designing ins & outs

When I started my bachelor studies in industrial design, I wasn’t sure if more design – and more design products – actually is what we need, because there are so many issues connected with what might be called trash overflow. Though most of the projects I made don’t reflect this state of mind, but they helped me learn to walk the paths of design. Now I’m starting to see big pictures everywhere, and all those old issues start coming up again. 

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New Houses III- Container Homes

At the end of my last housing post, we’ve seen modular parasitic buildings. The Muthesius school of fine arts Kiel, where I made my Bachelor’s degree, had a similar thing which I loved. In lack of basement space, they added some shipping containers to the old buildings’ walls. These “architectural parasites” connect to the fire stairs and are used for extra storage and as balconies. 
 
But except for shipping and storing things, containers can also be used for building homes. Not those office shacks that are used on festival check-ins, building sites or campgrounds, but real neat homes. 

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Do we need cars? three types of innovations

When people talk about sustainable mobility, they mostly think of electric cars. But actually, they are only the first step towards a future-proof mobility culture. They’re easy to implement because this innovation doesn’t really need people to change their behaviour. Everyone still got their own car in which to drive around. Everyone also still has to refill its energy in more or less regular intervals at those places where you can do exactly that. No big change there, even if oil  industry lobbyists are convincing everyone of the opposite. But what, I hear you ask, are the next steps then? Here’s an overview, showing the three types of innovations.

Transformation Design II – trend steering

Transforming the world is no end in itself. It aims at keeping or raising the ability and number of people to live healthily on this limited surface. This goal can best be obtained when keeping some standards and constraints, which science has turned out for years. The problem with this is, it’s mostly numbers. Numbers are too abstract for most people to grasp and translate to values.
 
Therefore, people who have the knowledge to grasp the numbers can translate these to aforesaid standards and constraints. From them, one can derive a list of things not to do. Environmental Organisations have been doing this for a long time. But because being asked to stop doing things is at least uncomfortable, if not outrageous to most citizens, these methods have yet failed to reach a critical mass.  

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New Houses I – building principles

Everyone needs a home, or at least a roof and bed. And though some people can assemble a home for 12$, most want some level of comfort. Also, many people would like owning a place to call home. But building a new house in the traditional way is a lot of work and includes many different materials, some of them expensive.
 
In the past, this has led to the usage of cheap but toxic materials. Today, many materials have been recognised as toxic and consequently mustn’t be used for building new houses. Apart from that, not much has changed in the way homes are built. This might change because new technologies are on the horizon.
 

#RIOTTECH – or how the digital age supports alternative voices even offline

The digital age brought massive changes to the way we live. Globalisation and technical progress have had many effects on most aspects of life. Not all of those can be described as positive in the way of helping the majority. So said majority went to the streets, demanding political change and fair wages.

In 2011, the Arab Spring gained momentum very fast by using twitter and Facebook to quickly organise demonstrations. Later that year, the occupy movement also was successful because many of the participants were digital natives. Also, they had support from anonymous.

But Twitter is not the only possibility offered to demonstrators by technology. There’s also Instructables. And 3D printers. Here are some riottech projects, found in the streettoolbox.

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Transformation Design I – origins

I recently got accepted for the master studies in Transformation Design at the Braunschweig University of Art. So a lot of people have asked me what Transformation Design actually is.

For one, it’s new. There is a Wikipedia article about it, but it hasn’t been translated to any language other than English yet.

So, since it was -and still is – difficult for me to describe in simple terms what’s it about. Therefore, I’m going to present it here, one part after another.

Today, I’ll start with how the idea came up, and from which core elements it started evolving.

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windowfarms revived & what failed the first time

Have you ever thought about growing your own food? I have. But I generally am a lazy person, and maintaining a garden is a lot of work. Also, I live in a small city flat without a garden.

But a while ago, I saw a TED Talk about a DIY upcycling hydroponics system called ‘windowfarm’ for home use. Growing my own food inside my apartment sounds good, especially in this semi-automated way. I also like the concept of upcycling stuff you’d otherwise throw away. So, I was amazed. But not for long.

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