Friday, 30 July 2010

an evening at the Greenpower Centre...

Those of you who follow the studio on twitter would have seen a few tweets about a very nice event we attended last week.

Well, as things have been a little hectic this week (more news on this week to follow) we have only just got round to retelling the evening.

Organised by the wonderful South Coast Design Forum, this evening was affectionately called the 'summer do' and was an excuse to meet up in a brand new 'eco' location, eat some snacks, drink some wine and have a good old chinwag.

It was a very lovely evening.

First off we had a little tour of the building, which was built by Fordingbridge on their site as a showcase building to show clients their work, and has been rented on very reasonable terms to local engineering charity, Greenpower.

With a myriad of green technologies, the building functions as both an excellent and beautiful example of sustainable architecture.

Rainwater harvesting, passive solar gain and solar control canopies and external blinds feature on the exterior of the locally sourced glulam timber building, along with the simplest of green roofs I have ever seen. Awash with wildflowers and a few, erm, weeds, we were informed that the waste soil from the project was, well, plonked back on top of the roof with a scattering of seeds. However low-tech, it seems to be working very well indeed, and I will be very interested to see how the strip of pumpkins develop into the autumn...

Inside, the large thermal mass of the concrete foundation and floor helps to regulate temperature very simply, whilst a ultra high tech lighting system (with no wall switches) turns lighting on and off relative to the outside light levels and where you are in the building. Clever stuff.

A ceiling mounted electrical rig allows for a flexible working environment, and a separate mezzanine level is accessed via this truly beautiful bamboo staircase.

A wonderful evening in an inspirational building.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

white night Brighton 2010...

a very quick post - we are very excited in the studio as we have been selected to produce an installation for the forthcoming White Night Brighton on 30 Oct 2010...

more details to follow (once we have stopped jumping about).

expect wind powered LED's, patterns of nature and an old boat...

Thursday, 22 July 2010

taxidermy illuminations...

One good thing about the web is the myriad of items you will find, from imaginative minds across the world, every single day.

Yesterday, I found these fantastic lights. Even though they bordered on the very macabre, I was completely enthralled by them:

Found via Inhabitat, these lamps and lights are made by bespoke lighting designer Alex Randall from (already deceased) stuffed animals, which appear to be carrying the lights in their hands or beaks.

Harking back to the Victorian obsession with the collection and cataloguing of the natural world, the lamps feature squirrels, ducks and pigeons.

En masse, they look quite spectacular, if not a tiny bit unsettling.

Randall talks about the beauty of the animals we treat with such disdain, and how this beauty should be both recognised and celebrated.

so, we are looking forward to the possibility of seagull streetlamps illuminating the roads of Brighton?

Friday, 16 July 2010

giving paint a newlife...

I love my job.

I get to meet some really interesting people and specify some fantastic stuff to create some brilliant spaces. Wednesday was no exception as I had a mid week jaunt to the base of a very interesting paint company.

Many of you would have seen me (or heard me) talking about organic, low VOC, natural etc paint, but I have never talked about, or indeed found, recycled paint.

Not quite an alien concept as it sounds, there are groups which collect the waste remnants of paint that have been taken to recycling points at refuse collection sites across the UK and pass them onto charities through various community repaint projects.
But even with these sterling efforts, approximately 50 million litres of paint end up in landfill every year.
They take all the recycled paints in (via the aforementioned recycling points), stack the cans into colour batches, then remix them in large blue containers to create a whole new batch of paint. This is then filtered, processed and repackaged for use as brand new paint.

As well as their standard 20 colours, they are also able to colour match paint to the customers requirements - all using paint which would otherwise be festering in landfill.

We think they are doing a sterling job with a real problem waste product - this really is upcycling at its best!

go check them out here...
STOP PRESS....... Just heard from Amy that Newlife Paints were awarded the Best Recycled Product 2010 at yesterdays National Recycling Awards - Well done Newlife!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

compARTments and MESH...

After my little sneaky peek post yesterday and my telling off for being soooo unfair, I have decided to reveal a little more about what we are doing and have done recently in the studio. It is not ground breaking, but we have been and continue to be excited by the below. Hopefully you will too...

First up - the University of Sussex Product Design Degree Show - you may remember from a couple of posts ago that we had made, and were sponsoring an award and were hot footing it up to Falmer to bestow the 'best eco design' award onto one of the very deserving students.

Well, the winner we selected was Kerry Norwood for her project MESH (Major Emergency Sustainable Housing). This is a truly worthy 'eco' project in so many ways. Using readily available metal sections and mesh sheets, Kerry designed a modular house kit which can be fitted, in multiples, into a standard sized shipping container.

Created for use in sudden emergency situations, the MESH unit can be put together quickly and simply, with the addition of an internal plastic sheet ensuring that the house is weatherproof. The gabion like walls begin empty, but are designed to be filled with the rubble and detritus of the collapsed homes, allowing a new life to be literally built from the remnants of the old.

Its humanitarian and aid advantages are obvious, but it was the beautifully simple eloquence of the 'rebuilding' aspect which I particularly loved. To give someone the chance to help themselves - a new purpose in the chaos - is strikingly powerful.

Kerry is now deciding how to take this project forward, so I will post a little more (including some images) as soon as I am able.

Next - compARTment.

Over the past two weeks, we have become involved in a very exciting project in Brighton, with the compARTment team - a group of makers, designers and artists who are committed to rejuvenating the empty spaces around the city.

The pilot project is utilising two empty units in the soon-to-be-redeveloped Open Market in Brighton - filling them temporarily with a series of art installations, exhibitions and pop up spaces. Running from now until September or October this year, it is hoped that the varied activities will increase the footfall to the market, supporting the remaining stallholders.

We have become involved in the project in a few capacities - helping with some of the set up organisation bits, possibly designing some spaces for other people and actually creating a couple of installations ourselves.

Heard of pop-up shops? Well, we are going to have a pop-up studio - creating an exciting little space to call home for a week, where the good people of Brighton can come and say hello and talk to us about more exciting little (or large) spaces.

So there you go - two little things that we have done and are doing - both of which will be filled out with more info over the next few weeks!

And the solar and wind powered installations? Well, I am afraid that is one for next week. I haven't drawn them up yet.

Monday, 12 July 2010

watch this (previously empty) space...

we have been away, but like Arnie, we are back and with a lot to tell...

some bits are still embargoed, but there will be news VERY soon about a couple of very interesting little projects we are currently involved in.

empty spaces? pop up shops and exhibitions? temporary installations? solar and wind powered lighting creations?

coming soon to an empty space in Brighton soon...