aesthetics of the everyday. And Fuller famously proclaimed, “When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” So as we lean towards a shared understanding of design as something useful, and purposeful, and impactful, we ought not to ditch aesthetics. Aesthetics give us alchemy, magic and transformative power. Aesthetics move us to tears and fill our hearts with tenderness; aesthetics make us laugh, and make us move. When we’re lucky enough to encounter an aesthetic experience – be it an old master canvas or brilliant sunset or, dare I say, affordable filtration system that provides drinking water to the word’s poor – it enables us, in the words of Paul Klee, to “stop and listen for a response [to the world] in ourselves.”
By Jennifer Leonard
Design for life is AuThenTiC The iMporTAnCe of Telling CreDiBle sTories.
A SEnSE Of SPECiAlnESS
While pulling out the fine china for a dinner party years ago the memory of my mother’s voice entered the room. “You can’t serve guests on china if you yourself eat off chipped plates every day. Either you eat off beautiful plates, as do your guests; but if you’re regularly eating off barely presentable plates, your guests must also.”
“daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.”
This remark haunts me. You can’t be one person in private and another in public. But many of us are. Our lives are spent building up an identity, whether in the real world or on Facebook. We’re building an impression of ourselves that is not the truth of how we live the nitty gritty grind of our ordinary, daily lives.
“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials,” said Lin Yutang. And this wisdom of life also involves looking inwards. Many of us -both as individuals or companies - don’t want to do this, as we won’t like what we see.
Rather than the oft-used word authenticity, we need to replace it with truth. Put simply, we can’t act to be that which we are not. We can’t go against the truth of ourselves. It’s a mask. And we soon forget what’s an act and what’s real. The essence of who we are is lost in keeping up appearances. And this is where a societal shift is occurring. Previously the extraordinary was the trend, but today it’s the ordinary. In the past, everything was pitched to consumers as an aspirational dream, something so far from the daily truth of their lives . . . something to desire . . . something outside of themselves . . . something that was so obviously not the truth of their daily lives. But it’s exactly in this ordinariness that the good, bad and ugly aspects of life occur. The stuff that reminds us we’re really living. Finally - and it’s in part due to the economic crisis - we’re moving from the romanticised view of that which is so far from our grasp, to bringing a sense of specialness to all the boringness we do everyday. Finally, finally, finally we’re seeing the preciousness in the ordinary. As Robert Louis Stevenson said,
As individuals we can only tell credible stories when we know who we are, and the same goes for corporations. Individually and collectively we need to be aware of our essence - but more importantly - live it.
Luxury brands especially don’t like looking in the ‘truth’ mirror at the moment. They kept adding more and more non-essential product ranges (key rings, hair clips etc.) to their stable to increase their bottom line, just as people overfill their diaries with busyness to not acknowledge their loneliness. We’re cheating ourselves when we don’t look at the truth behind our actions. When we’re so busy expanding or escaping, we’re more concerned with what we don’t have, then what we do have. Something deeper in us can never be born if we keep looking outside of ourselves. Something more meaningful can only come from a company if it plums the depths of itself, rather than trying to copy what its competitors are doing. And an individual can only reach their full potential once they accept themselves as they are. We (and I say ‘we’ meaning both companies and individuals) need to get in touch with our own stillness and essence to find that voice that is uniquely ours. That which is meant to be born in the world. The essential truth.
By Kristina Dryza
Design for life is innoVATiVe The iMporTAnCe of DeVeloping unique ATTriBuTes on seVerAl leVels.
HOw THE SOCiAl wEB DRivES innOvATiOn in BUSinESS AnD SOCiETY Imagine that you have a t-shirt company with innovative, cool and colorful t-shirts. The designs you feature are so popular that every single collection often sell out within hours. Imagine also that you don’t have a single designer on staff. Sounds like a contradiction? Yet this is the case of popular US company Threadless. The idea is simple. Anyone can submit a design suggestion at their website. The designs are then put to a public vote. The most popular submissions are selected for printing and sold at the online web shop. Turning to creative assets outside of the company, Threadless is only one of many examples of how social innovation is transforming how companies and organizations are exploring new ways of creativity. The driving factor behind this change is the revolution of the social web. Back in the late nineties, the internet was mainly a one-way street. We scrolled up and down at the major news sites. We could react, but we could not share our reactions online. Today the situation is completely different. Through social networks and phenomena like blogs we are learning to connect and share ideas like never before. We have long spoken of the information highway, but what is built on top of that highway is profoundly more interesting. It is a social infrastructure, a human highway of minds which transports ideas, knowledge and innovation at a fraction of the time and cost compared to before. Companies and organizations slowly have to face the question whether their greatest creative asset is inside or outside of the company walls. Threadless is an early example. Now, major players like Starbucks and Lego listen in to their fans best ideas.
Done right, crowdsourcing innovation helps you to find ideas that are sprung from real needs and real users, which hopefully make your products more sustainable, cared for and coveted. If a customer cares enough about a product to share ideas on how to make it better, why not listen? Before that was a mighty task, today you are just a few clicks away from connecting. And of course it is not only about business. The social revolution on the web helps to drive societal change in completely new ways: – In Poland, environmental activists have used Google Earth to map out dumping sites and used social networks to gather groups of volunteers to help to clean them up. – In India, cyber class rooms are an opportunity for children in slum areas to access knowledge and information previously only available in schools, libraries and expensive learning institutions. – In Iran, protesters used Twitter to effectively organize marches and spread information in a state of upheaval and chaos. The protest also spread to the west, giving people unique insights and an information flow from a country otherwise marked by heavy censorship. People are creative by nature. People, in most cases, want to make a difference. The technological change we see today tears down barriers between countries, companies and consumers, between states and citizens. Change driven by social innovation has only just begun.
By Kristin Heinonen
Design for life is AffeCTiVe The iMporTAnCe of Being pArT of The user.
Feelbad means ThinkGood
Fact: Physical exercise isn’t good for you. It raises your body temperature, makes you short of breath, challenges muscles, joints and cells. This, in turn, activates the immune system, which is why we consider workouts, jogs and sport good for us. Lying on a couch, eating potato chips and watching Mad Men reruns is arguably more convenient and, for many, far more enjoyable than sweating at the local gym but since it doesn’t trigger the body to strengthen itself the way exercise does, it can do more harm than good. So what feels good can actually be bad for us and vice versa. The same can be said about information. The Web has made every kind of information – from paparazzi pictures to Nobel-winning papers about Pi – available within milliseconds. Finding likeminded people has never been easier and if you happen to live in or near a city – more than 50% of us are as of 2007 - chances are that the group of likeminded is large regardless of your interest and passion (My friend just hosted a breakfast with fans of the website Cats That Look Like Hitler). If we would reduce the Web’s many benefits down to one thing it would be this: Reducing friction. We’ve always been able to find likeminded people or look up World War 2 facts in the middle of the night but the required effort has been drastically reduced. The Dead Kennedy’s once sang “Give me convenience or give me death!” It’s hard to imagine how much more convenient modern, electronic, urban living can get. With the exception of the odd sweat-a-thon at the gym and a severe hangover after a pub crawl, our lives are blissful manifestations of ultra-convenience. (Yes, we do have the “bottom billion” and the less-than-a-dollar-a-day-group but since nobody reading this belongs in that category, let’s not bother about that for the time being). The chores of previous generations –waiting, washing up, cooking and so on – have been eliminated. The excitement
of waiting for the record store to open so you can savor the scent of newly-manufactured vinyl has been replaced by frustrated moans as the iTunes download takes a minute longer than usual. This is a problem. Convenience feels good but it doesn’t challenge us. Reducing friction in our lives slowly, but surely, degenerates the brain and body into a streamlined, predictable dead mass. To quote a T-shirt I was owned: “The amazing story of the people who stopped living and became messedup zombies”. The affectivity of everyday objects today is, in many ways, laughable. They’re made to make us feel something that falls well within the boundaries of convenience, be it warm, safe, appreciated, fun, sexy or confident. Very few things are designed to be dangerous, complicated and challenging. Buildings are made to be efficient. Cars are made to be comfortable. Products are made to be easy to understand and operate. Sure, there’s the odd art project but in a world where the likeminded resides one click away, staying away from art has become as easy as avoiding rough neighborhoods or child pornography. The new mission for anyone whose job description includes the word “design” should be to strive for the inconvenient. Invite danger, provocation and unpredictability back into our lives. Make the buildings challenge us. Transform everyday objects into catalysts for mental workouts. Make the products demand something of their user. Ensure that everything we meet on a daily basis provoke us into seeing the world anew. Only then will people awake from the trance of convenient living and new steps be taken towards a better and bolder society.
By Magnus Lindqvist
Design for life is MulTi quAliTy The iMporTAnCe of owning MulTi-quAliTy CApACiTies.
Quality relatively speaking ...
When I last wrote about Quality, I was arguing that we have to recognise that it is a multi capacity. I quote myself: “Do we recognise that quality is a multi capacity? Have we tried to specify our products capacity beyond the most obvious; material quality and physical functionality? Is quality relative to intended use? Have we recognised quality as lasting meaning and appeal and considered if our product makes sense and is meaningful? Or if it appears merely strange: new and cool?” What is there to add to this discussion? Listening to an interview on the radio this summer, I realised that it is a number of arbiters who define quality. They are among others designers, journalists, trend analysts and product strategists. Continued listening made it obvious that what these arbiters define as good quality is to certain extent not attainable for a large group of people: they have had to realise that they cannot afford it! According to reports from aid organisations working in developing countries, there is emerging consciousness about quality being a relative notion: the improvements offered to groups in these countries must be attainable, manageable as well aesthetically and culturally acceptable. It has become obvious that it is more far-seeing to allow for solutions where the improvement is small but still significant and can be offered to many than to insist on ‘high quality’ solutions, which will reach only a minority. These might theoretically imply major improvements, which often are not realised as the quality relatively speaking is inadequate.
Have we in our prospering (?) industrialised and transparent cultures realised that we have to reason in a similar manner? That we ought to be relativists if we want quality to be attainable for the many? This brings us back to ‘making sense’ and ‘meaningful’ as mentioned in the quote above. What you need, not merely desire, but cannot afford does neither give you meaning nor is it meaningful. This is low quality life and in opposition to the popular saying, not least among professionals in the world of design, ‘that we cannot afford inferior quality’. Several very wellknown international companies have made it their business idea to provide ‘good quality at affordable prices’. This is not the place to discuss if they generally have succeeded but rather to pose the question: shouldn’t attainability be a precondition for good quality? Does it have to be a business idea? Quality should, as argued in the quote above, be relative to intended use. I would like to add: and always designed with humans rather than users in mind. Quality is always about improving. How often to you need the highest quality? I would suggest: not very often. If you can afford it and enjoy this luxury, it is up to you. But if quality and detailing of objects as well as solutions in a wider sense are focused on intended use and specific improvements, more people could enjoy their sense of ‘good quality life’.
By Kristina Börjesson
Design for life is CoMpATiBle The iMporTAnCe of Being pArT of A Bigger CoherenCe.
A LIFE BALANCE
Perhaps now is an auspicious cultural moment to take time to fundamentally rethink Design. To acknowledge a future role for design and its contribution to our quality of life, and to reconcile our sincere need for a greater life balance. Contemporary design has become so diverse and expressionistic and yet delivering limited sustainability, blind its faith to progress constantly chasing the zeitgeist of the moment (in a plethora of design awards and celebrity endorsement), persistently romanticizing technology (in the likes of the iPhone) and yet being generally intolerant to ambiguity and contradiction, ostensibly slick in man-made material, yet ambiguous it’s substance, due to stylist whimsy. Time to rethink design, is as much about revising our view of time, as it is about reconfiguring the value or contribution that design can make to our lives. Design for Life. The timeless way of design of the past was based on a slow and profound response to context, environment, function, material and aesthetic value. A combination of an essential knowledge, deep understanding, and a sensitivity for the natural beauty of things that are modest and humble. Compatibility – Capable of or existing together in harmony consistently – a life balance. Coherence – Holding together as parts of the whole; a holistic viewpoint – community. To speak clearly make oneself understood – complexity. Act or working together act of cohering – cohesion. Design for Life is essential to support human intercourse, interaction, and functioning. Design should be a plan for life, maintaining the optimum conditions that is based on community, sense of balance, cohesion, that help to reconcile the complexities of daily existence.
To foster a new spirit of joint responsibility, and to generate a state of equilibrium for the common good – a manner of living that is generous, philanthropic, based on welfare and goodwill, that adds meaning value and identity. Design for life provides for the ‘active’ part of human existence, to participate in, to give back, and have a true measure of the ‘quality of life’. In this sense, it is time to rethink design in terms of seeking long-term value. The decade of indulgence 80’s, and the focus on the individual led to greed that is good for nothing, and the accumulation and ‘me’ness, has gave way to decade of a correction and adjustment in the ‘90’s and a urgent need for enlightenment and self fulfilment. A positive side of this searching has led to reorientation, diversity, and challenge. However, the negative side of this change has been characterised by self-seeking, self-gratification, and lone soul searching. In its extreme, this has led to a gradual disintegration, and in some cases, the breakdown of community, and a loss of working for any common good. Lifestyle factors have favoured the individual skills over the collective, independence has broken the bonds with experience and knowledge between youth and elders, and the lack of resilience in personal relationships has led to casual liaisons rather than the continuity sustained committed relationships. We can be forgiving of our last two decades and instead look forward to the age of togetherness, of rebuilding community, seeking relevance in compatibility, cohesion and balance. Being part of the collective lends coherence to a renewed sense of value and contribution of self worth. Together we have a joint responsibility, we can make a different journey, and collectively we can make for a new sensibility, to share in an affective and more holistic sustainable life, rich in personal, social and cultural cohesion that is Design for Life!
By Brent Richards
SERvinG THE fUTURE
At Designboost this year, the theme of food & future plays a central part. Food concerns us all. Svensk Form is glad to collaborate with Designboost, Electrolux and others in the visionary Serving the Future concept with the support of the Swedish EU presidency. We see this as a first step in a series of manifestations we plan to take around the world. For example to Brazil in 2011 in collaboration with local friends. To this end we have invited some special Brazilian guests to Designboost. Our countries share some major challenges, but also solutions of mutual interest.
This in itself is no news to Swedish Design, built on a long tradition of user focused, innovative, affordable and socially engaged design. A practical approach to life. Moma recently published a book “Modern Swedish Design: Three Founding Texts”, one of them from 1899. Today the base remains, but the challenges are new. In addition to the functional, aesthetic and economical concerns, ethical and ecological aspects are added. We actually experience that Swedish Design, with its long tradition and humanistic perspective, is more in demand than ever.
You are what you eat. Food is central in our everyday consumption and also in our relationship to the planet we live on. Food is cultivated, refined, processed, packed, transported, stored, prepared, consumed then leaves with the sewage and can be renewed as energy. Far too much is wasted, at the same time as many people do not have daily food or water. Food has a tremendous impact on our environment and involves all these challenges. It runs from the global level, through our countries, cities, restaurants, kitchen and right down to our own plate. Throughout history, the meal has also been a symbol of the good life, of bringing people together.
However, the deeply rooted perception of excellent Swedish design with simple stylistic consistency is no longer taken for granted. The hallmark today is vital diversity. The conceptual process underlying the final result is the decisive factor. Designers are not tied down to one country, but work around the world, sharing international references and contacts.
Through initiating the Designboost, David Carlson and Peer Eriksson have created a true international meeting place for sharing design knowledge. A long needed arena, alongside the many product centered show-off events. All in tune with today, and the need to solve problems that really matter. The role of the designer has changed dramatically over the years. As described for example in Tim Brown’s, CEO of IDEO, new book “Change by Design”, dealing with the design thinking of today, shifting from technology-centered to human-centered design.
Practical Swedish design is not exactly known for its sex appeal. We need to play some more. Add some spice, emotional and sensual values and open borders. That is why we started our platform Saving the Planet in Style. Not only with style, but in style. Sustainable solutions should be attractive, otherwise nobody wants them. Now, lets concentrate on something that brings us together: FOOD.
As a natural link between manufacturer and consumer, designer can influence the production process. Combining different specialists, with design as one method, can help find new ways of sustainable urban lifestyle.
Ewa Kumlin Managing Director at Svensk Form
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY
In the late nineteen sixties, Jesse Jackson declared that this is a beautiful day. I am a little jealous of the optimism of those days: the feeling that individuals who join together can make the world a better place. Today, such a conviction of human abilities and possibilities seems very hard to attain, or even impossible. Currently, we are facing a number of serious global challenges: According to a Canadian-American study recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, the climate warming in the Arctic may already cause the overall ice cover to melt by two thousand and forty. It has been estimated that the area covered by tropical forests is annually reduced by some fourteen to fifteen million hectares, which is almost half the area of Finland. According to the World Bank, the existing forests in developing countries will be destroyed in sixty years if no measures are taken. Oil is a commodity of vital importance to the economic and military security of nations. Shortages of this limited and unevenly distributed resource are likely to cause enormous and unprecedented problems, both nationally and internationally. This was a direct quote from a recent study called Oil and Security, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. But we do not need Jesse Jackson to tell us it is a beautiful day. For we know it is. Yet there is something we can learn from Jackson’s faith in people, both as individuals and as groups. It’s a beautiful day. By Ilkka Suppanen
How design thinking can reshape our lives. Design for life takes design thinking. Design thinking is part of the A/D/A (Architecture/Design/Anthropology) paradigm, which characterizes innovative, human-centred enterprises. This management paradigm focuses on a collaborative and iterative style of work and an abductive mode of thinking, compared to the more traditional practices associated with the traditional M/E/P (Mathematics/Economics/Psychology) management paradigm. As such, design thinking provides us with a valuable approach, when it comes to redesigning institutions and - through those - the world around us. Now, if you are a designer, how could you go about redesigning our lives or rather the institutions that frame our lives? I would like to give examples of a design approach to a handful of global challenges to better make explicit how design thinking can reshape our lives. Along those lines, a starting point could be the anthropological angle - a classic point of departure for a designer. And in this case, since it’s a global redesign, the meta-anthropological question would be ’what is of ultimate importance to humans?’. Cutting to the chase: To ensure the survival of the human race. Framed like this, a global scope might be insufficient since it is certain that at some point planet Earth will no longer be suitable for sustaining human life. What is unknown is when. Even though in the short run the risk of a cataclysmic event is very small - the stakes, i.e. the loss of humanity - are extremely high. Here a design approach might redefine the scope as having to include all potential human habitats. This puts into play the need for regulating space travel, regulating terraforming of planets vis-á-vis geoengineering, planet specific genetic engineering, conservation of pre-human natural areas, etc. A second point could be to look at the cultural foundation of human institutions in question. To be very brief and simplistic, when you trace back the origins of the ideas behind the regulations you will end up in some domain of normative ethics. Does ’good’ then need an overhaul too? If you look at today’s main ethical challenge you will probably find it to be out of tune with multilateralism and cultural relativity. This desynchronicity is in some ways comparable to the quality crisis in the 80’s of American manufacturing. The US had defined quality unilaterally as a fixed quality. Japanese manufacturers had defined quality as a process of continuous improvement rather than a fixed quality. This meant their products eventually became superior in quality. Analogously, being ethical represents a given we either abide to or don’t; we abide to the U.N. Global Compact, we don’t improve towards it. We might need to reframe ethics for a multilateral world as a continuous process. This means we need an incremental approach open to cultural diversity. By registering and comparing ethical
mishaps and policy changes this should allow us to gather statistical data and eventually sufficiently so to create a statistical process control for ethics. Here again, we are faced with an ambitious design job rather than a managerial undertaking. Further exploring a design approach, here is an example of how a statistical pattern can be the point of departure for a structural redesign of common categories that we use to structure and understand the world around us. In many cases, such categories are the result of historic or semi-random antagonisms and ideologies. They can be reductionist in themselves and seem to hinder trial and error-based methods of designing and developing socio-political institutions. Some years ago it seemed evident that mid-markets in many countries had shrunk massively; whereas once everything needed to be mid-market to sell. Commercial success became more likely at either end of the income-continuum. The question now is whether the bell curve as a statistical pattern has flipped as such across the board. Assuming just that could spur the following redesigns: Why do 3rd world countries try teaching their pupils what the 1st world countries are good at, i.e. average ”mid-market” knowledge, rather than their own (or adopted) avant-garde research plus basic low tech ”barefoot college” like knowledge? There might need to be a shift from thinking how e.g. WestAfricans can get access to already acquired 1st world knowledge, to how West-Africans get to be niche research leaders and get export worthy forefront knowledge. The same pattern could be used to explore whether countries are the right bearers of institutions. Countries can metaphorically be seen as shrunken mid-markets. Should more emphasis be put on the extremes of the inverted bell curve? Should the U.N. play a greater role in parallel to cities, for example? Inhabitants of globalized big cities have, through common urban topology and culture, more and more challenges in common. Might we need to think across borders, and to make cities collaborate directly via new institutions? To keep the grandeur of scale, can design help us rethink the economy as such? Everything in our evolution has dictated the more the better. How can we rethink economy as a sort of ecology? Can we transfer future discounted costs into a market economy, developing renewable economic models? Finally, if design for life proves we can redesign these things, can we design the sense of urgency needed to solve these massive, but seemingly remote problems?
By Jens Martin Skibsted
– Who is responsible for creating a sustainable future – the designer or the consumer? Mikael Håkansson - Concept Developer
– Is it the responsibility of the consumer or the industry to push the Co2/organic movement? Simon Nordtorp - Fashion Curator
– When we design socially justifiable products for people, should we think of them as selfish or altruistic? Colin Drummond - Director of cultural & business insights
– How does design need to change in order to successfully tackle complex societal problems? Brett Patching - Strategic designer
– How do we change public desires and what kind of desires do we need to have, in order to make the world more sustainable? Mathias Eriksson - Copywriter
– How can we as designers guide the consumer to make the right Eco-choice 100 times every day, without creating Eco-Overload? Adam Szczepanowski - Senior Industrial Designer
– What is the meaning of design? Why is it here? What’s design all about? and What is the meaning of it all? Jens Martin Skibsted - Creative director
– Isn’t is about time we shift the parameters in design, focussing on quality in stead of quantity, care in stead of speed, durability in stead of replacement, generosity in stead of selfishness, fun in stead of pessimism? Richard Hutten - Designer
– Is it better (however you define ”better”) to live your life as you choose, working within it to design for positive change; or to make designing for positive change your priority and living as that requires? Bob Jacobson - Societal Impresario
– What is design for life in a 2030 year context? Anne-Marie Buemann - Director
– Can sustainable design create a post growth society? Karin Stenmar - founder DEM collective
– Why not design more for quality of life , and less more, more? Brent Richards - Architect and polymath
– Does a profound understanding of the experience life allow us to better design for all aspects of it? Artur Moustafa - Concept designer
Design transcends time – I believe that Design will manifest itself as an integral part of our culture, as it becomes more and more a natural part of our everyday lives. – I think that contemporary Design from cultures other than our own, will enrich and transform the language of Design as we know it. – I hope that communication Design will bridge differences between cultures and help people to appreciate and feel empathy for others, who ever they are. – I suggest that the understanding of Design will be taught to children of the future, as music, art, and history is taught in schools today. .... Because I know that Design transcends time, and bear within itself our culture, history, and hopes for ourselves and our future. By Eero Koivisto
– How is and how will the role of the brands evolve in design for life, on all levels of development, individual, societal and global? Tanya Kim Grassley - Brand development strategist
– How can we design future mobility for life? Eva-Maria Elstner - PR manager
– How will we balance global wellbeing? Filipe Balestra - Architect
– The never stopping urge to think ’new’ will be even more disastrous for the earth than to hail the ’old’. Why can’t we simply decide to go for the ’better’. Katarina Graffman - Anthropologist
– Is CSR the new black?
Maxjenny Forslund - Super fashion designer
– How will the output of DesignBoost 09 help to Keep Mankind Alive? Allan Alfred Birkegaard Hansted - CEO
– When achieving ”Design for Life” with commercial clients, how can we deliver it with built-in responsibility? Johan Hjerpe - Concept director
– Can life be good without internal combustion engines? Olof Kolte - Designer
How can design give life and how can we give life to design? Design schools and universities in Scandinavia flourish with creative young talent. At the same time more and more local small-scale production plants for handicraft are closed, in the wake of outsourcing to third world countries. As logical as this seems in a financial perspective, it is devastating for design development. Why is Italy such a successful nation of interior and fashion design? Close proximity to fruitful production might be part of the answer. What would the Aalto vase be – without the few master glassblowers at the Iittala factory who are skilled and strong enough to blow them? Where would the Coco Chanel jacket be without the seamstress responsible for the trims? She invented her own weaving technique and a system of calculating the number of threads in each colour in order to match the garments perfectly.
not only referring to their flat packs. SAAB on the other hand is a fantastic brand renowned for its design aesthetics, but did the eminent engineers who developed the SAAB designs actually take enough interest in the manufacturing process? Their future is still not secured. Bentley who cater to another end of the market have their design studio next door to the factory in Crewe. For small-scale designers in fashion, accessories, leather goods or interior design close access to experienced handicraft is crucial. Here it is not so much a question of efficiency as of securing unique design. The richness of unique and distinct design expression in any market starts with the creative process of talented individuals – paired with the handicraft of experienced craftsmen.
Where would the design icons of our time be, without access to the unique competence needed to produce them? It is through the knowledge of craftsmen that unique design is brought to life and kept alive. And without these people, groundbreaking ideas and sketches would never leave the drawing board. This equation is valid for large-scale as well as small-scale production.
And handicraft demands an early start. In Sweden however, the academic system, which serves its purpose in many ways, does not allow for craftsmen to start early enough to ever reach the level of expertise needed to make a living from their trade. Another challenge in a country with a total population the size of London alone is the limited market. However online distribution of goods is international and growing by the minute, so even smaller niche products can find customers. See the prosperity of www.etsy.com as an example.
Large-scale companies need their design engineers to work closely with manufacturing to design products that can be produced efficiently. Unfortunately this aspect often surfaces too late in the process, leading to delays, redesign and low margins.
My point is - all design is dependant on seamless access to the craftsmanship or production expertise in order to survive and succeed, but instead of securing this fruitful collaboration, we are outsourcing more than ever – and actually separating production from creative development.
Ikea is one of best examples of where the production technique and manufacturing are part of the equation right from the start. The uniqueness of their aesthetics may be questionable, but their design process is one of a kind. The first question at Ikea is always – how can it be manufactured? And here I am
So how can we retain our position as a design nation, if there is no one here with the expertise to bring our designs to life?
By Vanessa Gandy, Design Strategist, Grow, Stockholm
Design for Life is creative,
(About the importance of integrating the dream into our lives.)
â€œBelow the threshold of consciousness everything was seething with life.â€? - C.G. Jung When you realize that your life revolves around creativity and that it is your every day task, you do find yourself wondering about it. There are many ways to embrace creativity; some people do it in an intuitive and spontaneous way while others are scientific and systematic. Managing the right mix of the two skills is of course likely to offer the greatest chance of a good result without doubt. Although the creative process is often described as circular or linear and iterative it is also a mystery, a journey into the unknown and an exploration of the dream. As such it is a process of intuitive wandering, fluidity and freedom but on a deeper level it involves the diving within and the exploration of the often swampy wilderness of our subconscious. Traveling to the other side of the mirror as Alice did entails the unavoidable meeting with monsters and creatures from our dark side but it is also in the depths that coincidence, mythological reminders, beauty and magic are delivered to us. Seizing such findings, converting and materializing them on this side of the mirror is where the challenge is. KATRIN OLINA Illustrator Iceland www.katrin-olina.com
– Designers and architects are here to serve humans. Instead they insist to work with users in mind. See the difference? Kristina Börjesson - Researcher sustainable design
– What is the coming crisis for design? Magnus Lindqvist - Trendspotter
– How can we avoid that sustainable design is getting kidnapped as a marketing gimmick? Anders Runerheim - Architect
– How could objects challenge you to look in a different way at the world around you and change your perception on things? Chandra Ahlsell - Designer
– Is there a relation between regiousity and sustainability? Peter Majanen - Futurist
– What do we need to do to create more awareness, love, compassion for a substantial life? Lotta Lundberg - Spiritual speaker and coach
– How can we design a product or service that needs 50% less energy and resources in its lifecycle than the previous one and at the same time it delivers a better experience for the customer? Martin Hoenle - Founder thequietriot.com
Strategies for des ecostructures a n 1.
For the designer today, the single compelling question is how to design our cities, our built environment and all of our artifacts, being all those things that we use in our everyday life, to engender a sustainable future? The common goal of a sustainable future - the objective of saving our environment for future generations, has to be the most vital issue that humankind must address today, feeding into our fears that this millennium may well be our last. Our business and industrial world faces similar concerns of seeking to understand the environmental consequences of their activities of production, distribution, retail and consumption, of envisioning what these might be if they were sustainable? They need to find ways to realise this sustainable vision with ecologically benign strategies, with new business models, production systems, materials and processes.
Discussed here are five strategies to achieving a more effective, a deeper, seamless and benign outcomes in the integration of what we make and do as human beings with the natural environment. For many designers today, green design involves adopting incomplete or facile objectives, such as simply achieving high green ratings in green accreditation systems (such as LEED, or BREEAM), seeking to achieve carbon neutral design and the measuring of carbon foot-printing, using the latest in ecotechnologies such as solar photovoltaics systems, waste recycling systems, etc. or using performance simulations of buildings (e.g. CFD analyses of wind-flows through buildings, energy performance simulations, embodied energy studies, etc.). Yes, while all these do contribute towards a green future, they are are by no means the end all to green design. We need to recognise that they do not comprehensively address all the issues in green design. Green design has to be much more.
The first strategy is to view green design and masterpanning as the interweaving of four strands of infrastructures into a system. These infrastructures are: the ‘grey’ or the engineering infrastructure, sustainable engineering systems and utilities),
the ‘blue’ or water management and the closing of the water cycle by design with sustainable drainage, the ‘green’ or nature’s utilities or its ecoinfrastructure, and the ‘red’ being our human built systems, spaces, hardscapes, society and its regulatory systems. These four strands provide the armatures or scaffolds for green deisgn.
The Green infrastructure The green infrastructure is the ecoinfrastructure that is crucially vital in every ecomasterplan. This ecoinfrastructure parallels the usual grey urban infrastructure of roads, drainage systems and utilities. This is an interconnected network of natural areas and other open spaces that conserves natural ecosystem values and functions and sustains clean air and water. It also enables the area to flourish as a natural habitat for a wide range of wildlife, and delivers a wide array of benefits to humans and the natural world alike, such as providing a linked habitat across the landscape that permit s bird and animal species to move freely. This ecoinfrastructure is nature’s utilities, being its functioning infrastructure (parallel to our human-made infrastructures, designated as grey, blue and red infrastuctures here), and in addition to providing cleaner water and enhancing water supplies, it can also result in some, if not all, of the following outcomes: cleaner air; a reduction in heat-island effect in urban areas; a moderation in the impact of climate change; increased energy efficiency; and the protection of source water. Having an ecoinfrastructure in the masterplan is vital to any ecomasterplanning endeavour. Without it, no matter how clever or advanced is the eco-engineering gadgetry used, the masterplan remains simply a work of engineering, and can in no way be called an ecological masterplan or, neither in the case of larger developments, an ecocity. These linear wildlife corridors connect existing green spaces and larger green areas, and can create new larger habitats in their own right, or may be in the form of newly linked existing woodland belts or wetlands, or existing landscape features, such as overgrown railway lines, hedges and waterways. Any new green infrastructure must clearly also complement and enhance the natural functions of what is already there in the landscape. In the masterplanning process, the designer identifies existing green routes and green areas, and possible new routes and linkages for creating new connections in the landscape.
designing ecocities, a nd ecoartifacts It is at this point that additional green functional landscape elements or zones can also be integrated, such as linking to existing waterways that also provide ecological services, such as drainage to attenuate flooding. This ecoinfrastructure take precedence over other engineering infrastructures in the masterplan. By creating, improving and rehabilitating ecological connectivity of the immediate environment, the ecoinfrastructure turns human intervention in the landscape from a negative into a positive. Its environmental benefits and values are an armature and framework for natural systems and functions that are ecologically fundamental to the viability of the localityâ€™s plant and animal species and their habitat, such as healthy soils, water and air. It reverses the fragmentation of natural habitats and encourages increases in biodiversity to restore functioning ecosystems while providing the fabric for sustainable living, and safeguarding and enhancing natural features. This new connectivity of the landscape with the built form is both a horizontal and a vertical endeavour. An obvious demonstration of horizontal connectivity is the provision of ecological corridors and links in regional and local planning that are crucial for making urban patterns more biologically viable. Connectivity over impervious surfaces and roads can be achieved by using ecological bridges, undercrofts and ramps. Besides improved horizontal connectivity, vertical connectivity with human buildings is also necessary since most buildings are not single storey but multistorey. Design must extend the ecological corridors vertically upwards, with greenery spanning a building from the foundations to the green gardens on the rooftops.
The Grey Infrastructure The grey infrastructure is the usual urban engineering infrastructure such as roads, drains, sewerage, water reticulation, telecommunications, and energy and electric power distribution systems. These are the eco- engineering systems (mentiond above) and should integrate with the green infrastructure rather than vice-versa. These should be designed as sustainable engineering systems.
The Blue Infrastructure Parallel to the ecological infrastructure is the water infrastructure (the blue infrastructure) where the water cycle should be managed to close the loop, although not always possible in locations with low rainfall. Rainfall needs to be harvested and recycled. The surface water from rain needs to be retained
within the site and to be returned to the land for the recharging of groundwater by means of filtration beds, pervious roadways and built surfaces, retention ponds and bioswales. Water used in the built system needs to be recovered and reused inasmuch as possible. Site planning must take into consideration the site_s natural drainage patterns and provide surface-water management such that the rainfall remains within the locality and is not drained away into water bodies. Combined with the green ecoinfrastructure, stormwater management enables the natural processes to infiltrate, evapo-transpire, or capture and use stormwater on or near the site where it falls while potentially generating other environmental benefits. Waterways should not be culverted or be deculverting of engineered waterways, but should be replaced with the introduction of wetlands and buffer strips of ecologically functional meadow and woodland habitat. Sealed surfaces can reduce soil moisture and leave low-lying areas susceptible to flooding from excessive run-off. Wetland greenways need to be designed as sustainable drainage systems to provide ecological services. Buffers can be integrated with linear green spaces to maximize their habitat potential. Ecodesign must create sustainable urban drainage systems that can function as wetland habitats. This is not only to alleviate flooding, but also to create buffer strips for habitat creation. While the width of the buffer may be constrained by existing land uses, their integration through linear green spaces can allow for wider corridors. Surface-water management maximises habitat potential. Intermittent waterway tributaries can be linked up using swales.
The Red (or Human) Infrastructure The human infrastructure is the human community, its built environment (buildings, houses etc), hardscapes and regulatory systems (laws, regulations, ethics etc). These need to be designed to be ecomimetic as human-made ecosystems (see below). These four infrastructures complement each other. If any of these are missing in any design, then the design is incomplete as an ecodesign.
The second strategy is to regard green design and masterplanning as the seamless and benign environmental biointegration of the artificial (human made) with the natural environment. It is the failure to successfully integrate that is the cause of environmental problems. In effect if we are able to integrate our business processes and design and everything we do or make in our built environment (which by definition consists of our buildings, facilities, infrastructure, products, refrigerators, toys, etc.) with the natural environment in a seamless and benign way, there will be in principle, no environmental problems whatsoever. Successfully, achieving this is of course easier said than done, but herein lies our challenge. We draw an analogy here between ecodesign with prosthetics design in surgery in the medical profession. A medical prosthetic device is an artificial and synthetic human-made device that has to integrate with its organic host being – the human body. Failure of these two components to successfully integrate will result in dislocation in one or the other or in both. By analogy, our built environment is like a prosthesis began similarly artificial and synthetic human-made product and whose organic host by analogy are the ecosystems in the biosphere . Ecodesign must achieve: a total physical, systemic and temporal integration of our human-made, built environment with its organic host being the biosphere’s ecosustems in a benign and positive way. Ecodesign can be regarded as design that integrates our artificial systems both mechanically and organically with its host system in a seamless and benign way. The designing for bio-integration can be further regarded here at three ways: physically, systemically and temporally. Physical and systemic integration requires a discernment of the ecology of the site. Any activity from our design or our business takes place with the objective to physically integrate benignly with the ecosystems. We must first understand the locality’s ecosystem before imposing any human activity upon it. Every site has an ecology with a limiting capacity to withstand stresses imposed upon it, which if stressed beyond this capacity, becomes irrevocably damaged. Consequences can range from minimal localised impact (clearing of a small land area for access), to the total devastation of the entire land area (clearing of all trees and vegetation, leveling the topography, diversion of existing waterways, etc). We need to ascertain its ecosystem’s structure and energy flow, its species diversity and other ecological properties and processes. Then we must identify which parts of the site (if any) have different types of structures and activities, and which parts are particularly sensitive. Finally, we must consider the likely impacts of the intended construction and use. This is, of course, a major undertaking. It needs to be done diurnally over the year and in some instances over years. To reduce this lengthy effort, landscape architects developed the sieve-mapping technique for landscaping mapping. We must be aware that method generally treats the site’s ecosystem statically and may ignore the dynamic forces taking place
between the layers and within an ecosystem. Between each of these layers are complex interactions. Another major design issue is the systemic integration of our built forms and its operational systems and internal processes with the ecosystems in nature. This integration is crucial because if our built systems and processes do not integrate with the natural systems in nature, then they will remain disparate, artificial items and potential pollutants. Their eventual integration after their manufacture and use is only through biodegradation. Often, this requires a long-term natural process of decomposition. Temporal integration involves the conservation of both renewable and non-renewable resources to ensure that these are sustainable for future generations. This includes designing for low energy built systems that are less or are not dependant on the use of non-renewable energy resources.
The third strategy for ecodesign and ecomasterplanning is to regard green design as ‘ecomimesis’ as the imitating of ecosystems’ processes, structure, features and functions. This is one of the fundamental premise for ecodesign. Our built environment must imitate ecosystems in all respects e.g. recycling, using energy from the sun through photosynthesis, becoming systems that heads towards increasing energy efficiency, achieving the holistic balance of biotic and abiotic constituents in the ecosystem, etc. Nature without humans exists in stasis. Can our businesses and our built environment imitate nature’s processes, structure, and functions, particularly its ecosystems? For instance, ecosystems have no waste. Everything is recycled within. Thus by imitating this, our built environment will produce no waste. All emissions and products are continuously reused, recycled within and eventually reintegrated with the natural environment, in tandem with efficient uses of energy and material resources. Ecosystems in a biosphere are definable units containing both biotic and abiotic constituents acting together as a whole. From this concept, our businesses and built environment should be designed analogously to the ecosystem’s physical content, composition and processes. For instance, besides regarding our architecture as just art objects or as serviced enclosures, we should regard it as artefacts that need to be operationally and eventually integrated with nature. As is self-evident, the material composition of our built environment is almost entirely inorganic, whereas ecosystems contain a complement of both biotic and abiotic constituents, or of inorganic and organic components. Our myriad of construction, manufacturing and other activities are, in effect, making the biosphere more and more inorganic, artificial and increasingly biologically simplified. To continue without balancing the biotic content means simply adding to the biosphere’s artificiality, thereby making it increasingly more and more inorganic. This results in the biological simplification of the biosphere and the reduction of its complexity and diversity. We must first reverse this trend and balance our
built environment with greater levels of biomass, ameliorating biodiversity and ecological connectivity in the built forms.
are not comprehensive enough in approaching the issues of environmental design at the local, regional and global levels.
Ecodesign also requires the designer to use green materials and assemblies of materials, and components that facilitate reuse, recycling and reintegration for temporal integration with the ecological systems. We need to be ecomimetic in our use of materials in the built environment. In ecosystems, all living organisms feed on continual flows of matter and energy from their environment to stay alive, and all living organisms continually produce wastes. Here, an ecosystem generates no waste, one species’ waste being another species’ food. Thus matter cycles continually through the web of life. It is this closing of the loop in reuse and recycling that our human-made environment must imitate.
Notwithstanding the above strategies for design, we need to acknowledge that ecological design is still very much in its infancy. The totally green building or green city does not yet exist. There is of course, still much more theoretical work, technical development and invention, environmental studies and costeffective design that need to be done before we can have a truly green built environment. We all must continue in this great pursuit.
By Ken Yeang (© September 2009)
Fourthly, ecodesign and ecomasterplanning can be regarded not only as creating new artificial ‘living’ urban ecosystems or rehabilitating existing built environments and cities, but also one of restoring existent impaired and devastated ecosystems regionally within the landscape. We should for instance, improve the ecological linkages between our designs and our business processes with the surrounding landscape, horizontally and vertically. Achieving these linkages ensures a wider level of species connectivity, interaction, mobility and sharing of resources across boundaries. Such real improvements in ecological nexus enhance biodiversity and further increase habitat resilience and species survival. Providing ecological corridors and linkages in regional planning is crucial in making urban patterns more biologically viable. We must biologically integrate the inorganic aspects and processes of our built environment with the landscape so that they mutually become ecosystemic. We must create ’humanmade ecosystems’ compatible with the ecosystems in nature. By doing so, we enhance human-made ecosystems’ abilities to sustain life in the biosphere.
The fifth strategy for ecodesign and ecomasterplanning is to regard it as looking at the biosphere globally, as the monitoring of environmental stasis and devastation by humans, of natural disasters and the impacts of our human activities and our built environment and industries as sets of environmental interactions and taking appropriate corrective action to ensure global ecological stability.
The above are possible ways to approach green design and masterplanning to achieving a sustainable environmental stability. Green design has to goes beyond the conventional rating system such as LEED or BREEAM, etc. which are indeed useful common indexes for comparing the greenness of building designs. They are however not effective as design tools. They
ImagInary DesIgn for LIfe “It is hard to listen what the technology can do if one does not know what the technology is capable of. We should not segregate geeks from creatives. We need to percolate the programmers, information architects, interactive designers and UI designers together with the graphic designers, art directors and copywriters, from product design across all aspect of ‘communications.’ Technology, design, and brands, are tools for people, not vice versa, and whereas most of today’s marketing communications is nothing more than a time-bandit; It steals our time, so we had better make it give us some genuine value in return.” Jari Ullakko, Creative director. “Design for life is evolving to be genuinely sustainable design with the total life cycle in mind. Overall accountability will soon be a necessity, and companies will no longer win sustainability awards for white paper CSR preparedness. In this way, there is a desperate need for cross disciplinary sustainable thinking to be accessible and applicable through a clearly defined set of process tools, right from the early stages of product development, through to smart customer and vendor loyalty strategies.” Uffe Ljungberg, Risk analyst and Quality control. “Design for life? It is a friend who accompanies you everyday, that might be able to help you, comfort you, and let you be who you are. Design for life is the design of the connections and interactions between people, and between people, places and things, that creates a positive feeling every time you meet it. Quite simply, design for life simplifies or improves, humanizes and personalizes the experience of everyday life. It is the ultimate expression of humanity.” Catja Löfgren, Creative strategy and Insights.
“I don’t want to live in a Wall-e world. I want to say to all the CEOs of all the companies that you must put the earth first and not just your wallet.” Alexander Ljungberg-Perme, Student. Age 12. “Today, everyone expects design to be good. And so design must develop to be more and more about layers of experience, than just the aesthetic result of an isolated object. Increasingly we see that the advertising budget is being spent on designing enabling tools and overlapping interfaces on and offline. Brands will focus on value adding services – and we will see more ideas like ‘Nike +’, where you choose to use a brand long term because of the intelligence it adds to your life, human and technological. We will see more sincerity and transparency because there is no other way.” Anders Davén, Digital concept architect. “Imagine that designers, together with their clients and other partners, manage to create truly beneficial products and services that are seamlessly intrinsic to our lives. Then imagine our society having to rely only on branded services to deliver basic healthcare and infrastructure, but with a disclaimer: break the ‘terms and conditions’ and you are out. Responsibility, integrity and genuine value beyond CSR messaging is a discussion taking place in the digital realm right now. Corporate social integration will extend to all areas of life at the pace we extend the term design and what it should provide. My logic: The better you deliver – the greater the responsibility. What are we doing when create ’excellence’? What are we really achieving when we enter the political space of social responsibility?” Johan Hjerpe, Concept director.
“Life is an unrepeatable disappearing thing, and design needs to enter the same space. Newness should not be defined in terms of novelty or market niche but in terms of the drama of this disappearance and unrepeatability, colourcoded with compassion and naturalness. I am a Buddhist monk flipping rhythmically between the forest and the cosmopolis. I am designing all the time.” Tenzin Shenyen, Writer and Monk. “Don’t worry about destinations, practice arriving well. /Both the express train and local train arrive on time. /Carry a drop of water to the ocean; wash it clean. / A pattern of drops on my son’s back where he can’t reach. / Nothing exists, and everything proves it. / Freedom is the ability to do anything, not merely what I want. / Pluck a petal and leave the flower whole. / Open hands: giving/receiving. / We can wake the miracle that sleeps within each moment. / There is a sort of kindness that needs me to not do much. / Design for Life = doing enough.” Jerry Gordon, Teacher and Improviser.
“I believe that design shapes our collective memories, it speaks about who we are as a community, what we value in our everyday experiences and our dreams. I don’t believe in exclusivity in design, nor fashion. I believe in emotional design. We create reality for ourselves, every minute, every day. And it is our duty as designers, artists, and workers of all kinds to make this world an inspiring environment that encourages life itself to thrive.” Pavel Fiorentino, Photographer and Journalist. “Design For Life is ‘The Anatomy of IS.’ It is an existential template that develops and guides our everyday work helping us to interpret what is happening around us. Designing life is an act in the present. The future is a cacophony of could, should, would, will, won’t, might and on and on. Design for Life is doing what you can within the present moment that you inhabit.” Michael J. Salovaara, Teacher and Poet.
“If your client says ‘It’s not all about the environment’ leave the building. There is much work to be done. Beyond trying to squeeze out every extra ‘premium’ penny from design and product-saturated consumers, ‘Design for Life’ will increasingly move into a more pragmatic approach to development with smart, streamlined improvements to every human interaction in the flow of exchange we call a brand. As part of this living network, each one of us will create our own ‘design for life’ mottos as personally we find more openings and enabling solutions to design the worlds we want to live and work in. This new consciousness that the future is really in our hands has already started to change every societal model there is; from outdated notions of identity, to systems of production, consumption, exchange, employment and last but not least, how we educate ourselves to be masters of our own destiny. Quite simply, Design for Life is a paradigm shift that has already happened. We are living in critical and exciting times where we have the possibility to shape more meaningful collaborative platforms that will focus on realizing visions rather than just launching isolated products and fragmented messages. These will be provided by the sources we trust and choose – the people in our lives who we interact with on a daily level.” Tanya Kim Grassley, Brand development strategist.
“Last time I stayed in a hotel and I turned the shower on, somebody had pointed the shower head towards the wall ensuring I didn’t get a cold morning shock in a new place. A nice but well thought out gesture. In a similar way Design for Life is about putting the user needs at the forefront of the creative process to integrate possible future living in the design concept. Some would rightly argue that has always been the design mantra, but increasingly, there is a playful element to the concept reaching beyond functionality and aesthetics, because Design for Life is conceived from and for people.” Jonas Andersen, Trends analyst.
Imaginary Life. Future by Research and Design. www.imaginarylife.net
Image: Kiruna in the clouds city planning concept.
– How can nature’s systems and organisms guide us towards designing a healthier and more sustainable future? Anna Maria Orru - Architect and researcher
– Why not do good since it makes business better? Jonas Pinzke - Creative director
– How do we communicate in order to create a meaningful life?
Carl-Johan Wachtmeister - Communication consultant
– Should I WORRY?…YES, and still be HAPPY! Christian Aronsen - Creative director
– We salute excellence, but excellence is seldom born of modesty, and still less of moderation. So how do we design for life? Max Fraser - Director at Spotlight Press
– How do we encourage people to design themselves more sustainable lives? Alex West - Global Head of Talent & Partnerships
Design for Africa
Design for Africa was a seven month long overland trip through Africa with the aim of bringing design as a development tool for the third world into focus. The main project took place in Nairobi, Kenya, where the designers Staffan Weigel and Frank Hofmann carried out a ten week long design workshop in Kibera, the largest slum in East Africa. The team cooperated with a local NGO and four youth groups in Kibera in order to work out economically and environmentally sustainable solutions to alleviate poverty. The objective was to, not only develop useful solutions, but also to leave behind knowledge about creative and rational problem solving. The results spans over a variety of disciplines including graphic, jewelry, product and even system design. A great portion of marketing strategy and basic business economics was also treated. As the ambition was to make a long term change, some of the projects were merely initiated and has yet to prove themselves over time, as for example the trash collection system that so far is running in its first test phase. Other projects yielded more tangible results as for example the production of handbags from recycled polythene bags. The project leaders are very glad to seemingly have evoked and contributed to the continuing discussion within the design community about its role in the third world. Features on design portals such as coolhunting.com, IDfuel.com, thinkcycle.com etc and the many emails received from designers all over the world shows a global interest in this kind of projects and hopefully it will inspire others to take it even further. The project was planned, initiated, financed and carried out by Staffan Weigel and Frank Hofmann with the support of sponsors and the NGO Carolina for Kibera in the summer of 2006.
By Staffan Weigel For more information please check the website: www.designforafrica.com
LIFE LINE – HOW DESIGN DESIGNS PEOPLE
In order to improve the efficiency of the reservoirs (piscinões) some complimentary actions, such as environmental education and sports practices are implemented with the local communities.
The context for this discussion is to acknowledge the act of designing in a broad sense. We all need to acknowledge the vital presence of design in our life in our life no matter what our condition, culture, history and life style. According to Tony Fry (2009) “Designing not only conceptually and technically prefigures the form, operational and symbolic function of the designed but equally its plural destiny”. Generally, design is evidenced through the material outcomes that affect the quality of everyday life, but when it comes to thinking about LIFE LINE – the very line of destiny, design has directional consequences on human life, it shapes our present and our future. Design is directly linked to our destiny, to the ability to sustain our life. The issue of sustainability brings together issues of life and death, the primary impulses described by Freud – Eros, the energy of life and Thanatos, the energy of destruction. In this sense, design is linked to fear and hope in our ability to help our own actions on this planet. It is precisely the dialectic between Eros and Thanatos that is at the heart of the concept of sustainable development, described by the WCED - World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, by stating that ”sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. The dialectic between Eros and Thanatos is even more visible if we consider it within in the context of the unprecedentedly huge economic crisis that is currently shaking our lives. What new intellectual and practical opportunities does the crisis give us to change our lives, homes, offices and cities? How can we re-think our spatial and socioeconomic development patterns? Let us use this crisis as an opportunity to change and become a sustainable society. Now is the time to give more attention to real problems, to think more about real problems, here stressing the very concept of ‘real world’ by Victor Papanek. In his seminal book “Design for the real world. Human Ecology and Social Change” he referred to the kind of problems that exist outside of the ‘luxury enjoyed by a small clique who form the technological, moneyed, and cultural ‘élite’ of each nation’. A new paradigm, as an alternative to the hegemonic Western approach to design, must provided us with the opportunity of looking at other urgent needs of the other three-fourths of humanity, ou of humankind of the humanity. From the dominant approach to design, we must also consider the intervention of design in rural and urban areas. From the concept of design oriented to high economic capital, we must look at people on the edge, think and design sociologically, proposing a shift of values based on an ethnographic and participatory research methodology. Considering that the concept of sustainable development addresses the balance of needs and opportunities, we must re-think the concept of need. A major theoretical reference for this is the work of Tony Fry, who in 1994 said: ”Need is that which we have, it is a part
of our being amid the world. Need comes to us from beyond us…Our being, the world of our being, need and design all have to be thought together.” DESIGN FOR LIFE emphasizes the importance of a careful analysis regarding the needs currently prioritized by design. Reflecting on the political and social movements of the Sixties and Seventies, Herbert Marcuse left an inspiring text, presented to students at a conference concerning ecological movements in California in 1977. There, the author sees the power of Eros and Thanatos and says: ”A successful environmentalism shall subordinate, within the individuals, the destructive power to the erotic energy.” Let us think about alternative projects that could boost our environment, our city, our life. As a show piece of alternative projects, we would like to draw attention to some practices in projects that are an interdisciplinary integration of knowledge and technological skills. Ultimately they produced a relevant and and holistic contribution to the city of São Paulo. A good example of this kind of design are the projects addressing the problems of the urban water management in megacities, especially the detention pond projects for urban flood control. São Paulo, the largest city in the Southern hemisphere suffers from historic floods with huge effects on life in the city. The impermeabilization of urban soil generates huge volumes of runoff, the main cause of floods. One way of reducing the impact of impermeabilization is to build detention ponds, but this requires large areas so the proposal is to use these areas in a multipurpose manner, thus combining different goals, such as recreational and flood control areas. This is not a new idea, but considering new paradigms of engineering interventions and the environmental requirements detention ponds can be a very useful way of combining environmental, social, technical and human aspects. Some images of the Rincão reservoir, in the Aricanduva River Basin conveythat it is possible to restructure the urban space, understand human conditions, taking physical constraints into account and create inspiring designs that can improve urban life in our megacities, thus supporting people in their handling of their daily life and life-worlds.
Maria Cecilia Loschiavo School of Architecture and Urbanism, University of São Paulo www.closchiavo.pro.br Mario Barros Polythecnic School of Engineering, University of São Paulo email@example.com
REFERENCES Fry, Tony. (2009). Design Futuring. Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice.New York. Berg Fry, Tony. (1994). Against an Essentialist Theory of Need: Some Considerations for Design Theory. In: Remakings. Ecology / Design / Philosophy. Sydney. Marcuse, H. (1977). Ecologia e crítica da sociedade moderna. In: Herbert Marcuse: A Grande Recusa Hoje. Isabel Loureiro (org.). Rio de Janeiro. Vozes. Papanek, Victor (1974). Design for the real world. London. Paladin Books.
OnE is all – we are in this together. “What the architectural profession lacks is an understanding of its own social importance. … You are those who provide mankind’s shelter. Remember this, and then look at our cities, at our slums, to realize the gigantic task awaiting you. But to meet this challenge you must be armed with a broader vision of yourselves and of your work. You are not hired lackeys of the rich. You are crusaders in the cause of the underprivileged and the unsheltered. Not by what we are shall we be judged, but by those we serve. Let us stand united in this spirit. Let us – in all matters – be faithful to this new, broader perspective. Let us organize – well, my friends, shall I say – a nobler dream?” Ayn Rand, 1947, The Fountainhead This statement is more meaningful today than ever. What we all seem to be searching today is a meaningful life. Through the Internet we can see beyond the boundaries of our everyday lives. We meet across time and geography as neighbors, we can travel cheaper, we can exchange life experience and knowledge. Now we know: one is all. We are in this together. By rejecting a lifestyle that exists at the expense of others, we can expand the dimensions of our own potential, and feel better in a newer, more vibrant sense of shared growth. Not just economic growth: but individual, societal and global development. In this decade of a new century – still plagued by war and social divide – the question humanity as a whole faces is not why we do we exist, but how do we want to live? As a final-thesis architecture student from the Royal Technical University of Stockholm I had the luxury and the privilege to design anything, anywhere. Instead of designing another imaginary project, I decided to head back to Rio and to Rocinha, the biggest favela in Latin America, to work with local residents to build a much-needed school. This collaboration has opened my eyes to the potential of architecture in the 21st century to act as a catalyst for solving the challenges we face as a global community. The resource crisis, an aging global population, economic polarization- the list is long. I believe that we now have the tools to reinvent a vision we somehow lost along the way: a back to basics vision of building borderless infrastructures that activate forgotten communities to become visible once again. In short – the ability to remember what it means to be human.
By Filipe Balestra
Design for Life according to Filipe Balestra Design for life. 1) Design for a fair life - not good, not bad, but fair. (What is fair will be decided between you and the never ending neighbors that surround you). 2) Forget copyrights! Demand public-rights. Design tools which can be used and developed further by others. 3) Design for the lives to come. Stimulate evolution. Make it hip. 4) Erase borders, draw bridges between previously disconnected islands. Invent new vocabulary. 5) Study the Future – why only History? Collective dreaming will shape new landscapes and extra strawberry fields. 6) Listen! We have two ears and one mouth to hear twice as much than we speak. 7) Be patient and persistent. It takes a while to bake a good cake. 8) Be careful with what you dream because your dreams come true... 9) If overdosed with stress, go back to Nature and root yourself with the ground again. 10) Be peaceful. There are many truths and we all have a lot to share.
Say yes to yes!
How we must be the change we wish to see in the world. When I take part in manifestations or activities for different causes, I sometimes think of the diverse entering points of how people involve them selves. Too often I see frustration and anger being the source of commitment. Many are against war rather than for peace. Anti dictatorship rather than pro democracy In oppose a problem, rather than in support of a solution. For me that’s a very important distinction. If the driving force is dissatisfaction, rage and resentment or even guilt, chances for finding a common ground to meet, reconcile and find answers to important questions, are very slim. If you want peace – you must be at peace. To be pro; is to be active, creative and solution orientated To be anti; is often associated with blaming and hold others responsible. When pointing finger at some one, there’s always three fingers pointing right back at you! To be pro is to send out a message that you want to change things to the better and also making you a part of the solution. It’s about taking responsibility. For a long time the notion of capitalism as the evil force has been widely spread. Often when collaborating with corporation or using the market mechanisms to tackle the greatest challenges of our time, you are considered to “sleep with the devil”. Of the 100 biggest economies in the world, 51 are cooperation’s. See that as an enormous potential of resources and know-how to be directed towards sustainable solutions of the social, economic and environmental challenges. Its time to get all sectors, government, NGO’s, business and public, to work together. I’m for using the business sector t http://www.se-forum.se/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/2lovesculpture-bkristg.jpg o solve the greatest challenges ahead, merging the idealist and the capitalist. I’m in support of nourishing creativity and positive thinking, focusing on solutions and opportunities. I’m pro being the change we wish to see in the world.
By Jonas Pinzke.
The conclusions from the BoostChat at Designboost 2008
Long live the city 1. Emotional city? It is sometimes heard that emotions make you buy, feelings make you keep and affection make you sustain. Which implication would this have for urban design projects in details and in large (in the name of sustainability)?
violence, joblessness, homelessness, etc.., pollution, traffic, heating. We need to re-think the standards in terms of urban planning, engineering terms of urban waters: re-naturalization of urban catchments is a concept that needs to be formulated in a new context, at least in contemporary degraded metropolises.
A bland city is neither attractive, nor does it raise affection. Blandness does not cause curiosity, which is a precondition for affection. Emotion and attraction are closely linked and short-lived but still an important introduction to long-lasting appeal. The latter is created not only by the built environment but also by the services offered. A sustainable city connects to people through affection, which makes you stay or come back. This is when you start to care. A sustainable city is by definition cared for.
If quality of city life is to rule over quantity, politicians have to be brave and fight the ever present corruption: in monetary and moral terms. The most important thing for decision-makers is to show results, to have something to point at, even if this is not ‘the perfect outcome’. City dwellers are nowadays sometimes asked to participate in planning by expressing views and come to meetings. If it is not made clear from the start what is meant to come out of this participation, they will soon begin to look to their individual needs instead of to the communal. Politicians and planners must initially explain how they are going to make best use of the views they have collected: describe a method.
2. Taming nature.
4. Telling stories.
Since science started to rule and rationalise our lives, we have believed that our role is to tame nature. Where are the limits of this? Or is it there we are today? Peoples’ perception of nature is distorted. An entire generation is chocked by the fact that nature is not given and an unlimited source for human convenience: ‘of course there will always be enough clean water!’ Children in many developed countries are now aware though, that the reason for collecting trash is that there are not enough resources left to make new things. On the contrary, in nations like Dubai it is not even allowed to put washing out to dry in the cities. People are advised to use a tumbler.
How do cities tell stories? And how do they rewrite their stories and pass them on? This workshop was postponed due to very few participants showing up.
5. Diversity versus conformity. In some parts of society an increasing conformity is developing; is it a threat or a necessity?
Allotments are sadly rationalised away and special projects like using roofs for growing and having crops in the middle of a city are now introduced by forward looking cities.
People are generally afraid of diversity. Conformity is the safe option and your home is regarded as a sacred place where you expect to be safe and protected. To allow for a positive stand to diversity, you have to work with parameters which are important for humans’ feelings of safety, protection, peace, warmth and control. Politicians and planners have thus to offer preconditions for proximity in diversity: proximity cannot be designed but space has to be provided.
3. Defining the quality of city life.
6. The value of design.
‘Long live the city’ but with which standard of living? What is the meaning of urban standard of living in a degraded city? What is the point of one good standard of living to the cost of another? The concept of degradation here is linked to many urban issues: social, economical and environmental: urban
How can design add value to an investment (real estate development, infrastructure, culture etc) and how do we better visualise the value of design? And how do we explain that something well designed with high quality is better in the long run even if the initial investment is higher?
Design/architecture is not merely about creating beautiful places and buildings: it is about making places which are good to live and work in. Unfortunately today there is a tendency towards the superficial and many places are horrible to live in. To have the people concerned involved in planning is an obvious but time-consuming route to improvements. What about architects and designers learning more about human ways of being, replacing user-centred with human-centred?
7. Science and humanity.
Spaces have to be confined to make people relax. Open spaces induce fear: feelings of being exposed. The reverse goes for communities: an open community is a precondition for ‘contamination’ between people, whereas closed communities excludes. A relaxed city is where people feel invited to love and hate: to be engaged.
11. Focus for attention. Is it at all possible to make humans change focus from their own wellbeing to that of nature?
Technology is very crucial for development but design concepts should not be fixed to technologies. These are only the tools. Concepts ought to be based on visions and awareness of consumer needs. These drive a development which is for the consumer better as opposed to technical innovations which are not for consumption but merely showcases.
The problem lies partly in how individuals define their role: if they insist on their right to behave individualistic, there is a problem because this means they see merely to their own wellbeing. If they on the contrary perform their individualism, they contribute with their individuality (competence, inclination, ability etc.) to a general wellbeing where nature is included. Individualistic behaviour leaves little room for empathy and lacks realisation that the resulting choices affect wellbeing negatively as this always is part of a greater whole: contextual.
8. What is there to explore?
12. The humanistic sustainable city
Recognition and understanding is important for people to orient themselves and create meaning. But people also like to explore, which of course makes them sustain interest in relevant places like their hometown. Can these factors, recognition and urge to explore, be reconciled?
If the city is a mirror of its inhabitants in terms of sustainability can we then talk about “Citizen design” as another way to look at urban design? How can make sure that cities, products, processes etc always are developed with a user in mind?
How much regard to our environment is dependent on technical issues and what may be achieved with raised awareness?
The problem is not about creating environments worth exploring but about a looming negative change in individual system thinking: young people believe there is little left to explore. They are bored, not by the lack of opportunities but by the overwhelming number of options. They have consequently turned inwards in avoidance. The solution is of course to reduce the number of options and make the remaining attainable.
‘Citizen design’ is one of several tools to be used in planning. It is important to realise each tool’s possibilities and limitations. Citizen design adds a more holistic view, registers value changes and regards heterogeneity. On the negative side are lack of professional awareness and knowledge, which creates problems in the communication with experts and decisionmakers. It also adds cost due to the often extended time factor.
13. To reinforce the essence of multitude. 9. How do we transform our existing cities, neighbourhoods and buildings into sustainable places? The built environment of today’s Malmö will constitute 70 % of the built environment in 2050. If we want to make real change we have to start to transform the existing city into an improved version of itself. What might the consequences be of a totally rethought cityscape as we know it today? Commercial interests and individual political ambitions are the main obstacles to the creation of sustainable places. Politicians are in a position which should allow them to reinforce visions and goals but are hesitant to do so. Designers and architects do often portray themselves as victims of decisions taken by others. Unfortunately the way forward will not really progress until we have reached the bottom and there is no more room for short term profit thinking: developers, politicians and designer alike.
10. A relaxed city Is it at all possible to diminish stress in cities? Is a healthy balance between mind/body and work/leisure time the answer? How to create it?
A city like Malmö consists of 8-10 merged smaller cities. Consumption, infrastructure, economy and modern city planning have in most cases erased the original smaller cityscapes of the original cities on behalf of large scale solutions. Could we restore a healthy, respectful attitude for the ‘small’ cities, through a new architectural city planning, where we divide the big city in to smaller, human cities with big green borders in between? Large scale solutions have contributed to people no longer knowing their city: it has become impossible to embrace. You respect the area you know but less the others. When you experience that the small scale has disappeared; you are living in one area, shopping in another and working in a third, no area belongs to you and you stop to care. London has though its immense size succeeded to keep much of the original smaller cityscape, which even shows that green borders are not necessary - even if desirable! Transition areas in the form of busy roads and industrial zones divide cities even more.
14. A change of mode. Could cities, as opposed to rural living, ever be truly sustainable? If so, are we truly willing to take the consequences?
Is it possible to change the mode of living pursued by the 40th generation? Until they have realised that sustainability is about survival no laws will be efficient. Old structures have to collapse before new ones can successfully be put in place. The relation between structures and sustainability is still ruled by prosperity: it is a fashion, a luxury which not everyone can afford. We are willing to take the consequences of a more sustainable lifestyle as long as it is not too inconvenient. If change is to come, it will be the work of the 60th generation.
15. The Authentic city. If you were told to regard authenticity in an urban planning project, how would you define that part of the task? There appears to be, and have been for long, much too little regard to authenticity in city planning: commercialisation of public space has had priority over the recreation of the city’s narrative. A narrative emanates from several small centres within the city as well one true, main centre. Both London and Paris are examples of this. Authenticity is about changing without spoiling, which is sometimes difficult but the damage could be made less or worse.
16. The aesthetic narrative.
If we can relate to objects, this overrules our desire for newness. As ‘new’ has become an important incitement for change, we obviously have difficulties relating to objects. Manufacturers do not enough engage in a product’s eventual lifecycle and we do not think in terms of saving for coming generations: cradle to grave has replaced the notion of ‘cradle to cradle’. The Feng Shui School (among others) states that object/human relations are crucial for wellbeing. However, material quality still rules over immaterial and quantity is the ruling measure of growth.
19. Cultivate the city. Is ‘humanity’ in building the foundation for a sustainable city? Does a more human approach in itself regard content more than shape? Let’s ideate around these thoughts and have the title from the present Biennale in Venice in mind “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building”. Respect for differences and non-conformity, recognition of peoples’ feelings of exclusion and potent actions against segregation are all essential measures for the cultivation of a city.
Do we live or learn aesthetic appreciation? This is an important question as it among other things has critical impact on the city aesthetic: decided by ‘experts’ (top down) or influenced by what has proven to work: the city narratives (down up).
In an effort to restore their moral, several big cities claim for example that problems in their suburbs are national issues and not specifically linked to the city in question. This may be true – but only with the addition of an also.
We live aesthetic appreciation but people do not seem to care, other matters have priority, at least consciously. It is likely that many would experience enhanced wellbeing in a more aesthetically pleasing environment though. There is no real authority on aesthetics: aesthetical (and sustainable) values have turned into one time actions and marketing gimmicks (like organic cotton!?). All discussions about aesthetical values become easily charged with suspected elitism, which tend to restrict them to conveying general rather than specific views.
Are parks really relevant from a human well being point of view? Or are there other types of ‘greens’ which serve us better while still acting as city lungs?
17. Inherent capacity. In the introduction to ‘Long live the city’ it says ... ‘a city should make use of its inherent capacity’ ... to ensure durability over time and in a holistic sense. What is inherent capacity and how could it be put to use? There is a difference between an established and a true capacity. The Swedish university town, Lund has long relayed on its capacity as a place of wisdom and culture but not used this capacity for development. It is now logging behind Malmö, where the Öresund Bridge is an excellent example of an inherent capacity which has come to maximum use. A city, like a person, has to continuously review its inherent capacity, convince itself what can be made of it and go for it. Capacity is never about pursuing conformity.
18. What’s new? The developed world is obsessed with newness, which seem to rule not only our desire for objects but also city planning. Is this stand point at all compatible with sustainability? If not, how can all professionals involved in the creation of the new contribute to moderation?
20. Parks as history?
When we look to how ideas concerning the development of different kind of spaces have resulted in improvements, parks are left behind. They are aesthetically (at best) pleasing city lungs and other functions are not much considered. Greens and parks ought to be social places but lack of funds as well as existing laws and regulations prevent them from fulfilling this role.
21. Engage and involve A city is never more sustainable than its citizens allow it to be. What can we do to get everyone on the track? Inform? Change laws? Inspire? Can design and architecture help forming visions that engage people? It is often heard that our planet is ill. Is it not instead Homo sapiens who is ill and refusing to see things as they really are? Engagement and not least courage are very important for the progress of sustainable development. But visions have to be within reach. Utopias take us nowhere if they are not attainable. Awareness that change happens slowly and only as a result of consistency is another important insight. It is not motivated to stop contributing with reference to there not being immediate or visible results.
22. The Breathing City. How can a sustainable city be developed that allows everything living to coexist and cohabit through design features such as permeable concrete, edible lawns and animal estates…? Is a sentient city at all possible?
You have to identify the workable variables rather than focusing the problems. Worries are allowed but solutions are more important. We have to establish working processes that people can embark one instead of one off projects where there is no real user interface. Processes are open-ended solutions, sometimes involving products, but not necessarily as there are already too many of them. Many products will seize to exist anyway when sustainable characteristics in the future are no longer to marketing advantage.
23. The density of the city. How do you create a dense city to limit the need for transportation and enhance sociability but still allow for recreation and green space? The circle inside which each city dweller moves is defined by the city’s density, which is not solely about spatiality: there is a correlation between work, community and needs within reach. If a city allows/is designed for human density, this overcomes scarcity of space as well as eventual surplus.
24. The socially designed city. The human city regards social interaction. But how often does it also pay attention to its social interface? What is one person’s back yard becomes another person’s front yard – with all its implications! Social interaction cannot be re-designed; it relies predominantly on established ways. This is why social interaction has to be carefully studied when a new city development is being taken into use. Funds must have been set aside to complete the immaterial part of the development: the social interface.
25. An eco-village: a platform for experimental living. Let’s think in terms of a white paper. Everything is possible. How can urban energy and countryside lifestyle walk hand in hand? What is an eco-village beyond marketing buzz-word? The key to the creation of an eco-village is open source and participation. Without these preconditions any experiment will end in superficiality: a label without substance. The basic designs must be very clear but experience, including trial and error, must then rule the further development of the village. Eco-villages ought to form networks for the exchange of knowledge and experience. It is sometimes understood that an eco-village has to be newly constructed but it is perfectly credible to transform an old village into an eco-village using the same basic preconditions.
26. Waste prevention. Waste is a huge urban problem. A metropolis produces hundreds of tonnes per day. The EU has decided to prioritise prevention before recycling, reuse etc. How to prevent waste from being produced? The whole concept of waste has to be challenged: it is much too large and diverse to be summoned into one. Generally, there is waste which may be re-consumed and waste which is not consumable. Waste prevention is primarily the un-production of the latter. Re-consumable waste has then to be differentiated on key characteristics, primarily the cost of making it re-consumable.
27. The socially designed city. Some parts of cities suffer from cultural segregation and creative impoverishment at the same time as other parts have an overload of social durability. The commercialisation shows a different face in the city centre compared to the suburbs. How will this affect integration/segregation, crime and the longterm development of a city? In every city there will always be demand and supply. Affluence will create more affluence and diversity in commercialisation. It is very difficult to change this equation, less difficult to approach the more substantial roots of poverty and cultural isolation. It is very important to set equality on the right level. Is it set within reach, which is good social design, there will be encouraging results, while if set to high, merely disappointment will follow. Total equality is impossible as it works against evolution.
28. What is a city? Will ‘the City of the Future’ be a location in space, a moment in time, or a meme (characteristic of a culture) associated with the location in the moment? A city is a city, as we understand it today, only when it becomes a place for belonging, when it is not merely a place but an emotional space. It must allow connectivity, not only between humans but also to history and context. If this is not the case with ‘The City of the Future’, we will have to call it a different name: a ‘spaceship’ where we dwell through an interface?
29. Design for urban nomadic life. Themes ranging from adult and child homelessness to all kinds of rural and urban impacts of natural and social disasters on people’s lives require an active contribution from architects and designers in order to alleviate human suffering. Let us ideate and comment on the most pressing themes for design, architecture and sustainability: sheltering the poor and the victims of the humanitarian crises. Do we have the competence as well as the practical, mental and moral preparation to design for the poor and the worst hit? What does ‘a shelter’ look like? Is ‘shelter’ a notion we have to rethink and reconsider? Is there an alternative? These issues are very little communicated, in politics as in education. Has not the time finally come? Have we not seen enough human misery and the effect of disasters to realise that we have to acquire the competence and make the preparations which allows us to be proactive rather than reactive?
30. Diversity of diversities. “After 50 years of smart eco-design innovation, why is the world getting worse?” asks professor John Wood. He believes that it is not enough to design greener products, services and strategies: a profound revision of design itself in accord with ecological principles is needed with the aim to find new multidimensional approaches to development and arrive at not only diversity but .. of diversities. Do you agree? Change is a movement which comes with generations as a paradigm-shift. The established generations, the 70th group included, are not born into a way of living which includes
sustainable thinking. It is difficult to change almost subconscious processes. Generations born in the 80th and later have embraced intensity of living. If sustainability had been involved, it would have taken a great leap forward. Unfortunately these generations act just as un-reflected as their peers, only for different reasons: lack of awareness as opposed to selfishness. The shift will come with the generation of 2000: they have to deal with these issues for their survival.
31. Way forward? Innovation has become a buzz word in the business as well as the design world. There appears to be a pre-assumption that innovation means development. Does it? There are several misconceptions concerning the role of innovation: 1.It has to result in a product. 2. It can never reach a saturation point. 3. Technology can never become harassment. 4. Innovation and novelty enhances happiness (or prevents feelings of unhappiness). Innovation at its best when it enhances welfare and is not too complicated.
Life in a city is created by the unplanned, which in turn is promoted by density. Vast spaces do not only hamper interaction but create also social inequity: you do not have to meet those on ‘the other side’. You cannot design meeting places; these are created by people, often as the result of some kind of uniqueness. One important guideline ought therefore to be spelled as: conformity and ‘more of the same’ must be generally avoided in city planning.
35. Black bag aesthetics. You have seen them: the black refuse bags which pile up along streets and around small recycling centres, often poorly sealed. How should waste disposal (systems) be designed for improved function? Consumption gives you satisfaction whilst waste handling does not. However, the two are intimately linked. Stronger regulation and lower fees (pay per rata) for proper waste handling will probably reduce the problem but not solve it.
Where is the solution? Existing cultural codes are not sufficiently helpful but with further experience and added How will the ongoing recession affect investment in sustainable knowledge they will probably be: there are already today solutions? Are the sustainable issues consolidated in society? societies were many people would not happily and What can be done? officially admit that they do not make their best to handle waste properly.
32. Sustainability prioritised?
The ongoing recession will force movements ‘back to base’, not only what concerns production and consumption but also mentally. A new narrative, which does not further enhance raw capitalism and unlimited consumption, is crucial. Not prioritising sustainability in the name of counteracting recession will, if at all, only serve a purpose for a very short while, like a smoke screen. More plausible in an economic downturn is the search for examples of best practise [of sustainability] as a safe option.
33. Framework. The politicians make laws and regulations, the industry have the money, the academic world presents contradicting research findings - what can you as a professional do to enhance durable development within this framework?
Within a given framework one has always to be honest to oneself and one’s profession but also realistic: which is the bottom line? It does not serve a long-term purpose for a designer to ignore the bottom line and blame the ‘bad guys’ in the economy department for not understanding one’s mission. If you work with the bottom line in mind, there is a greater chance of making a positive contribution: even if not what you may have preferred, it is still better than nothing.
34. Social equity in the city. “How can we create better public spaces, services and facilities where all citizens, regardless of income, can meet as equals and create a sense of belonging and a more socially integrated community?” This quote by Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, could work as inspiration: “Public space is for living, doing business, kissing, and playing. Its value can’t be measured with economics or mathematics; it must be felt with the soul.”
36. Cycling city. Cycles for free rent have become one important addition to our efforts to leave less carbon footprints. What does it take to make a city appropriate for cycling? Few people investigate existing possibilities and make conscious choices. It is probably not much different to ‘bring up’ people in general than to bring up children: never give up and be consequent. Be aware that changes take time and do not change a strategy too quickly: be patient! It is better to continuously update and improve a strategy than to jump between an array of solutions.
So -c tea Jo -d
DESIGNBOOST – images from fall 2008 Boost chats at turning torso
Some of the participants: Michael Young - designer, Ilse Crawford - creative director and designer, Jeffrey Inaba - architect, Bjarke Ingels - architect, Shari Swan - consumer insight, Gert Wingårdh - architect, Ilkka Suppanen - designer, Cay Bond - trend researcher, Lisa White - horticulturalist, Sante Poromaa - zen buddhist teacher, Jody Turner - trend and future empowerment, Thomas Ermacora - sustainability designer, Jennifer Leonard designer writer, Anders Wilhemson - architect, John Manoochehri sustainability designer, Kristina Dryza - design strategist, Maria Cecilia Loschiavo - environmental design and philosophy , Satyendra Pakhale - designer
Boost talks at MalMö university
2007–2009 Fundingpartners Alcro Audi Arena City of Malmö Electrolux E.ON Fälth & Hässler Iittala IKEA Region Skåne Skanska Svensk Form Swedish EU presidency Thule
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SCHOOLS 180 Academy Beckmans college of design Columbia University Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design Design Academy Eindhoven Hyper Island KTH Royal institute of Technology Lund University Malmö University Oslo National Academy of the Arts University of Sao Paulo Columbia University Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
WORKINGPARTNERS Peer Eriksson David Carlson Mija Carlsson Kristina Börjesson Helen Wachmeister Madeleine Carlson Ahnell Felix Carlsson Mattias Wahlqvist Kim Borgström Jonas Elmqvist
DESIGNBOOST BOX 20032 200 74 MALMÖ SWEDEN www.designboost.se firstname.lastname@example.org Peer Eriksson; email@example.com +46705336631 David Carlson; firstname.lastname@example.org +46707982897
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DESIGN FOR LIFE sharing design knowledge
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14 OCTOBER â€“ 15 NOVEMBER 2009