Case Study on Elio Studio in new book: Sustainable Thinking

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I’m delighted to say that Elio Studio is featured in a new book by Aaris Sherin called Sustainable Thinking. My good friend and collaborator Chris Haughton is also featured for his amazing fair trade work with Node rugs.

During the writing of the book, Chris very kindly suggested that Aaris speak to me about my design storytelling work with Elio Studio. And so it came to pass that Chris and I are case study neighbours in this excellent book on design thinking and management in sustainability, published by Bloomsbury.

The case study on Elio Studio is a full six pages long (whoop!) and features several of our projects, including The Butterfly Effect and One Planet Living. You can find the link to a PDF of the case study below, but here is a quick excerpt.

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Creating solutions

‘Collaboration is important because the issues surrounding sustainable innovation are complex,’ says Oppenheim. To create the most relevant solutions, she suggests that ‘a networked systems approach is needed and the best way to do that is to leave our disciplinary silos and cross pollinate with others.’ Not every designer is suited to working in multidisciplinary, less-defined situations. Connectors, translators and managers are needed. To that end, Oppenheim acts like a ringmaster for Elio Studio. Different types of projects require distinct expertise and the number of people working on a job will vary depending on a project’s scope, budget and the skill sets needed to produce the intended outputs.

PDF: Sustainable-Thinking-Elio-Studio-Case-Study

You can buy the book on Amazon or direct from Bloomsbury.

As well as Chris Haughton and Elio Studio, Sustainable Thinking features other brilliant people who have inspired me over the years including Valerie Casey of The Designers Accord, Safia Minney of People Tree, Emily Pilloton of Project H Design and Duke Stump of The North Star Manifesto and Do Lectures USA – it’s choca block with brilliant design ideas to make the world a better place.

Jonathan Chapman, Course Leader MA Sustainable Design, University of Brighton – says this about it:

“Sustainable Thinking jettisons the tired rhetoric of sustainable design debate; boldly repositioning design-thinkers of all disciplines at the creative and intellectual heart of our search for solutions.”

 

 

Designing an exhibition about scarcity and creativity in the built environment

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At the end of April I saw a tweet from Jeremy Till, now head of Central St Martins, that was essentially a cry for creative help. He needed a designer and curator for an exhibition about his SCIBE  (Scarcity and Creativity In The Built Environment) research project. The brief was challenging: the original curator had pulled out at the last minute due to ill health and suddenly there was only four weeks to produce a show about a three year research project. It sounded like just the kind of crazy job I like. Sensibly Jeremy decided this wasn’t a job for one person and riding to the rescue alongside me came the amazing Crystal Bennes, curator, writer, chef and wonder woman.

Crystal and I made quite a team and right from the start got on like the proverbial house on fire. Our first idea was that this exhibition, which was to be located in Bromley-by-Bow, should be a street festival involving the local Bangladeshi community that had been part of the SCIBE community engagement. However after spending two of the four weeks trying and failing to get permission from Tower Hamlets to put on this ‘Scarcity Festival’, we threw in the towel on that idea. In the end we plumped for the first choice venue, it being the only choice at this stage and made with the most of what we had, in the spirit of the assignment. Along the way we had great help from SCIBE team members Jon Goodbun, Deljana Iossifova and Dougald Hine, as well from Flora Bowden of the Seed Foundation.

The result was the Sightlines Exhibition in the Mayor’s Parlour in Bromley-by-Bow. You can see images of the exhibition read more about here on its design page.