Gallery: DESIGN FOR THE OTHER 90% EXHIBITION

 

We recently featured the BoGolight here at Inhabitat, showing you an example of product design focused on helping the world’s poorest. The idea of designing for the rest of the planet is not new, and with the focus on global warming and sustainability it seems like more and more designers are focusing on designing low-cost solutions for the most basic of needs. This is the focus of Design for the Other 90% exhibition currently on view at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City.

Design for the 90% features work by innovative designers and artists that have the aim of creating affordable and socially responsible objects for those in need. The exhibition features five main areas of interest: water, health, energy, education and shelter. As Dr. PaulPolak mentioned in an interview with the New York Times, “A billion customers in the world,are waiting for a $2 pair of eyeglasses, a $10 solar lantern and a $100 house.”

One of the featured inventions on the show is the Pot-in-Pot cooling system by Mohammed Bah Abba. The system, which essentially consists of one pot inside another with a layer of sand and water in between them, cools down the vegetables inside the pots. The life of an eggplant, for instance, gets extended from 3 days to about 28, extending the life of the vegetable and allowing people better access to better food for longer periods of time.

For those of you who cannot go to New York to the exhibition, the website provides a lot of information about the designers on the show, and it’s well worth a look.

+ Design for the other 90% + Design that solves the world’s problems @ NYT + Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


6 Comments

  1. Philip June 14, 2007 at 12:04 am

    rek,

    No, $1,300 isn’t necessarily better than $100 for the cost of a personal computer. Your reasoning fails by not accounting for the scalability of budgetary resources between the first and third worlds. For huge numbers of people, $100 is not more attainable than $1,000. Your estimation of these costs is a first world social construction.

    As far as the ground roller is concerned, I don’t think it appeared in any of the Cooper Hewitt’s literature as a _new_ design. Nor can I imagine that anyone in attendance at the exhibition was credulous enough to read it that way. Designers often consult _exemplars_ of design solutions that have come before them. This is a part of the critical enterprise of all types of design. Inhabitat is a design community. Not the mall. If what you want is an endless parade of novelty without any critical oversight of it’s content, you’ll probably be more comfortable at the latter.

  2. rek June 13, 2007 at 12:53 am

    The water-filled ground roller isn’t new, my father’s had one since the early 80s (if not earlier). It’s just a drum on its side with an A-frame handle attached to the ‘axle’ for pulling behind a lawn tractor.

    $100 for a laptop may mean they’ll have to save up for quite some time, but it’s still better than $1300 isn’t it?

  3. Aryeh June 11, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    I’m not sure why I see so much negativity in regards to this posting. The democratization of good, environmentally efficient design is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the global community. Personally, I am involved in labor issues and the promotion of a higher wage for workers in developing nations. That said, promoting wages is a distinct and separate issue. Understandably, it is impossible to afford a $100 computer on a $8 a day salary, still that does not make the idea of cheap technology a bad one.

    The dearth of any type of organized thinking on this issue is such that any move in the right direction should be applauded, not critiqued to such a high degree. We’re moving in the right direction — today’s $100 computer may be a $20 computer within the decade.

  4. RAUL GARZA June 10, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    GOOD IDEA, THINK TO HELP THE OTHER 90% OF THIS WORLD WITH DESING AND CHEAP ITEMS IS A GREAT CHALLENGE, BUT IT IS STILL NOT ENOUGH, IDEAS + DESING = GOOD PRODUCT, BUT TRERE IS SOMETHING MISING. JOBS AND SALARIES. THAT WILL BE THE TURNING POINT TO CHANGE CHARITY INTO OPPORTUNITIES. WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO LEARN, BUT CERTENLY YOU ARE IN THE CORRECT TRACK, GOOD JOB AND SUCCESS.

  5. Cat Laine June 10, 2007 at 8:53 am

    If you won’t be able to make it to NYC to see the exhibit by September, I posted photos I took last week at the Cooper-Hewitt on AIDG’s flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidg/sets/72157600320663480/

  6. Chagri Lama June 10, 2007 at 1:14 am

    Ok, here we go! Design that is geared to last and last. It is also design that benefits a huge number of people. solutions to what bothers or hurts many people, in the millions. It is also design that mostly costs nearly zilch! That means that people who NEED the solutions, can acquire it.

    Compare for example the $100 computer per child to the average actual income of the vast majority of the poorer countries, and you find that only a tiny smattering will even earn that in a month! Meaning, that they will HAVE to rely on charity to acquire such a computer! Now put yourself in the same place: You are now dependent on charity and gifts year after year. What does that do to your self-esteem?

    Anyway, I love this post! Thank you!

    Chagri Lama
    (Yes, Social Justice is a big item in my life.)

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home