Designing A Sustainable Tomorrow
We attended The Other Way: Designing A Sustainable Tomorrow, a one-day symposium organised by Maison/0 and held at the Design Museum.
Focussing on the challenge of making the world more sustainable and featuring a broad body of work by designers, artists, researchers, architects and storytellers, the day embodied Maison/0’s position as an incubator of sustainable intelligence.
Opening the event, prof. Carole Collet, CSM LVMH Director of Sustainable Innovation (Maison/0) set the scene with the stark reminder that despite having just the one planet we currently consume 1.7 planets worth of resources. The UN estimates that by 2050 the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.
Consuming less, producing less and using waste as a raw material are well understood responses to the challenges caused by global warming. But at the symposium we were treated to some more thought-provoking solutions.
Keynote speaker Arne Hendriks suggests that as our resources dwindle, a ‘simple’ solution would be to shrink ourselves into abundance. Indeed, it’s not unheard of in nature; the marine iguana shrinks its body by 20% when food is scarce in the summer months. Hendriks asks why as a society we are so obsessed with growth, when shrinking could be the answer? As urban populations continue to rise and the spaces in cities diminish, the concept is certainly intriguing.
Sanne Visser is another designer thinking laterally rather than literally. Having identified that the amount of hair waste produced each year is almost identical to the amount of wasted plastic fishing nets, a neat solution is to turn that human hair waste into rope. Lost fishing nets are a significant ocean pollutant and biodegradable alternatives such as this are an exciting area of exploration.
This symposium was also a great opportunity for us to (re)discover the latest projects of designers well known to the MIX team, Fernando Laposse, Yesenia Thibault-Picazo, and Agne Kucerenkaite in addition to a raft of new designers. From architects working with algae to improve their buildings’ efficiency, or scientists creating plant-robot hybrids, presentations were notably transparent and open. Driven by a desire to make the world a better place, speakers dissimulated very little of their process in an encouragingly collaborative environment.
Cross industry and discipline collaboration are the key to reversing some of the effects of pollution and global warming. Economists, designers, architects, scientists and educators learning from each other and finding solutions they couldn’t have imagined by thinking inside the box.