Eco-designer Clare Cunningham answers questions
If you had to put one product (or service) that showed good eco-design onto a pedestal, what would it be? — Sylvie Sasaki, London, U.K.
I think that it has to be Trevor Baylis’ windup radio.
What kind of feedback have you gotten on your Reenchanting the City project? Are you still working on parts of it? — Name not provided
I have had some very positive feedback from people. Lots of people came up to me at the exhibition and said they loved it. I am not currently working on this project; I have had to put it on hold until I get some serious backing for it. Hopefully, though, I will revisit it sometime in the near future.
What city do you think does the best job of “enchanting its residents? — Name not provided
That is a difficult question. I think that I would have to visit a lot more places to give a truly educated answer. However, I can say that I feel that the city of Barcelona, Spain, does a pretty good job. Much credit for this is due to the incredible works of the architect Antonio Gaudi.
Your website says the grass couch is part of an inner-city community-space project. What role do you think eco-design can or should play in the inner city? — Name not provided
The grassy sofa was reclaimed from the street near where I was living. It was one of those dumped sofas that makes any place look disenchanting. What I did was to reupholster it with hessian (burlap) and plant it with grass seeds. It was then able to go into a local community space.
I think that eco-design can play a huge role in inner-city spaces. The amount of waste, pollution, and general ugliness that has built up in our inner cities can only be resolved through looking at the ecology of the city. From the piece of food packaging kicking about on the street to success of the central library, eco-design can play a role.
Can you actually sit on that grass-covered couch? — Name not provided
Yes, you can!
What would your ideal job look like? — Name not provided
I would love to work in urban regeneration. Basically, I would love to be able to run creative design projects to reinvigorate and re-enchant poor, rundown areas of inner cities.
I am a designer, too, working on environmental designs. Have you ever thought of forming a group just for environmental designers? I would certainly join such a group. — Nelson Hyde Chick, San Francisco, Calif.
Community is indeed a very important thing, and several forums for eco-designers already exist. I recommend o2, an international network for eco-designers.
What does the term “eco-design” mean to you? Why is it important? — Name not provided
Eco-design is a very broad term. However, for me it means designing with the good of the planet and its future in mind. It is important because we truly need to make designs that will consume less, that will sustain our planet and our people, and that have a vision for our future.
As a recent graduate, what was your perception of your fellow students’ environmental ethics? — Name not provided
I found a mixture of opinions from fellow students on eco-design. Some found it a great source of influence, and although they did not class themselves as “eco-designers,” they did make designs that were eco-friendly. There were also those, however, who looked upon eco-design with contempt and annoyance. Altogether, though, it was a hot topic for debate!