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Category Archives: debates in sustainable design

light-bulb flashlights, chair-helmuts—multifunctional products

In this post we return to the theme of multi-functionality as a technique for sustainable design. I’ve looked at this idea of doing more with less before in terms of products that behave as structures (and vice versa) and in terms of other approaches to getting more function out of our designs. Today we’ve got two products that also do double duty in emergencies: the light bulb flashlight and the chair that converts into a helment.

Lin Guo Hui’s Bulb Light is actually a designer accessory, but still thought provoking. It sits along another recent bulb innovation, wherein a light socket can also serve as a wifi transmitter. (Also check out this article for light-off-the-grid approaches such as a light powered by gravity.) The bulb light has a tiny, built-in rechargeable battery.


The second example is the Marmoris chair Designed by Japan’s Poplife and Znug Design.

Some interesting options for research and teaching arise from these examples. First, it’s a great thought excercise to ask how we can piggy back on, or sensibly integrate functions into existing material and spatial infrastructure. Second, it’s interesting to debate how much is too much and where the practicality line lies in these approaches.

There’ll be no new post next week on Thanksgiving Thursday. Instead I hope you’ll be enjoying some time with your community of friends and family.

If you like these posts please pass them on and subscribe to the montly summary on the right column–you’ll get my bonus article next week. Also check out this week’s post over on the design, consumerism and activism blog on “Design-for-3D printing as community organizing.” It’s generated some good comments.

guidance on education for sustainable development (& design)

This is an alert for all you folks in the UK involved in sustainable design in Higher Education—we need your input now. The UK’s higher education community is trying to formalize education for sustainable development (ESD), and a major milestone appeared this week in the form of Guidance from the Quality Assurance Agency on EducationContinue Reading

From Denmark: The Index Awards

If the road could talk to you, what would it say–Dutch Smart Highway by Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure. The 2013 INDEX awards were announced in Denmark recently and from 59 finalists there were several winning Designs to Improve Life. Rasberry Pie: a $25 computer for digitalizing the whole world Copenhagen Climate Adaptation Plan: pioneeringContinue Reading



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