dwell on design ’10 – plywood office

Posted by on Jul 22, 2010 in furniture, sustainability | No Comments

this years dwell on design has come and gone and, as usual, new products abounded. the focus this year was more on innovative products, which typically were innovative in terms of use and fabrication. there were many manufacturers and design firms whose products and services had sustainability aspects to them, but it wasn’t the sustainability showcase we’ve seen in the past. it seems that in 2010, sustainability is more of a quickly-mentioned prerequisite for design, and not the focus of the idea. sustainability seems to be a concept that is important to be present in a design, but there seemed to be little emphasis on how well the design performed.

arianna huffington recently claimed that the BP oil spill is the first environmental crisis where polling shows that the US population hasn’t gotten greener. 3 mile island, exxon valdez, and even hurricane katrina had a correlating public shift towards more environmentally-conscious policies- but there hasn’t been a similar shift after the BP oil spill.

both of these phenomena seem to indicate that sustainability as it relates to design and politics could be at a tipping point- either the tide of public interest has hit its high mark and will recede to a more complacent position towards the environment or this movement will continue where previous ones slowed.

if interest in sustainability is to increase and we are to endeavor to live more harmoniously with our environment, it will be in part by designers who masterfully fold sustainability into their craft so effortlessly it couldn’t have been imagined any other way and excels because of it. chris jamison’s plywood office is one practice that does just that- using sustainability as a catalyst for great design, with everything from the strata of bamboo plywood in the stripes coffee table to tree-less hammock hammy.

wandering through dwell on design, plywood office was a stand out- it was the most compelling work of the show, great design that was spawned by both functionality and an ethos. if we are to become even more sustainable as a nation and as a planet, it will be because of more designers like plywood office.