Q&A with Alan AtKisson: “Sustainable design is crucial to nearly every aspect of the SDG vision”

Designers have a special, challenging job, but it’s going to keep them busy for a long time: rethinking virtually everything in the world, and redesigning it for sustainability. As the President and CEO of AtKisson Group, an international sustainability consulting network, Alan lives and breathes sustainable development and transformative change. When he isn’t consulting governments, companies, global NGOs and the United …

Q&A with Kristin Støren Wigum: “Designers need to ask more questions”

If you want to work more sustainably, more ethically, you need to argue for it.  Kristin Støren Wigum is an industrial designer and researcher with a Ph.D. in Product and System Design for Sustainability. She’s also the owner of Gaia Trondheim—a small firm that’s part of a collective of eco-architects called Gaia Architetcs.  In her work, Kristin lets design-thinking mingle …

Q&A with Nils Faarlund, Legendary Eco-philosopher and Master of Friluftsliv

“The inherent value of free nature must be embodied in any design process, accompanied by respect for human rights.” In 1966, Nils Faarlund made the dramatic decision to walk away from his engineering career to become a mountain guide and dedicate himself fully to nature. Today, his contributions are the stuff of legends. A relentless champion of Friluftsliv (literally translated …

3 Sustainability Lessons from Forward-Thinkers in Design

Forward-thinking isn’t just a necessary ingredient in creating positive change, it’s also the name of a powerful meet up hosted by DOGA, Design and Architecture Norway every year that brings designers, industry leaders and sustainability visionaries together for a day of inspiration, forward talking and dialogue around increasing the role of sustainability in design, strategy and customer experiences. According to DOGA, “design …

Read: How to Transform the Textiles Economy

It’s high time we shake up the destructive take-make-dispose textile model and transform it into a circular one that’s better for people and environment. This report tells us how. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, textile production contributes 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year—more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Add to that the leaching of …

The Net Zero Elementary School: Modeling Sustainability for Kids and Design Community

Maker: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) Challenge: Compared to other municipal buildings within New York’s five boroughs, schools account for 40% of emissions—amounting to a significant impact on the city’s carbon footprint. Solution: SOM architects designed an energy efficient school on Staten Island, The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability, which generates all of its own power from renewable on-site …

Read: The Circular Design Guide

IDEO and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have gathered an extensive stockpile of action-oriented methods, mindsets, and thought starters and put them all in one place for the purpose of giving designers and innovators the “creative confidence” and resources they need to develop solutions for the circular economy. “Traditional manufacturing is wasteful, because it focuses exclusively on the end user. The …

The Exhale Chandelier: Purifying Indoor Air with Living Microalgae

Maker: Julian Melchiorri Challenge:  Given all the time we spend indoors on a daily basis, maintaining good indoor air quality at home, work, and school is highly important. Solution: Exhale is the world’s first living Bionic Chandelier, containing living micro algae in each of its leaf modules. Results: When exposed to light, each of the microalgae-containing leaf modules is stimulated to grow …

Read: The Untapped Value of Organic Waste in Construction

What if instead of sending our organic waste to the landfill, incinerator or compost pile, we could give it another life as bricks, panels, carpets or insulation? Arup, the design and engineer firm, says this is not only possible, it’s a very valuable opportunity. In their latest report, The Urban Bio Loop, Arup aims to demonstrate a different, circular paradigm for …

Parlour Guides to Equitable Architecture

When striving to make a difference for the Sustainable Development Goals, we should also look inwards at what we can do differently in our own profession and practices. Parlour is one such organization that’s taking a deeper look, asking the question: How can we make architecture a more equitable profession?  On Parlour’s website you can find a collection of resources …