Posts filed under Sustainable Design

EcoBuild 2011 | Sustainable Urbanism

Passive Housing and Sustainable Urbanism seemed to be the hype at this years EcoBuild.

The Landscape Institute sponsored a program of seminars focused on 'Sustainability and The City'. With only two hours to spare before dashing back to the other side of London, I stayed to watch a discussion by Wulf Daseking, Head of Planning in The city of Freiburg, Germany. Having written The Freiburg Charter For Sustainable Urbanism in 2010, Wulf had some educated thoughts on urban planning, with a particular focus on  infrastructure and development of the suburbs.

The City of Freiburg (European City of the Year 2010) has been an inspiration to urban planners across Europe for the past decade, as a successful working model of what strategic, people centred planning can deliver. The Charter published last year outlines 12 basic paths towards sustainable urban planning. A major consideration the charter flags up is, building around public transport links to create thriving suburban districts and reduce traffic passing through cities. Wulf emphasised the need for 'short distance' development where residents can walk or travel quickly by public transport to the city centre. This enables consumers to shop locally, therefore retaining wealth in the district; rather than losing trade to large out-of-town supermarkets. Have a read through the charter for more information on, mixed wealth neighbourhoods and land purchase for living rather than development.

A point that stayed with me and that is applicable to most challenges in politics and design, is the idea of " orientation towards long term objectives". In essence, solutions can be found and maintained by looking at the bigger picture. By anticipating change and growth planners can optimise their resources and create a long term strategys that can be sustained over time.

View from the impressive Excel conference centre in East London's docklands.

Posted on March 6, 2011 and filed under Climate Change, Design, Global, Green Living, London, Sustainable Design.

EcoBuild 2011 | Vertical growing

Amongst the chaos at The Excel Centre, I found great examples of raw, natural materials being used and a real shift towards low-tech sustainable building. In previous years, I had always been impressed my the 'techi' solutions for solar and hydro energy generation and sci-fi style insulation. This year there were a number of advocates for back-to-basics and a running theme of traditional craftsmanship and  'localism' (for want of a better word). I have always had an interested in vertical growing and living buildings so, I was pleased to see a huge increase in resources available.


An example of a growing wall can be seen on East Road just off Old Street roundabout, on the new developments next to Urbanest student accommodation.


Thoughtful walls, built with nooks and recesses to encourage insect biodiversity.

Posted on March 6, 2011 and filed under Climate Change, Design, Green Living, Sustainable Design, Uncategorized.

Eastern Curve Garden

This week by complete chance, I visited the award winning Eastern Curve Garden.

Having been surrounded by billboards for months and located amidst the chaos and building developments at Dalston Junction, I had failed to spot this great project. The Curve Garden is a shared vegetable garden and workspace for Dalston's local community, built on a former railway plot.

The space is free for anyone to use between 11am-4pm. There is a sheltered classroom area hosting a variety of talks and a weekly gardening club held on Saturdays.

The project was funded by the London Development Agency/Design for London as part of the 'Making Space In Dalston' project and  is supported by Hackney Council.

Due to limited space this is not a traditional allotment, everyone involved works to grow vegetables for the group, they are then shared out. Rather than being completely responsible for your own patch. This is great for someone like myself, who is far from a gardening expert and can only visit once a week!

Check out events going on at Curve Garden


EVENT: 2nd May 2011 The Pizza Oven launch party

Posted on February 8, 2011 and filed under Design, Green Living, London, Sustainable Design.

Worn Again 2009

Some recent work @ Worn Again

Worn Again is an resource efficiency business, specialising in the re-circulation of corporate waste materials. By diverting valuable materials from landfill, Worn Again is able to reduce the need for new and environmentally costly, virgin materials manufacture.
Posted on February 28, 2010 and filed under Design, London, Sustainable Design, Uncategorized.

The Bigger Picture 24/10/09

The Bigger Picture  

The HUGE queue this weekend at The Bigger Picture Festival @ The Bargehouse. London.

A series of talks, performances, workshops and exhibits discussing, what life could or must be like  if we are to live sustainably - outside of our current economic system.

'We know that we’re living in a period of converging crises: there’s little doubt that we face a daunting array of social, economic, politcal and environmental challenges. But we don’t always see how inter-related these challenges are, nor the solutions which them into opportunities for positive change.' (

NEF (New Economics Foundation) director, Stewart Wallis aptly described how society is caught in a 'hamster wheel effect' - we are fearful to make big changes to our economic and social models and so the cycle the same problems we are striving to repair again and again.

There was a huge turnout for Saturdays event, leading to an hour long queue to even get inside!  However, the queue formed a captive audience for a number of weird and wonderful performances by poets & activists.


For more info:

Posted on October 26, 2009 and filed under Design, Green Living, London, Sustainable Design, Third World.

DMY Berlin - International Design Festival

At the beginning of this year, I had the brilliant idea of moving to Berlin permanently! Dan and I went on a research trip out there to find the best spot in town to live. The trip also happened to coincide with the International Design Festival DMY - Perfect timing!  


I DO really need to mention the 'Fatboy hammock' outside - Amazing! (

I was keen to see how important Sustainability was on the design scene in Berlin. It being my area of interest and expertise. I wanted to find contacts and projects to get involved with. The only problem is, I can not speak a word of German - even after extensive youtube watching!

Germany has been ahead of the game for years and I hoped I'd find this at DMY.


I was impressed by the day to day mentality of the German people to greener living - all the systems seem to be in place  so, it is easy to be green, whether is is via transport, recycling or good product sourcing.

Some great ideas from DMY include:


COLO by Peter Schwartz & Helene Steiner


"the colo-concept breaks with the handling-habits of an old-fashioned dishwasher. it's a reduction of the machine to its essentials, orientated on user-needs. colo merges the dishwasher with the sink. at this, handling-complexity is also reduced to a minimum. there is no need to sort in the dishes piece for piece, simply place the tray with all of it in the sink, and simply put the tray back on the wall when it's done."

For more info:


This is one of my favourites: 





"Since march the future of work has become present at betahaus: a 1000 qm work space and network platform for 120 creatives with a café located at Berlin’s Moritzplatz. Guidances several times daily. As contemporary platform for art and design betahaus presents products for the mobile knowledge worker. Interactiv installations abolish pretended boarders between analog and digital. With designers from Germany, Netherlands and Norway."

For more info:



Compressed air bike


"The whole bike's frame is a tank for air. A little air motor is placed beneath the seat. A transmission connects it to the rear wheel. Using a valve, it is possible to control the air that helps the cyclist to pedal."

Could this encourage commuters?

For more info:


PIEGATO by Matthias Ries


"Piegato is a sheet steel rack with a surprisingly carrying capacity.  The laser cut and powder coated sheet steel is been delivered almost completely plain, which results in a simple and cost effetive transportation. The customer then folds the required amount of shelfs from the plain and mounts the hole rack with just two screws in a few minutes.

Based on the enviromental friendly production, the freight size and the recyclability Piegato also holds a brilliant ecological balance."

For more info:


COEN by Moritz Bottcher & Soren Henssler

Coen Lights

Berlin based consultancy, Coen Lights

For more info:


LEAVES by Maria Tsartsali



"One side is coated with natural latex, which helps them retain their elasticity and texture.  They can be a wallpaper or a curtain stuck with blu-tack, a rug or anything you wish. The idea is to highlight the beauty of nature and recreate the natural environment in an interior setting."

For more info:


Having said all this, I have decided to stay in London for the time being. I love the buzz! Although, Berlin is a very cool place (including a beach by the river), London has EVERYTHING! 

Online Design Mag:

Useful Dutch Mag:

Posted on October 22, 2009 and filed under Green Living, Sustainable Design.

2012 | Olympic Park Construction | London Site visit

I was lucky enough to visit the construction site for the 2012 Olympic based in East London. Our trip was currated by Dan Epstein (Head of Sustainable Development & Regeneration), as part of the program of events put together by Greengaged (, throughout London Design Week 2009.  

Water way
Water way
Aquatics Stadium
Aquatics Stadium
Athlete's Village
Athlete's Village

The scale of this project is enormous! Everyone involved seems to be making a real effort towards a sustainable build and use of the area. We saw the soil washing plant which cleanses the soil from the chemicals that have leached there for years (the ground was previously a dump site).  

2012 Stadium
2012 Stadium

The 2012 Stadium, which seats 80,000 people can be down sized to 20,00 seats after the Olympic and the materials can be reprocessed/reused. For more info:

Posted on October 22, 2009 and filed under London, Sustainable Design.

KEW Gardens Economic Botany Collection Visit

A big thankyou to Greengaged ( - for putting together this free trip to see the behind the scenes botany collection at Kew Gardens on Monday.

Although, a freezing and early start this was a really worthwhile day. I was particularly impressed by the delicate use of mulberry roots in Japan and the leather leaves from New Zeland. Amazing! 

Also, a lovely opportunity to meet some very inspiring people over coffee at The Orangery Cafe!

Posted on October 21, 2009 and filed under London, Sustainable Design.