This is an interesting video about urban farming in Tokyo, Japan. A recruitment firm in the centre of the city has integrated greenery into its office space, even using the harvested produce in the staff canteen. Fruit sprouts from the ceilings, while other plants serve as partitions in the open plan areas. The subtitles are a little difficult to see, so I would advise to watch the video on a larger screen.
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.
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.
“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.”
Products 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.
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 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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
All photos courtesy of Nigel Rigden.
Furniture Magpies create furniture from discarded materials, providing an alternative to adding to landfills. These unique constellations that use a combination of discarded furniture, look more like art than functional objects.
“Furniture Magpies offers an alternative to mass produced furniture, specialising in regenerating old furniture to meet the desires of modern consumers.”
This coat stand is made with the back of several dining chairs, the design blends different chair styles while retaining the individuality of each component.
Furniture Magpies emphasise the importance of the history and memories carried by the pieces that make up the final product.
“Our work strives to retain the character and story of the furniture we use, allowing the user an insight into their items original identity.”
All of these items are also available at moorbi.com.