Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Story of Cap and Trade

Annie Leonard is back with yet another fact filled enviro film. This time Leonard dissects the climate change solution of ‘Cap & Trade’. To be honest I have never truly understood the carbon trading scheme, but as Leonard protests “the future of our planet is at stake, so we’ve got to take the time to understand what’s going on!”

As the system unfolds, so many issues become apparent. Polluters are almost being rewarded for polluting. How can something with so much riding on it only work in theory? “The devils in the details, and there are a lot of details”. The corporations that claim to be helping the problem are actually profiting from it. With so much wide spread evidence on the health of our planet why is it that the corporation has more power than the government? And how do the key polluters keep buying their way out of trouble? Take the current BP oil crisis. How many more days will oil spill into our oceans without action?

“Save the planet, get rich. What’s not to like?”

The messages I took away from ‘Cap & Trade’ would be to consider the impact and sustainability of all products, whether designing or purchasing. It is important as design students we learn to design responsible products that benefit everyone not just the cultural elite.

Design for Life

Starks presence in this world grows daily as he designs and redesigns artefacts and archetypes for the current and future generations. It’s very interesting to see Starck’s personality on film rather than though his design. He’s just so animated and passionate about design, it’s almost like putting a voice into one of his objects

The structure of the show somewhat resembles our studio practices which is good to know we are being prepared for the real world. Starck is constantly reinforcing that the students must look for the story behind the product and “question whether we need to design more products”. Something that I think should be considered further within our course.

It’s very interesting to watch the contestant’s tangent off on a path and receive a scalding from stark for not evolving their designs in a positive way. I guess I can relate to this and once again it reinforces the need to constantly re-evaluate what you’re doing at every stage.

Too often people don’t consider the full impact their product will make on the world. Trends today seem to have made design reliant on its social impact, rather than its cultural responsibility to be well considered, timeless, sustainable and functional. Starck’s theory of democratic design is admirable and so is his commitment to sustainability.

It is easy to see why Starck wants to help shape the future into a thoughtful utopia but I would argue that Starck has also been guilty in contributing to the problem. Sometimes, offering new form to a product can inevitably detract from its intended function. For example his Alessi kettle is original and has a thought provoking aesthetic but lacks all functionality. At times Starck seems harsh, but you come to realise how much he truly values his time, and how much his life and his work are intrinsically linked.

“If you think everything is easy.HAHAHAHAHA...No it wont work like that. In the end it’s work work work, but if you work on a bad platform, you will arrive nowhere.”- Philippe Starck

The 11th Hour

Leonardo DiCaprio narrates the slow demise of planet earth. What a waste! Literally! I always knew that we had problems...but this is out of control.

Could it be we're to late? 50 to 50 thousand species are being wiped out each year, and we're continuing on like nothings happening.A great change is needed if the planet can bounce back from what we have thrown at it. William McDonough point "imagine now having to re-design design itself, and seeing deign as the first point of human intention." is something to be embraced. Mass utilisation must somehow find a firmer foothold in our society. Personally i think it may take awhile to implement, there's just too much money at stake for corporate culture to adapt to quickly, even if renewable resources become available, Corporations and governments are slow to warm to its benefits because these technologies are provided free by the planet and a therefor hard to put a price tag on.

Although the outlook of this film can seem alittle gloomy, it does offer some hope toward the end. The earth will perservere, but will we be so lucky. "So if we choose to iradicate ourselves by whatever means, the earth goes nowhere. And in time it will regenerate, and all the lakes will be pristene. The rivers, the waters, the mountains, everything will be green agian, and be peaceful. There may not be people, But the Earth will regenerate.Because the earth has all the time in the world...and we dont."- Orin Lyons, Faith keeper and Cheif of the wolf clan

This film really raised alot of questions for me.

"The greatest weapon of mass destruction is corporate economic globalisation." - Kenny Ausubel

"The human mind invented the concept of the future. We are the only animal on the planet that was able to recognise, we could affect the future by what we do today." - David Suzuki


I was interested to see what Gary Huswit would focus on in Objectified after seeing his previous design doco/narrative Helvetica . Once again Huswit illuminates the fact that everything that we interact with in our life has been designed, and behind every object is also a very long story.

People dont buy products because they're obligated...people buy objects that speak to them.
Every objects has the potential to make an emotional connection with its user and the designers role is to make that connection happen. Without it, the designer will surely fail.

One thing that kept hitting home with me was that most of the designers seemed to hold onto a memory which is constantly inspiring them. For example Naoto Fukasawa's experience of peeling potatoes gave him a tactile relationship with the form. Or Kareem Rashids radio which calmed him with its simplicity. All good design has the power to captivate.

"70% of the world is completely impractical, 70% of the world is uncomfortable." - Karim Rashid

"Are the things we are doing having an effect, and making change?" - Karim Rashid

"Designers spend most of their time designing products and services for the 10% of the worlds population that already own too much. When 90% don't have even basic products & services to lead a subsistent life." - Alice Rawthorn