LDF 2013: The Endless Stair

Endless Stair_Model by dRMM (02)

American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) will be exhibiting the Endless Stair outside the Tate Modern during the London Design Festival (LDF). The European Director of the AHEC stated why he chose LDF to promote the performance and value of hardwood as a sustainable material.

“Without doubt, the London Design Festival…[is] a truly dynamic and creative event that is both good fun and a serious platform to reach global design communities.”

Update – Event Cancelled – Design for Good at the Living Furniture Project

Sadly I have just been informed that the event below has been cancelled, however see the links below to find out about Wasteland the inspiring documentary by Vik Muniz and the Living Furniture Project in their new showroom/cafe in 22-26 Farringdon Lane. Please see our feed on the right hand column of the blog for more info on upcoming events. I will also be posting more on the London Design Festival for the next two weeks.

VIK MUNIZ LOOKS DOWN AT MAGNA'S PHOTO AND PORTRAIT  (SCREEN GRAB) Artwork courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

VIK MUNIZ LOOKS DOWN AT MAGNA’S PHOTO AND PORTRAIT
(SCREEN GRAB) Artwork courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

Next Monday, 16 September, there will be a screening of the award winning documentary Wasteland, as part of London Design Week. The film surrounds a landfill in Rio, Brazil and the lives of those that live and work on the site, while artist Vik Muniz creates art using discarded objects he finds among the rubbish.

LFP's workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

LFP’s workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

The event will be hosted by the Living Furniture Project at their fantastic new space in 22-26 Farringdon Lane in London and will feature talks and discussions as part of the evening. The speakers include representatives from Friends of the Earth, The Living Furniture Project’s very own Donna Walker, the renowned furniture designer Paul Kelley and product designer Erin Deighton. There will also be video art by Tom Sachs, which will be screened throughout.

To register click here.

Gearing up for the London Design Festival

It’s almost time for the London Design Festival and some designers are already holding events to start off the spirit. Hendzel + Hunt will be holding a workshop this weekend surrounding their 100 hour challenge to build a number of benches along a stretch of the Regent’s Canal in Hackney, East London. The challenge appears to be inspired by a distinct lack of benches along this section of the waterway:

“Regent’s Canal is appreciated by commuters, families and tourists. On one of its busiest stretches, from Broadway Market to Victoria Park, not a single bench can be found to rest or contemplate. That is why we’ll create a 100h challenge to build 10 iconic benches which we will place during LDF.”

Limewharf multitranfbench Hackney

There will be countless fantastic events and exhibitions all over London to coincide with the festival, and while there are the obvious hot spots such as 100% Design and Tent London, a number of smaller venues will also be hosting some very noteworthy events. Our calendar feed on the right hand column of this blog will keep you updated on the hottest goings on surrounding designers specialising in sustainable and reclaimed materials. For more information about the Design Festival watch this video.

A Repurposed Australian Tin Shed

While it has become easier to travel in a more authentic and creative way thanks to the internet and sites like Airbnb and couch surfing, this also counts for the buildings that you can stay in. This iconic tin shed in the Sydney suburb of Redfern (which is available to book through Airbnb) was built with repurposed corrugated iron.

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In Australia corrugated iron is perhaps a more common building material than in European countries. This house has combined modern architecture with the rusty metal to depict the industrial past of the Sydney suburb.

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Australian architect Rafaello Rosselini, whose aim was to repurpose an old tin shed at the back of a residential lot, describes the original building and the renovation process:

“The shed in its current state was dilapidated and structurally unsound. The original tin shed was disassembled and set aside while a new timber frame was erected. The layers of corrugated iron accumulated over generations of repair were reassembled on three facades.”

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The grooves in the large metal sheets create an unusual facade at the front of the building, while the varying shades of rust and old paint create a worn out look you would be more likely to find in a scrap yard.

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Inside the spotless white walls and the sleek wooden floors, show that salvage does not need to result in a compromise in style or quality.

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On Rosselini’s website it states that the “project embraces that it will continue to change with time through rust, decay and repair.”

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Photographs: Mark Syke, Richard Carr

Shake the Dust: Woven Bowls by Quazi Design

Apart from making beautiful jewellery, Quazi Design have a lot more to offer. These beautiful woven bowls combine bright colours and elegant smooth shapes to form the perfect bowl for your home.

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The brand, which is based in Swaziland, takes pride in its African style while also having a strong belief in sustainability and respect for the environment.

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Quazi Design is a member of SWIFT Swaziland fair trade network and has worked closely with other local handcraft businesses. The range of woven bowls uses simple patterns to create a unique look typical for the small African Kingdom while combining it with a modern style.

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“The business was co-founded by Doron, a designer from the UK and Flotsam, the local magazine distributors. Doron became the driving force behind the enterprise and since 2009 has lived and worked in Swaziland building a sustainable business model with a dynamic balance between economic and social goals, believing that design driven handcraft can be a powerful tool for empowerment and economic independence. The core of our business is pushing the boundaries of craft and sustainable design through innovative techniques and continuous product development.”

Shake_the_Dust_GoneRural_Bonakele_Block_Weave_Set_Red_001_CDWProducts by Quazi design are also available at Shake the Dust a design brand which specialises in ethical products and sources, commissions and sells hand-made, luxury homeware and accessories.

Global Approaches to Upcycling: Plastic bottle lights transforming lives

Upcycling is something natural and something very human. Creativity in a practical sense is not unique to designers. While upcycling has taken of as a trend in many countries, showing people both the value and the beauty of reuse, it is also changing lives. You can find upcycling pretty much everywhere, whether it is intentional or purely practical and out of necessity. Different countries and cultures will take on different approaches to upcycling but ideas seem to be everywhere. Alfredo Moser a man living in Southern Brazil has invented a very simple light using a plastic bottle some water and a drop of bleach. These incredibly cost effective lights are changing the lives of countless people in the Philippines where these ingenious inventions are being installed to save people spending money on very expensive electricity. It shows that sometimes the best inventions are the most basic ones.

The Exbury Egg: A Floating Art Studio

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

The Exbury Egg which is now floating in the Beaulieu Estuary, is possibly the first water born artist’s studio. It was designed to combine art, architecture and sustaining a fragile marine environment. Artist, Stephen Turner, who specialises in long term artistic explorations of environmental settings, worked with the designers to create the Egg.

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

He is using the wooden structure as a floating ‘residency’ for a year, to allow him to examine the changing patterns of its marine ecology and to produce artwork that raises awareness of the importance of protecting such fragile places.

“I wanted to intervene in the landscape at a key moment when climate change is already creating new shorelines and habitats. Established salt marsh is being eroded by a combination of rising sea levels and falling landmass and the entire littoral environment is in a state of flux. The implications for wildlife and flora as well as people are challenging and raise awareness of a particularly 21st century sort of tension.”

Steven Turner. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Steven Turner. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

The project is led by the Space Placemaking and Urban Design (SPUD Group). SPUD project manager, Phil Smith explains:

“Everything about this project looks to the value of our environment and sustainability; from the design and build of the Egg, to working with Stephen Turner to raise awareness of environmental change, to creating a cross curriculum education programme for schools and colleges.”

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

The inspiration for the Egg came from nesting seabirds on the shore and was designed by Stephen Turner in conjunction with PAD studio. It was built locally, by boat-builder Paul Baker, the cold moulded cedar plywood sheathed structure is approximately 6 metres long and 2.8 metres in diameter. The ageing of the wood will also be tracked by Turner.

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Stephen explains his pivotal role in the project:

“My contribution to the design concept of the structure itself was its symbolic egg form, that will decay and change during my occupation; turning the egg into a calendar revealing the impact of 365 days of changing weather and tides upon its surface. My idea is to show that nothing is forever and that understanding and welcoming such change should be part of our sustainable relationship with the rest of nature.”

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg showing the bathroom unit Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg showing the bathroom unit Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Power will be provided from a series of photovoltaic panels which will trickle feed into several domestic car batteries that the artist will change over on a weekly basis. This will allow him to run a computer and charge a mobile phone so that some contact with the outside world is maintained. Monitoring devices will provide daily data readings of the amount of energy being generated and consumed which will be displayed on the project website.

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Grey and black waste will be fed into holding tanks which will have to be carried by the artist to a local septic tank, and fresh water will be brought on board on a daily basis.

The project architect, Wendy Perring, explains:

“It was our intent to explore the creation of a minimal impact live/work structure, using materials with a low embodied energy sourced within a twenty mile radius, and put together by a team of local craftsmen using centuries old techniques. We want to test the minimum someone needs to live quite comfortably, and how we can minimise the impact on the environment.”

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Inspired by the estuary and its ecology, Stephen Turner will incorporate the Egg into his artwork; a developing record of his work will be available for the public to see at Exbury Gardens and on the project website.

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

All photos courtesy of Nigel Rigden.