sustainability & design

Keep Your Stuff Alive

The Tending and Grooming Station (below) is a wondrous collection of combs, brushes and other obscure (to me) gadgets. They are used to primp and revive pre-loved sweaters and cardigans that have been disfigured by bobbles and pilling – those unattractive fuzz balls that appear when short fibers misbehave on woolen garments.  Every object has a dark […]

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A ‘Wild Mirror’ For Desk-Bound Workers

A new scheme in England connects office workers with living systems by means of a ‘wild mirror’: each workspace is twinned with an equivalent area of ecosystem regeneration.  The restoration of degraded ecosystems — or creating new ones — is gathering pace in different parts of the world.  According to Richard Coniff, China is planting […]

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Venice: from Gated Lagoon to Bioregion

Computer rendering by Christian Kerrigan. Rachel Armstrong, who develops synthetic biology applications for the built environment, believes it could be possible to grow an artificial limestone reef underneath Venice using ‘metabolic materials’ – photosensitive protocells, engineered to be light averse. Her idea is to stop the city sinking into the soft mud on which its foundations […]

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Old Growth

[Photography courtesy of  Marc Adamus] Here follows the talk I gave last week at the Global Design Forum in London.   “Last week I went a restored paper mill in a tiny village in the middle of Sweden. I was there (*) to meet a bunch of people who’ve been given a uniquely challenging task: make the bedroom and […]

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What Is, Or Is Not, A ‘Green Job’ ?

 

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Why White Is Wicked

[Photograph by Tim Mitchell] You probably need to be naked to read this book with a clear conscience. This reader, for one, felt like stripping off as the revelations piled up: – it took 700 gallons of fresh water to make my cotton t-shirt; – it’s partly down to me that 85% of the Aral Sea […]

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How to game the gift economy

In pre-market-based societies, goods and services were distributed on the basis of gift-giving and reciprocity. The most effective strategy for security, in an age without bank accounts and insurance policies, was to develop a reputation for generosity and sharing. This is a heart-warming story – so shall we put it to the test? Here follows a case […]

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Man and Nature, Re-Connected

There are times when you have to wonder whether ad industry persons totally, er, get it, on the matter of man’s disconnect with nature… and what to do about it. This Aigle ad, which I tore out the Air France magazine, reads “For the re-introduction of man in nature”. Yeah, right. And go buy some […]

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Edible Architecture

Today seems to be the day when, once a year in this part of France, every spider in the region spins her best possible web at the same moment. Early in the morning, when covered in dew, the whole landscape seems to be dotted with uncountable millions of these amazing structures. Now spider’s web, as […]

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