Responsible and Sustainable Designs

by Eric Tsai

technology-entertainment-design-ted-logo-bgAs a member of TED community, I am constantly inspired by the ideas and concepts from all the individual TEDTalks, themes and TED Blog posts. It’s got great resources, excellent ideas from different perspectives from global key opinion leaders.

Recently I’ve been watching some of the Architectural Inspiration videos and as a result I found new respect in the creative process that goes into architecture. Especially Cameron Sinclair’s Talk on Open-source architecture to house the world.

I immediately thought of a television episode that I watched awhile back on the San Francisco Federal “green” building by Thom Mayne. The building was created with many energy saving features in mind and encourage wellness for the occupants working in the building.

sf-federal-courthouse-image-05-thumbFor example, the cafe was placed outside of the main building to encourage employees to walk outside the building to stop by for food and the elevators are designed to have stops on every third floor so there will always be some walking require at some point. The buildings is positioned perfectly with massive windows allowing optimal usage of sunlight into the building to reduce electricity usage to light the offices during daytime. In addition, the top 13 floors of the Federal Building do not have air conditioning since the building automatically opens the ventilation windows each evening and admit cooler outside air into the building. Heat energy stored in the building’s exposed concrete structure is removed by the cooler night air.

There are more energy saving technologies that goes into the entire project and as a result it appears to be very sustainable and eco friendly.

The idea is that the future of architecture must incorporate  sustainability in addition to all the fundamental of design as well as “responsibility” to deliver impact solution to address social issues.  Design should improve, perform, and solve problems.

The New Design Focus – Eco Spirit

by Eric Tsai

I remember when I was a kid my family used to recycle bottles and cans all the time and my mom would take us to the local grocery store monthly to the ‘recycle machine’ for some pocket change.  Back then I always felt that money was the incentive that drove people to recycle even though it’s not going to make anyone rich doing it.  It just seems like the right thing to do especially in the early 90s but it was not yet a way of life, it was just recycle.

After Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth and President Obama’s focus on alternative energy and sustainability, there has been a steady increase in both awareness and momentum in the environmental friendly design category.   Having done product design previously I’ve came across some real creative concepts being developed in the area of sustainability and eco friendly space.

c77dd_logoOne of my favorite weekly newsletter/ blog, DesignDirectory has some real cool designs and innovative concepts.   Since last year I’ve started thinking about creating more ‘green’ designs and it can be as clever as the  biodegradable bag – 60 Bags or as fascinating as the PeePoo Bag:  a plastic bag-cum-toilet for the developing world.  What’s up with all the bag?

While eco green is the ‘hot’ new thing now, it still carries the same design principals as with all successful design solutions – connecting users to products and aesthetic is just one intrigue part of the overall objective. Good design speaks modern languages, communicates solutions, and addresses problems.

I am excited about the opportunities to contribute in solving a world problem, in many ways eco designers will require to be more embedded in the business strategies to drive success for this market. This will involve collaboration, new working methods, knowledge transfer and a new attitude to design research.