Since its inception in 2011, ECAlab (Environmental Ceramics for Architecture Laboratory) has developed a number of research programmes which look to explore the possibilities of ceramics for sustainable technologies, while examining the role of emerging digital technologies alongside traditional ceramic craftsmanship skills. ECAlab is founded and directed by Rosa Urbano Gutiérrez and Amanda Wanner, and is part of an international network sponsored by ASCER (Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers of Spain), which includes groups from the schools of architecture of Harvard University (USA), Darmstadt University (Germany), and a number of universities in Spain (Alicante, Barcelona, Castellón, Madrid, and Valencia).
We have developed our own collaborative experience in the UK, bridging disciplinary boundaries and bringing together the University of Liverpool, Leeds Beckett University, Liverpool Hope University, and Glyndwr University with leading professionals, designers, engineers, architects and ceramicists to realise projects with an environmentally sustainable focus. Ultimately our aim is to develop new applications for ceramics within an architectural context and introduce emerging designers with new ways of thinking about this material. Our research-led teaching programme has developed through either summer workshops or integrated into the teaching curriculum at the LSA at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The programmes include high-profile speakers, training in specialist software (parametric and algorithmic design, CAD/CAM techniques for ceramic materials, daylighting design and daylighting simulation tools), and training in ceramics manufacturing techniques. The resulting projects use digital platforms to design forms and utilise file to factory techniques, which are then ultimately interpreted by time served craftsmen to generate bespoke and crafted pieces. This final stage engages ceramic artists to share their expertise with us, to harness the unique qualitative expression of ceramics as a material. In the first 5 years we have engaged 140 students, and have produced 85 innovative digital designs and 42 full-scale physical prototypes that explore the innovative use of clay in architecture.
Designers have the power to solve the world’s problems, but it may mean creating more systems and less stuff, says Dutch designer and environmentalist Babette Porcelijn.According to Porcelijn, designers are better equipped than any other profession to offer solutions to issues such as pollution, climate change and depletion of resources.
“Scientists can show us what we should not do, but we need designers to show us what we should do,” she told Dezeen.
“It requires a paradigm shift – you have to rethink everything. It’s a design issue and a design challenge.”
But she believes solutions can only be reached if designers start thinking about the bigger picture, rather than focusing on only one issue at a time.
“You have to think about all things combined,” she said. “If you focus on one single issue, you might just fix it, but you might make things worse in another area.”
Porcelijn trained as an industrial designer, but recently authored a book titled De Verborgen Impact (Hidden Impact), which reveals the full extent to which human actions affect the planet, including the things analysts don’t often account for.
“I never expected that products would be the number one impact on the world,” the designer told Dezeen, following the talk.
“It’s really surprising. I thought it would be flying or meat. But that’s the point – you don’t know and you can’t trust your intuition when it comes to the environment, because the blind spot of hidden impact is so big that our gut feeling is often not correct.”
Porcelijn is now calling for designers to completely rethink their approach. She believes design skills could, for instance, be better applied to developing sustainable new supply chains or solving the global food crisis.
“I think we all need to get our priorities straight,” she said. “Prior one is not your own design status or the money you make. All those things are inconsequential if there is no proper society functioning anymore!”
“Now is the time to make the right designs, and perhaps that means not designing something,” she continued. “It could mean designing an immaterial solution, to help people to not want to have a crazy abundance of stuff they don’t really need. It could be to design food that is sustainable but just as nice as the food we eat now. It could be to design a power supply that is sustainable and functions just as well as the ones we have now.”
“We have to do all these things if we want to save our society.”
Amy Frearson: Can you tell me how and why you got started on this project?
Babette Porcelijn: I started in the beginning of 2014. I was at home with my husband, and he showed me some graphics produced by the Club of Rome. The Club of Rome is a group of scientists working together to try and predict the future. They predict that, by 2030, the whole system may collapse because all the problems have become so huge that the system will fail.
My husband said, did you know that the 16 biggest sea container ships in the world are just as polluting as all the cars combined? And there aren’t just 16 of those things, there are 50,000 travelling the world 24/7. And what they do is they bring products, stuff to our shops, and grain to our bakeries and coal to our power plants, so that we can buy everything, eat cookies, plug in our phones.
He made a calculation that every day we lose 27 million trees more than we plant. I was so surprised about that. He told me that deforestation is not just a problem because of CO2 balance – obviously trees need to absorb CO2 and they can’t do that anymore – but also because of the biodiversity in forests, they hold the fertile soil. So if you deforest the landscape, fertile soil may wash away and you can’t regrow it. It’s often an irreversible process.
Also, where there is forest there is rain. One tree produces about 5,000 litres of water per day, through clouds. If you take trees away, it will become dry in the area. So forest is so important.
Did you know that the 16 biggest sea container ships in the world are just as polluting as all the cars combined?
I asked him, if forests are so important for everything, why would you ever fell a tree? He said, in many cases, it’s to make way for soy plantations. To make fodder for cattle. So, in the end, it’s for the meat on our plate.
All of this made me realise things were so much worse than I had thought. And it’s directly linked to our consumerism and the way we live. We are way more responsible than we want to know. We live in a bubble and I want to look outside that bubble.
In that moment, it was if I had been struck by lightening. I said, I’m going to start a project and I don’t know where it ends, but I’m going to do something – it’s too important to leave it. And in the end I wrote a book and I never stopped again.
Amy Frearson: So the book is about identifying all the things that cause problems for the world, and showing how they compare to one another?
Babette Porcelijn: Yes, because as a designer, you try to get a grip on the whole problem and not just the parts. And then of course, as a designer, you want to solve the problem – that’s what we do. So I’m looking for the most effective ways to solve these problems.
I took in a much broader perspective than most environmentalists would ever do. I was told when I was writing this book that it was too broad, but I said I was going to do it anyway, because we have to know how these things work, so that we can make the problem actionable.
We don’t have the time to spoil, wasting our energy on things that don’t really matter
The other people on the panel [for the Good Design for a Bad World talk] said you have to keep it small, because you can’t change the world. But I don’t agree – you can change the world, if you know what the big things are and make them actionable. Otherwise you might waste your energy on things that don’t really matter. And we don’t have the time to spoil, wasting our energy on things that don’t really matter. We have to be very effective in the way we solve our problems.
Amy Frearson: So, for issues such as climate change, what can designers do to make things actionable and make a real difference?
Babette Porcelijn: First of all, you can’t think just think about climate change, you have to think about all things combined. If you focus on one single issue, you might just fix it, but you might make things worse in another area.
For instance, if we want to stop using fossil fuels, which of course we do, but we then can use biomass because that’s CO2-neutral. But it’s not eco-neutral because if we use biomass to feed our power plants, we need all this land to grow biomass and there’s no space left for agriculture. So you have to look at the whole system and then come up with solutions.
Amy Frearson: Designers usually approach one problem at a time. But you’re saying these problems require us to think bigger?
Babette Porcelijn: They do. And I think, if one profession can do it, it should be designers. To look at the whole system and think big, then identify what you can do that is effective, then bring it down to something that you can actually do. Even if its small, make sure it’s as effective as possible.
Amy Frearson: Can you give any examples?
Babette Porcelijn: There are all kinds of philosophical systems of thinking. But a really easy example for individuals is: you can do things better, different or less. Three lines of thinking.
If you take beef, for example, which has the biggest impact of any meat. A better piece of meat would be chicken – it has less impact. Something different would be a vegetarian burger. And less is obviously smaller portions and not as often.
These lines of thought can help you come up with ideas and changes.
Amy Frearson: Can you tell me some of the most surprising findings from your research?
Babette Porcelijn: I fell off my chair a couple of times! First of all, I never expected that products would be the number one impact on the world. It’s really surprising. I thought it would be flying or meat. But that’s the point – you don’t know and you can’t trust your intuition when it comes to the environment, because the blind spot of hidden impact is so big that our gut feeling is often not correct. And that’s what I ran into all the time. If you really dive into it then you uncover what the real big things are.
I was really surprised when I found out the main source of microplastics/microbeads. I really thought it would be hair shampoo or toothpaste. But they are nothing compared to tyre wear from cars. Driving a car for just one kilometre, you emit more microbeads than you do in a year in your bathroom. That was really surprising to me.
Amy Frearson: For those who don’t know what microbeads are and how they contribute to pollution, can you give a brief explanation?
Babette Porcelijn: Microbeads go into water, into the oceans. They are plastic soup.
Amy Frearson: They contribute to ocean plastic?
Babette Porcelijn: Yes, but they are not just harmful in the sea. They are also harmful in the soil and in the air. When plastic is in the soil it might be getting into our food system, we don’t know, but we do know that animals eat it. Worms eat it and birds eat worms so it gets inside the birds. We don’t have any idea of the consequences of this. But we do now that it’s everywhere.
To close the loops we have to start working together with the whole production chain, not just one supplier
Amy Frearson: What are the best systems to tackle these types of problems? Should we be promoting more closed-loop systems, or simply reducing our consumption? Or do we need to develop more complex systems?
Babette Porcelijn: We have to do all of those things – reducing our use drastically and also closing the loops. And in order to close the loops we have to start working together with the whole production chain, not just one supplier.
Usually we just look one supplier down the line and then we buy sustainable stuff and think we are doing the right thing. But if you really close the loop then you see the whole supply chain work together and make that circular. It’s a totally different way of thinking and operating, and its also a design challenge to come up with product and material and business models which allow for supply chains to be closed. It’s way different to how we work now.
Amy Frearson: In design, people often seem to be obsessed with originality – so if one designer adopts a certain sustainable approach, or works with a particular recycled material, other designers are put off doing the same thing. Is this a problem you’ve picked up on?
Babette Porcelijn: I think we all need to get our priorities straight. Prior one is not your own design status or the money you make. All those things are inconsequential if there is no proper society functioning anymore! That sounds dramatic, but if we continue like this, we are facing a non-functioning economy. Then you’re there with your beautiful designs but it doesn’t matter anymore.
Our priority number one should be to keep the planet and our society safe.
Now is the time to make the right designs, and perhaps that means not designing something. It could mean designing an immaterial solution, to help people to not want to have a crazy abundance of stuff they don’t really need. It could be to design food that is sustainable but just as nice as the food we eat now. It could be to design a power supply that is sustainable and functions just as well as the ones we have now. And to help corporations do it and help the industry do it and to help the government with ways to stimulate us. We have to do all these things if we want to save our society.
What I want to know is what the world will look like in 2050 if we start doing the right thing now
If you don’t want to then that’s your choice, it’s not up to me, but if you do want to then I can help to show you the most effective way. And if I don’t have the answers, because I don’t have all the answers, I can at least make sure that you ask the right questions before you start.
Amy Frearson: Now that the book is published, what are your next steps for this project?
Babette Porcelijn: What I want to know is what the world will look like in 2050 if we start doing the right thing now. It puts a dot on the horizon and I hope it inspires people and helps to align our goals.
Scientists can show us what we should not do, but we need designers to show us what we should do. It requires a paradigm shift – you have to rethink everything. It’s a design issue and a design challenge. I think it’s cool.
Do you know Joseph Campbell’s model for how you find your bliss? It’s comprised of four circles and where they overlap, that’s where your bliss is. One circle is what the world needs, the second is what the world will pay for, the third is what you love to do and the fourth is what you’re good at. To find your bliss, you need a mix of those four things.
I think I have found mine and that makes me so happy. I can only imagine it works like that for more people. So for young designers wanting to save the world, find your way to do it in a way that you like, and in a way that the world will pay for. Otherwise it’s not going to be as effective.
Daan Roosegaarde has called on designers to shift focus away from designing luxury items and instead to tackle the problems facing the world such as pollution.
In an interview with Dezeen as part of our Good Design for a Bad World project, the Dutch designer said that humanity needs new ideas to help speed up the transition between the destructive thinking of the past.
“For me design is not about making another chair or another lamp,” Roosegaarde said. “Good design, good luxury is not about a Louis Vuitton bag or a Ferrari, it’s about clean air, clean water, clean energy.”
He said designers should not wait around for politicians or corporations to ask them to solve big problems but should instead start grassroots movements for change.
“Don’t wait for permission; start working, start acting,” he said. That’s what the world needs today. It’s about big challenges, big designs, big proposals but it’s also about making it really small and showing the beauty of the world.”
Roosegaarde is tacking pollution with Smog Free Tower
Roosegaarde has received worldwide recognition for his Smog Free Tower project, which removes pollutants from the air. Initiated four years ago, the project is now expanding to India, Columbia, Mexico and Poland.
The project began four years ago with a Kickstarter campaign and the towers have already appeared in Beijing, Rotterdam and Milan.
“Nobody called me four years ago and said ‘Will you please make a smog-free tower?'” Roosegaarde said. “That didn’t happen. We started it ourselves, we did a Kickstarter campaign, we just launched it then the media picked it up and then suddenly the governments started to wake up.”
Rotterdam-based Roosegaarde has also launched a Smog Free Ring, which contains carbon removed from the air in Beijing by the Smog Free Towers.
“This is Beijing smog,” he said, holding up a bag of black carbon particles, which make up 42 per cent of the pollutants captured by his towers. “This is in our lungs right now. If you are in Oxford Street in London, or Beijing, it’s the same as smoking 17 cigarettes per day in a passive way that you inhale. This is not the good world that we envisioned.”
Each ring contains compressed carbon – the element that forms diamonds – representing a thousand square metres of polluted air. “By sharing a ring you donate a thousand cubic meters of clean air to the city,” he said. “We have wedding couples purchasing the rings to get married.”
Designers focused on sustainability at Dutch Design Week
Speaking to Dezeen in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week last month, Roosegaarde praised the way that young designers exhibiting in the city were turning their attention away from luxury goods and expensive furniture.
“It’s really good to see Dutch Design Week shifting that focus,” he said. “Design can improve life.”
Roosegaarde said that radical new ideas are required to help bring about a shift in attitudes around the world. “It’s very clear the existing system is crashing in terms of the economy, in terms of the air pollution,” he said. “Right now cities have become machines that are killing us.”
Designers have been unconsciously complicit in creating the problems the world faces, he suggested. “Somehow the situation we are in is bad design, it’s unconscious design,” he said. “We’re designing a world that has CO2 emissions, pollution etc. My proposal would be: let’s design our way out of it!”
During Dutch Design Week, Dezeen hosted a series of talks which discussed how design can help tackle major problems the world is facing.
Önce sanal gerçeklik, sonrasında arttırılmış gerçeklik ve son olarak da karıştırılmış gerçeklik uygulamaları hayatımıza gelişen teknolojinin ve ucuzlayan maliyetlerin sonucu olarak girmiş bulunuyor. Sanılanın aksine sanal gerçeklik deneyiminden oldukça farklı olan karıştırılmış gerçeklik teknolojisi, hibrit sistem olarak da adlandırılıyor. Hibrit, yani karışık. Aslında bu teknolojinin ismi, teknolojinin çalışma prensibini de çok net olarak açıklamakta. Gerçek hayattaki nesneleri ve bilgisayar ile yaratılan sanal nesneleri karıştırılmış gerçeklik gözlüğünü taktığımızda aynı anda, aynı ortamda bağdaştırmaya çalışıyoruz. Örneğin bu, ayakları gerçek ancak gövdesinin sanal olduğu bir köprü de olabilir; blokları internet üzerinden çekilerek bir araya getirilmiş bir kadavra da.
Kullanım alanı ülkemizde henüz yaygınlaşmakta olan bu teknoloji, üniversitemiz Sanat ve Tasarım Bölümü başkanı ve İç Mimarlık ve Çevre Tasarımı Bölümü öğretim üyelerinden Yrd. Doç. Dr. Ahmet Fatih Karakaya önderliğinde, Tasarım yüksek lisans öğrencilerimizden Hande Yazıcı ile birlikte yürüttükleri bir araştırma projesinin konusu. Ekibe bir de Hacettepe Üniversitesi Seramik Bölümü öğretim üyelerinden Doç. Feyza Özgündoğdu çalışmalarıyla destek veriyor. Projeye nasıl başlayıp, hayata nasıl geçirdiklerini kendilerine sorduk. Henüz yeni kullanım alanı bulan bu teknolojinin sanat ve tasarım eğitimi alanında kullanılabilir hale getirilmesi için gerekli araştırma, geliştirme ve uygulama çalışmaları yapmaya devam ettiklerini öğrendik.
Ekip, teknolojinin nasıl kullanıldığını kavradıktan sonra artık bu teknolojiyi nasıl bir adım daha öteye taşıyabileceklerinin araştırmasında. Gerekli deneme ve test uygulamalarıyla tespit ettikleri ihtiyaçları Microsoft’a geri bildirim vererek yazılımın iyileştirilmesi ve gerekli güncellemelerin getirilmesi için çalışıyorlar. Araştırmalarında, Microsoft HoloLens içinde var olan HoloBlocks adında bir hazır blok uygulaması yardımıyla Temel Sanat ve Temel Tasarım eğitimlerinin daha verimli ve yaratıcılık destekleyici olarak geliştirilmesi hedefleniyor.
Yaratıcılığın eğitimin her alanında ve doğrudan büyük yer sahibi olduğunu vurgulayan araştırmacılar, bu çalışmalar sonucunda teknoloji ve yaratıcılığın ne kadar iç içe iki olgu olduğunu ispatlayarak, bu teknolojiyi eğitimde kolaylaştırıcı olarak kullanılabilir hale getirmeyi hedefliyorlar.
Haber: İpek Aksel – İç Mimarlık ve Çevre Tasarımı Bölümü
Data Clay gathers innovators in the fields of ceramic design and digital fabrication to expand and subvert the typical expectations and limitations associated with both traditional materials and new technologies.
Data Clay connects a nascent movement of architects, artists, and designers exploring the medium of ceramics coupled with new digital technologies. In recent years, a renewed interest in the potential transformation of basic materials into complex hybrid systems has pushed ceramics to the forefront of innovation in the allied design fields. By sharing innovative projects and techniques, Data Clay aims to promote continued research into this digital reworking of the earth.
Inhabitat.com is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.