Architect Bill Dunster

Industry engagement space 100% Design

Industry engagement space concept sketch

100% Sustainable? Industry engagement and research event

This three year industry-funded research event was co-desvised by Nick Gant and Jonathan Chapman (IF:Lab). We designed three industry engagement spaces and events that gathered research data which fed into research development events and evaluation by industry. Using interactive exhibitions, creative workshops, seminars, product development studios, a number of features in trade press and a book, Designers, Visionaries and Other Stories (Earthscan, 2007), to engage and provoke critical debate within the design industry.

The project used the 100% Design exhibition as a venue – the largest design industry event in the UK as the place in which to directly engage 40,000 international visitors from across many sectors of the design community. The ultimate aim of the project was to both enhance understanding of sustainable design within the sector, whilst developing a clearer picture of the degree to which 'industry' is engaging with the sustainability agenda; deepening and enhancing understanding of sustainable design, whilst offering greater accessibility for industry, and previously detached parties. An overview of the project is as follows:

Dr Kate Fletcher

YEAR 1: 'Perceptions of Sustainable Design' (2006) An information gathering exhibit, survey with 2154 respondents, seminar event and product life workshop formed of 22 designers, behavioural scientists, material specialists all responding to the data gathered at the event. Contributors included John Wood, Edwin Datschefski, Alastair Fuad-Luke and Ezio Manzini.

YEAR 2: '101 Approaches to Sustainable Design' (2007) Interactive exhibits, prototype product showcases, live debates and open access workshops, with the intention of 'harvesting' 101 approaches to sustainable design from members of the creative industry. Contributors included representatives from ICI, Dalsouple, Philips, Frog and Sprout Design, William Warren, Kate Fletcher, Keep and Share, Annie Sherbourne, Trannon Furniture, Tejo Remy, Bill Dunster, Fielden Clegg Architects and Jason Bruges.

This project used a cyclical research gathering, dissemination and creative response methodology to question current approaches to sustainable design, which are often unhelpfully fragmented and disparate. The project used an annual event to gather research at the heart of the design industry – it then responds to this information to develop new strategies, which are then fed back one year later, for further critical assessment by the industry.

Industry engagement workshop

YEAR 3: 'Models of Sustainable Design' (2008) A 95m2 exhibit investigated issues of ‘scale’ and ‘utopia’ that surround sustainability. Subverting the utopian vernacular of model railways, this immaculately detailed miniature world presented as a ‘00 scale’, sets-up the lead sustainability scenarios (energy, deforestation, transport, pollution, GM, food v fuel, waste etc.), as a means to both educate, and provoke debate. Subverting the ‘utopian’ appearance of model railways, to reveal the more sinister underlying reality, on closer inspection.

Product designed in response data gathered from industry at the event