As a Merchandiser, we had a reading about how greenery effects an in-store environment and consumer behavior. The reading has a before and after picture of a store with and without a greenery addition to it. I was surprised that I found myself noticing a difference between the two pictures. Initially, it seems minor because the additions consist of one tree behind the counter and some greenery in the corner, which doesn’t seem like a lot. However, I found myself liking the environment with the greenery more than that without. The studies conducted attempted to show how consumers might feel more at ease and, sometimes, more likely to purchase things in an environment they feel more relaxed in. It all goes back to the underlying claim that, as humans, we all have some sort of attraction to nature yet we find ourselves spending most of our time in closed off buildings with artificial lighting. Natural lighting and green additions to these spaces might make us feel more in tune to nature and at ease in our places.
Ted Talk / Edible Spoons
I found the Ted talk about the bamboo structures fascinating. The fact that they have found a much more renewable building tool than wood, which is a resource we are in the process of running ourselves short on. They encountered issues with bamboo, like that fact that there aren’t straight 2 X 4 pieces, so they have to design structures to fit the curves and bends of bamboo. The results were beautiful structures, though probably still a little impractical for everyday life. They found a way to weave the material to make sturdy roofs so that rainfall and weather is less of an issue, and it is a material that is Earthquake resistant, but it still has design flaws that they are attempting to work through so that bamboo can be a no brainer for building structures in the futures. As for the edible spoons in India, I thought it was a great idea but I couldn’t help but wonder how these spoons would taste and how it would effect the taste of my food. To reduce as much waste as we produce with plastic dinnerware, this change could help global sustainability immensely. Especially because, even if people decided they didn’t want to eat the spoon and decided to throw it out, it is biodegradable and will not hang around the Earth for an extended period of time.
Biophilic Design is essentially using inspiration from nature to design structures that are sustainable. One pattern of biophilic design we discuss was presence of water. This was about adding standing water or waterfalls within a room to add a calming element to the environment. Another pattern was material connection with nature. An example of this was to use wood paneling or some type of wood furnishings to add a natural feel to a room. A third pattern we discussed was risk/peril. This design addition means adding some sort of risk to the design and the example for this one was the rock suspended above a walkway. The walks acts as a sense of danger for those walking under it because of the risk the the foundation crumbles and the rock happens to fall. If we turn to biophilic design, there could be potential benefits, and most of them have to do with the mood of the person visiting the place. For example, certain patterns can reduce a persons stress, lower blood pressure, or positively effect comfort, well-being, and productivity.
Sustainability Office Visit
I unfortunately had to miss the sustainability office visit, because of the hours of the career fair conflicting with my work hours. From what I was told about the visit, it was widely about what OSU has been doing to make themselves a more sustainable University. Wind energy seemed to be a very big part in the sustainability effort. Also, the amount of cardboard that the university collects and recycle seems like such a huge benefit to the community of Stillwater. It is hard to look at how this makes a difference on a global scale, but at a community level, this is a great way to begin making Stillwater a more sustainability conscious town. Also within the visit was a trip to the furniture store where we learn that the University makes it a point to repair, reuse and repurpose old furniture pieces so they aren’t contributing to the production of new furniture. Ways they are able to repair old furniture is reupholstering it so that it looks brand new. At the manufacturing level of the fashion industry, there are several ways we could incorporate sustainable practices at the ground level, such as possibly incorporate solar energy in powering machinery or something as little as power in the warehouse, recycling of packaging and reuse of old boxes for new merchandise. As a merchandiser, being sustainable might be more challenging. It might mean choosing materials for clothes that we know are better for the environment, reusing fabric samples, or associating with vendors that are known to practice sustainability.
The more we discuss sustainability in this class, the more I am beginning to feel as if it is my job to incorporate sustainable practices not only in my personal life, but also in my corporate career. The design aspects we have discussed in class have made me jealous of design majors and artistic people, as they have the power to create some beautiful and natural places. If nothing else, it has made me question my interior design abilities and might give me a better eye when purchasing things for my own house and environment.