Creating the Additive Toolbox

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Earlier this year Belgian company Plan C launched The Additive Toolbox to accompany The Additive Challenge, inviting the 3d printing industry to address a better future for people and planet in their creations.

I had a great experience designing the Toolbox with talented fellow designer Joana Casaca Lemos. We were commissioned by Forum for the Future who in turn were working with Plan C on the iMade project, which looks at additive manufacturing as the third industrial revolution. I just got my Additive Toolbox prototype in the post and I’m so delighted with how it all turned out.

Joana and I worked together to create the identity, graphics and physical form of the toolbox, including a poster, a set of postcards and a worksheet. These tools outline 6 making principles and 6 maker communities to guide designers, makers and manufacturers through the considerations of materials, production methods and life cycle for their products.

The toolbox was given out to anyone who entered the Additive Challenge. The latest news about the challengers in the competition can be found on the project site. As a designer it’s a pretty great to be asked to create a tool to help other designers and I’m excited to see who the finalists are in this competition.

Speaking at Design Junction 2014

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I was kindly invited to speak about my work in September by Aidan Walker, curator of the Design Junction seminars. It’s always fun, if nerve wracking, to be asked to speak about what I’m doing with design storytelling and particularly with Creative Data.

I was especially pleased to be speaking at a mainstream London Design Festival event such as Design Junction, rather than a sustainability side show. I think it’s good news that curators like Aidan are programming a diverse range of speakers that use environmental design at the core of their work.

I was on stage alongside the NYC design firm UHURU who make beautiful furniture and interiors from sustainably sources materials. I think our different approaches contrasted nicely on the common theme of social and environmental awareness.

Judging the first D&AD New Blood White Pencil Award

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Back in May, I was super honoured to be part of the first D&AD New Blood White Pencil jury, alongside Tom Farrand of Swarm, Warren Beeby of Futerra,Tori Flower of We Are What We Do, Gerry Human of Ogilvy & Mather.

We saw some amazing entries, but picked a real corker of a winner. The Ice Cream for Change campaign  – a funny, entertaining, meaningful concept to promote gay rights in Russia for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

On July 3rd I went to the New Blood Awards ceremony and got to meet the amazing women creatives behind the winning entry – Francesca Van Haverbeke, Anne-Grit Maier, Daria Rustambekova from the Miami Ad School in Hamburg.

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Creating a one-day installation at Kew Gardens

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This week I did the fastest design installation of my life. I was commissioned by the foresight and innovation agency Your Future to design a space for their one-day workshop on natural health for their client. The location was the beautiful Kew Gardens and I took inspiration from the botanical nature of the setting.

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With the help of my collaborator Lucy Rose I created the The Natural Health Breakfast Exploratorium, which included  a ‘Kitchen Garden’ room where the client attendees could gather, eat and make their final presentations. Next door we created a ‘Library Lab’, where the attendees could work in their break out groups through the day.

This speedy installation, done in just two hours, was mostly an exercise in ‘dressing the set’ so to speak, but I did have fun creating bespoke botanical explorers’ workbooks and then recreating them as enormous working presentation boards for the actual workshop.

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The Great Recovery Report is published & launched in the Houses of Parliament

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After seven months travelling around the UK documenting The Great Recovery project for the RSA and the TSB, then another month distilling all the collected content into a beautiful document, I’m delighted to say The Great Recovery report has been published.

All in all it has been a fascinating process, I’ve learned so much about manufacturing and design while working on this project and I have loved visiting every factory. It’s quite thrilling to see all my photographs, interviews and writing on the designer’s role in the circular economy brought together into such a good looking publication. Thomas Matthews did a fantastic job on the report layout design.

On June 4th, project directors Sophie Thomas and Nat Hunter launched the report at a reception in Parliament hosted by  the APDIG, in conjunction with both the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group and the Associate Parliamentary Manufacturing Group.

Policy Connect and the Associate Parliamentary Design & Innovation Group has now included the report in their ‘Ten of the Best: Design 2012/2013’ saying,

“The Great Recovery is an impressive case study in how design can contribute to solving some of the most complex challenges facing the economy and society.”

You can download the report here.

 

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.

 

Speaking at Mindshare on Social Media

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Joining other ‘bloggers’ on a panel entitled ‘Does Social Sell?”, at Mindshare‘s internal social media day, I spoke about my writing work for TreeHugger, Cool Hunting and Stylus. A great conversation was had about the various speakers’ work with brands and it was universally declared, unsurprisingly, that we all hate the word ‘blogger’. Thanks for a fun and chatty afternoon Mindshare.

Judging the Green Awards Grand Prix 2011

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The Green Awards are growing in size and reputation each year and I’m honoured to be part of the 2011 judging panel. I was asked to judge the ‘Best Green Advertising and PR’ and Best Green Service Innovation’ categories and was able to take part in the judging process for the Grand Prix. It was an interesting process of evaluation with a group of brilliant people around the table. I look forward to the glittering awards ceremony at the Natural History Museum at the end of November when the winners will be justly feted.

Judging the SustainRCA Awards 2011

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After working working with Clare Brass on the RCA’s IDE platform and as the Valpak communications design tutor in 2010 I was very pleased to be invited back as a judge for the SustainRCA Awards. Now in their 2nd year the awards mark the amazing cross platform progress being made on building sustainability in as a foundation for all good design work at the college. I was delighted by the high standard of projects in this year’s Perspectives exhibition and am excited to see SustainRCA developing into an ambitious centre for design innovation.

Presenting at Cineforum conference in London

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Cineforum – The Road To Ecotopia – creating a shared strategic vision for a sustainable future in a one day conference in London with speakers such as Hunter Lovins and Dianne Dionne Ridgley. Leonora presented in the Communities and Communication session, talking about the importance of engaging communities at both the global and local level to create capacity for change. Other speakers in this session during the day were eminent climate scientist David Wasdell and science-fiction expert Louis Savy.

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