6 July 2011


Manufacturing and mass-consumerism are a worldwide dilemma and will not stop any time in the near future. There are hundreds and thousands of tables, chairs, lamps and other things we call ‘stuff’ in this world.
Why design or create more objects? Don’t we have enough already?
In some respects, yes. We don’t need another item of ‘stuff’.
However, I intend to make objects which will help people move towards a more sustainable life style. What I propose is to continue designing objects, but through a different lens. Why? Because I love the ‘made’ world, as do many other people. However, one of the key problems at this moment is that many objects are being created using poor quality materials, simply to generate more money.
Objects built for adaptability, upgradeability and longevity with user participation are the future. And the now. Yes, this means creating more objects, but it is a step in the right direction. This is about changing behaviour, paradigms and way of life. People need to be re-programmed and realise that it is better to spend more on a longer lasting product. Designers need to see that objects they create should be easily fixed, with customisable or upgradeable parts, as opposed to being replaced when they break/ the owner gets bored of them.
This does not achieve 100% sustainability but it will make a difference. I am a creator of objects moving towards a higher level of sustainability. Objects will not cease to exist or be designed in the near future, so it is the designer’s job to create objects with a longer and more adaptive life cycle.

26 May 2011

The Six Key Drivers

This handbook has been written by me (Emily Gunning) to give designers a six-point framework, which they can use to aid them in the design process.

Many theoretical frameworks in relation to sustainable design have been created through the years, but this framework concentrates particularly on ways to create product-user attachment, thus resulting in less waste and lower material usage.

Extensive research was undertaken into:
·       Favourite objects
·       Objects owned for a long time/ with a long lifespan
·       Objects which are quickly discarded or have a short life span
My primary aim was to discover the differences between these objects and identify the key drivers that cause the subject-object relationships and thus greater meaning within the objects.

I used the results of my research to create these Six Key Drivers, which consist of one word each, with a description and meaning. These Drivers identify and summarize the factors leading to emotional durability within objects. It is then down to the designer to read and apply or consider these when creating objects. The designer can choose to consider or use all Drivers, one of the Drivers, or a combination of a few of the Drivers.

This is available both as a book and an online resource. If any parts of the book are copied or referred to, please reference Emily Gunning (2011).

 © Emily Gunning (2011)

25 May 2011

Jardin Flambeau

The 7th and 8th May saw a beautiful fire garden created by Compagnie Carabosse, a French collective. This installation was created in St Ann’s Well Gardens in Brighton as part of the Brighton Festival, and really was not to be missed. The event was completely free, running until about 11pm, with a wonderful ambiance created by music, people, still and moving fire sculptures. It was like being in a dream world. Photographs and video could not capture the full experience, but here are some for those who missed this fabulous show.


A short video showing the movement of the flames. Unfortunately, this still does not fully represent the magic of the evening.

11 April 2011

Fundraising for Japan: Peace Crane Ceremony

Friday 25th March saw the ceremony of the hanging of the peace cranes made by all who got involved throughout the week of fundraising. We began by laying the strings of cranes on the grass, and then began to tie them to some fishing wire, which we had strung around the branches of an old oak tree at UoB. Even with the cranes simply arranged on the floor it looked wonderful. 

UoB Ceremony
 At around 12.30 Camille, Jen and I made a quick speech about what happened in Japan, why were doing this and who the funds would be going to with a few snapshots being taken. We then each pulled an end of the fishing wire and the cranes rose into the sky, hanging from between the branches in all their splendour.

It really was a beautiful and very moving moment. The cranes continued to sway amongst the wind, shining in the sun for a couple of days before we took them down on the 25th March as we then needed to prepare them to be hung in the ‘Avago’ glass cabinet at the Grand Parade site of UoB. They are now in the cabinet and will be until the beginning of May, reminding people of what terrible events have happened and how important it is to support and donate for Japan. 

UoB Avago Cabinet
We raised over £3000 with Santander's pound for pound match.

Click the title of this post to view all of the photos from the fundraising that we did.
See the video below, created by Gabriel Wulff for the event in 50 seconds...

24 March 2011

Fundraising: Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Aid

 A massive earthquake, the seventh largest recorded in history, struck the east coast of Japan on Friday 11 March.

The earthquake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, triggered a tsunami which hit the east coast of Japan with 7-metre-high waves, leaving a trail of destruction. More than 10,000 people have died in the disaster. The earthquake triggered fires and caused severe damage to buildings, leaving 1.2 million homes without electricity and 1.4 million without water. Food, water and fuel are in desperately short supply.

A friend of mine, Camille, decided that we should hold a fundraiser in order to begin to help the people of Japan. We decided to donate the money to two charities: The Red Cross and Save the Children.

The fundraising began in a small way, simply asking for donations in return for an origami peace crane. However, it quickly developed a life of its own & escalated (with our help) into something bigger. Our team (comprising Camille, Zoe (a friend and coursemate), Jen (from the International Student Services at UoB, and me), with support from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and staff at UoB, have transformed this into a fundraising event that is bringing the UoB campuses, students and staff together.

Instead of simply asking for a donation we thought that it would be great to continue with the usual donations, but to also add a more 'hands-on' approach to fundraising, as Zoe stated, " putting the Fun in Fundraising!" We, with help from other volunteers (friends, coursemates) offered to teach people how to make origami peace cranes in return for a small donation. It is now the 5th day and it has been a highly successful and fun experience: not only because we have done so well raising money for the survivors in Japan, but also because we have brought people together and made new friends.  To top it all, Santander have offered to match whatever we collectively raise and add it as a donation - this really is the icing on the cake. 

Day one of the FUNdraising at UoB: A family of giant peace cranes
We (the volunteers) made lots of peace cranes which we gave as thanks for donations, but we have decided to keep those cranes that were made (under our instruction) by the people donating. We have begun to string up all of these multi-coloured paper birds, and on Friday 25th March at 12.00 we will be holding a 'ceremony', hanging the strings of cranes from a tree within the University grounds (Grand Parade Campus), creating a beautiful installation. Photos and more (from the ceremony) to come!

For photos of the fundraising so far, please click on the title of this post.

22 March 2011

DA UK: Videos

Not only do we have the fabulous re-cap and photographs from the DA Brighton event (as seen in my two previous posts), but the videos are now up and running on youtube. The evening's presentations began with Peter Bentley, the "Ecological Designer/Thinker and earthling!". Next up was Gabriel Wulff, an Ecologist, Community Gardener and Activist, followed by Professor Sandy Black: Professor of Fashion & Textiles Design Technology and Director for the Centre for Fashion Science both at the London College of Fashion. Our fourth speaker, Karen Blincoe was incredibly inspiring and as someone with so much experience within Sustainability, as well as being the the Director of Danish Designers in Copenhagen and ex-Director of the Schumacher College in Devon, is certainly one to watch! To bring an end to the talks we had Professor Marie Harder, the Sustainable Development facilitator at the University of Brighton. All in all, it was a wonderful and thought-provoking evening - can't wait for the next one!

Designers Accord UK: Photographs

The feedback cards from the DA event. (for more, click on the title) - Photographs taken by Anastasia Georgiou

Designers Accord UK

In Brighton, we ("a group of individuals with a driving force!" - Zoe) held the first ever Designers Accord Town hall on 10th March 2011. The re-cap (written by me) has just been put on the Core77 website: have a read to see what these events are all about and to get involded with the next ‘Town Hall’ meeting. (Click on title to see the article)