Blog 8

I presented my LOLA show last week. My topic was on biophillic design, and more specifically material connection to nature in Healthcare design. Even with trying to narrow down the topic of biophilla by my topic, I found that it was still a very broad topic to explore. I finally stumbled upon the Sky Factory products and focused my attention on how they contributed to patient’s health through biophilla. I really enjoyed learning about my product and have already incorporated it into a design project I am currently working on. Another aspect of biophilla that was presented at the LOLA show was the use of biomorphic forms and patterns. The range of patterns used in design can vary from being very subtle to being almost a replica of a nature-inspired form. It is a powerful tool in design because it can elicit more intense feelings than materials alone.  One of my favorite examples of biomorphic forms in architecture was the Beijing National Stadium that was ultimately inspired by a birds nest. The weaving of the metal that was used to wrap the structure really does resemble that of a birds nest. I remember when it was revealed for the 2008 Olympics. I was impressed with it then even before I understood biophilla in design. Another LOLA show that I found very interesting as a designer was the presentation over Bark House, a cradle to cradle certified wall covering that is being used in interior design, as well as on the exteriors of structures. I had never heard of the product or company before the LOLA show, so I was very curious to know more about the product. One of the questions I had about the product was what is done with the tree that is cut down to harvest the bark. Is it then processed? Does the company sell the tree? Surely it is not wasted, but what exactly is done with it? I was also unsure about the cradle to cradle certifications so I had to look it up. The certification is based on five quality categories including material health, material re-utilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. The scorecard is rated from basic to platinum with bronze, silver, and gold falling in-between. The website c2ccertified.org does a breakdown of each category and also of each certification level to make it very clear of what is required. Another LOLA show I was personally interested in was the presentation that covered three different Cradle to Cradle Wall-coverings; Biobased Xorel, Bark house, and Mosa Murals. Each was C2C certified which makes them a great option for designing sustainably. I had not heard of any of these products before (except for Bark House in another LOLA show) and was very impressed with not only the apparent quality of the products, but also each of the companies that produced the products dedication to sustainability and how they have incorporated that into their core values as a company.

For our In-Class activity, we actually wrote a concept statement for our idea. “Located at Boomer Lake in Stillwater, Stillwater Community Gardens would be designed to address all nine basic human needs through interaction. The area would provide both public and private areas to promote participation and subsistence, but also provide more intimate locations to address the needs of affection. Areas for workshops and gardening classes would allow visitors to express creativity and help address their desire for self-identity. The beautiful landscapes of the gardens would provide an ideal location for a leisurely walk, while also providing a safe area would provide protection for visitors allowing them to stroll throughout the gardens with freedom. Through allowing visitors to participate in the garden we hope to increase their understanding of nature and thus sustainability.”  As a group, we felt that there was no one need that was greater than another, and so we needed to address all nine if we wanted to have a successful idea.

The biggest point the reading made to me was the link between consumerism and unhappiness. The article stated that people in developed nations may be getting richer, but they are not generally getting happier. The need for more has created strained relationships for many in both their personal and private lives. So why do we continue to let the need for more control our lives? It has also taken a toll on our social resilience, which can be described as, “The capacity to respond to disruption”, or “our ability to tolerate, absorb, cope with and adjust to environmental and social threats of various kinds”, as defined by transre.org. With decreased social resilience comes a depletion in our emotional and psychological well-being.  The article I read on social resilience also mentioned that there have been studies shown that students living in the most affluent communities in the US are under so much pressure to perform better and be successful that they are succumbing to a variety of disorders including, “an alarming surge in teen suicides.” It is terrible, that as a society, we put a skewed definition of success before the welfare of our youth.

The IKEA flat pack modular design is a very impressive solution to needs of refugee housing. The design itself is very simple and goes together much like any other piece of IKEA furniture, but they really put thought into the needs of the refugees while designing. I would say that there were empathetic design considerations made while designing the flat packs. The structures are far more durable than the traditional tents that the UN provides for refugees lasting around 3 years compared to the average 6-month lifespan of a tent. The other sustainability aspects of the tent such as solar powered lights are a huge improvement for refugees who would otherwise be left in the dark after the sun sets. Unfortunately, the flat packs will be home for many refugees now and in the future. Thankfully now at least, the flat pack will provide more comfort now than the previous UN tents.

The dedication it took to wear the little brown dress for an entire year is remarkable. I would not be able to do it. I would not consider myself self-conscious, but I do think I would feel extremely uncomfortable/self-conscious wearing the same thing every single day. It does bring to light for me how many things I own that I do not need. It is possible to live with less if you make the conscious decision to do so, but it really is hard in the society we live in. I have so much respect for Alex and her ability to fight back against the fashion industry and how she was able to spread her message on a national stage like she did.

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