It seems as though a lot of us seem to go awol around this time of year, with various visits to relatives, illnesses and general rushing about for the seasonal activities.We were no exception, as we have really only just got back to grips at the studio after the mini break.
But we are now back and raring to go, and we are now thinking about what 2011 may have in store, eco wise?
Well, there are many people out there willing to put forward their two penneth worth, so here are a few bits we have found on the web...
The rise of service design - where items are REPAIRED instead of discarded and thrown away - I think this is due to the economic downturn as well as the elements of perceived greenness. The throw away culture of excess that we have grown to take as the norm is now being questioned by many who may not have considered their position before.
The rise of the amateur - again - craft has been enjoying a newly found and well deserved resurgence in popularity as people appreciate the skills and human qualities of hand made design. Perhaps this is another revolt against the large scale industries which we are starting to distrust as we hanker for the nostalgic and simpler may of life? I am all for this prediction and I hope that craft will continue to become a major player in the small scale retail industry. Remember peeps - quality over quantity.
Urban farming is another trend that seems to be popping up all over the shop, and with money belts still tight and a continuing distrust of large manufacturers and the dreaded supermarkets, I reckon this is one which is here to stay for 2011. Will we get back to the war time front and back garden allotments? Perhaps not, but look out for more edibles popping up in your street, and fantastical proposals for mobile, skyscraper and city centre farming utopias. I thought that cutting gardens would also enjoy a resurgence in 2010 as people get used to growing their own and become more aware of where their weekly bunch of flowers come from (we designed two gardens in 2010 for cutting), but maybe I was a little too keen. Maybe this is another one for 2011.
Sharing seems to be another big hitter in the prediction fronts - from skills sharing to bike sharing, car sharing and food sharing. I suppose this sort of goes back to the sort of medieval barter systems which have been resurrected in a time where cash is short. This could be in a 'you can have some of my chicken eggs in exchange for some of your apples' sort of way, or larger scale, involving skills exchange between companies. Our studio has signed up to a skills share programme in Brighton where we offer our expertise and time to design needy charities and social enterprise projects, so again, this is one to stay for 2011.
I think local food and farmers markets will also continue to grow, along with small scale foraging (I spent all of Christmas engrossed in John Wright's fantastic River Cottage Mushroom, Hedgerow and Sea Edibles handbooks) and home preserving.
Green design in general will become more accessible (heard a lot of people asking for eco bits whilst out shopping for pressies) especially now people are questioning the throw away / landfill fodder purchases of old.
Lastly, I am quite optimistic about the design industry in general. The last two years have made it hard to sell something essentially 'invisible' but I think things are on the shift. People and businesses are realising that quality of life is more important that the amount of things you have, and so are looking to designers to maximise their opportunities available and create them spaces to enjoy being in at home and at work. Business are realising that consumers are examining them as well as their products before making a purchase, and are responding accordingly.
Check back next year to see if I am right.