Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

I knew drinking bottled water was fairly pointless when it is as good as free from the tap however Annie Leonard's short film opened my eyes to how big a problem bottled water is. For staters she explains that in studies around the world bottled water is constantly failing in taste test in comparison to tap water and yet people pay a massive 2000 times more to drink a lesser product. What also suprised me was the amount of bottled water that is consumed. People in the US can circle the world 5 times with the bottles of water they drink per week! Thats not even in a year! To make matters even worse Annie Leonard goes on to explain that a third of this bottled water is only filtered tap water anyway! That means that people are purchasing the exact same product they can get for free and are in fact just adding to landfills and polution. I thought bottles were usually recycled back into bottles however Annie shows that they are being recycled to lesser products which end up in landfill or get incinerated into pollution. I think its good that people are starting to realise the stupidity of bottled water and are reverting back to tap water. Hopefully this will progress and the amount of bottled water consumed will reduce dramatically saving peoples money and more importantly saving the environment.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Design For Life

I think Starcks philosophy of design is great and his avant guarde approach to design definitely stands out from the rest, even if some of the designs arent as practical as they could be. On a whole however I think the show was relatively unsuccessful. The designers that became a part of the competition hardly possessed much skill and knowledge of design which was somewhat of a surprise. A lot of the contestants were design graduates and appeared to produce ideas that were very basic not to mention they didn't even have an understanding of CAD programs and some couldn't even draw - I mean what did they even study at uni? The only person who seemed to have some understanding was Ilsa, as she should being a product design lecturer, however even her presentation of concepts was unclear. I found it very suprising that when presenting to one of the best designers in the world in a competition, none of the contestants presented in a professional way. Each episode I thought their presentations would gain a bit more 'wow' factor but they never did and only with the inclusion of their models, not even made by them, did their concepts come together. I think the show would have been much more successful if the applicants to the competition were chosen more carefully or if the show was more of an insight into Starcks way of thinking.

I think one of the stand out points though was that "designers must question if they need to make more products". In the end it is going to be up to designers to create products that are sustainable and not just ones made to replace a previous one. Product Designs need to produces product which are more timeless such as the example of the glass bowl which Ilsa brought it. Products must be things of value that should be held onto and not so easily replaced. We must look out to the world when designing to help it and each other "your internal search is your own personality, your memories, your recollections, the creative influences that you've soaked up over time. The second source of ideas comes from looking outside, from observation, talking to people, from seeing what's happening in the world around us."

One final point that stuck out to me was when the contestants had to follow up their concepts with branding and advertising. I thought it was interesting that designers much take part in their advertising and brand image to convey the right message of their product. "A Brand is 3 things, a promise, an experience and a memory" i thought this was a very interesting quote because it simply describes how important the image of a product can be.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The 11th Hour

"The environment is going to survive. We are the ones who will not survive or live in a world that we don't want to live in."

With the need for environmental change always on the news and being argued over by government parties, the general public can tend to tune out thinking that it is out of their control, or that the problem is not as bad as it seems and easily ressolveable. The 11th hour reaches the average person on a far better level, explaining the impacts of the human race on the world we live in, backed with the opinions of a number of studies and experts in their fields. The inclusion of Leonardo Decaprio also allows for a stronger connection with the public as it is someone they know and trust to a certain extent.

The first half of the film is acctually very confronting and shocking when it becomes apparent how unsustainable our lifestyles are. "The amazing thing about the human body is that it has 100 trillion cells and 90% of them are not human cells." we are an integration of nature and evolution, derived from single cells millions of years ago on a planet that meets the perfect conditions for life. this shows how precious our planet is to us and how we are not incontrol of it nor are we better then it, we are a part of it and the systems that work with it. The interesting part is that it is the same evolutionary advantages which made us the most successful species on Earth, which are leading to a downfall and untapping us from nature.

Every system running naturally in the world is becoming undone and interupted by what we are doing to it. Everybody seems to know about the carbon polution in the air and the implications of deforestation, however people seem to be unaware of the accelerated decline of other systems such as the ocean, coral reefs, climatic control, froest cover, conditions of soil, biodiversity etc. "The fact is there isn't one living system that is stable or is improving." All of these systems are similtaniously collapsing from our impact, "we face a convergence of crises". This is quite a confronting concept when we come to the relization that all these systems have grown over millions of years and ahve adapted millions of species, however it is only one species on Earth that is destroying all of them - us. What we seem to have lost a connection to is that all these systems support all life in the world which include us, so affectively "we're committing suicide".

"If human beings are the source of the problem then we can be the foundation of the solution"

Not all is lost. Although the documentary conveys a grim outlook, it merely aims to show the desperate state for change that we face and that we need to come to this realisation quickly so that we can begin fixing it. The exciting (and challenging) part of people with the role of designing is "we get to reimagine every single thing we do...this generation gets to completely change this world".

The biggest point that the documentary portrays is that for us to succeed, in this epic task to restablish the world we live in to make it sustainable, we must all work together and every little thing helps. "Everbody making a change adds up to something meaningful" people only have to do small things to contribute whether it be switching off lights or having the right tire pressure.

I think the most interesting points we actually showing how affectively nature does things sustainably better than we can. For instance that way in which we produce materials is by heating them with fossil fuels and forming them under immence pressure and yet a spiders strand of web, stronger than steel, is made from just water and chemistry within the abdomen of the spider - no heat, no fossil fuels - an incredibly strong material that is completely sustainable. we regain our attachment to nature and survive with it instead of above it, to produce a sustainable way of life that we can live in for centuries to come.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Charette Reflection

The charette was an encouraging new experience that conveyed a very diverse amount of ideas. It showed me that more thought needs to go into the attachment to products so that they don't get thrown out as fast. Many products are thrown out far before their time and it is our job as designers to lengthen the attachment consumers have with the products so it does not quickly become landfill. I found that the most interesting way in which designers can do this is by playing on the users psychology creating memories and emotional attachments to everyday products that would urge the user to hold onto that product for a very long time.

I think designing beyond the original product is also very important. It can aid in the lifespan of the product and also lengthen the time that the user wishes to be with the product. By creating aftermarket attachments products can be reinvented and the user will not move on from the product as quickly.

The collabrative problem solving I thought was really productive. In short intervals people were put under pressure to push out a number of concepts. This led to a very diverse range of ideas and as we moved through the stages these ideas became better and better from each person as repercussion of the groups discussions and pin ups.

If I were to now design a piece of furniture from scratch I would come up with a range of concepts to increase the userability of the piece of furniture and extend its attachment to the user. These concepts could then be looked through and relevant ones could be chosen to be incorporated into the product.

Final Concept

For the final design concept the form of the chair has been modified to create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance and increased comfort. The proposed idea is the the back rest could come in a range of different shapes and designs, perhaps also different colours (if the chair was coloured to). The 2 back legs which hold the back rest in place would have female sockets in which the different rests could quickly be clipped into. by making the design of the chair more diverse the consumer would have a greater emotional attachment to it as they would be involved in the design of the chair. Consumers may wish to change the design of the chair over the years as they get bored or have a change of circumstances. In the case of which they do need to change the rest, the user could go back to the store with their old back rest for a discount on their new one. The old back rest could then be recycled. the shape of both the back rest and the seat would incorporate more of a sculpted for to increase ergonomic comfortablility. Formed plywood is the proposed material that would be used.

Charette Mind Maps