Jill Fehrenbacher

GREEN DESIGN PREDICTIONS FOR 2009

by , 01/02/09
filed under: Announcements

Inhabitat Predictions for 2009, Green Design Predictions, editors predictions for 2009, design predictions, new years predictions

2009 is now upon us, and the start of the new year is a great time to engage in a little reflection and try to predict what the coming year might hold. You’ve heard some 2009 forecasts from the Inhabitat team, and now we’d like to bring you a different perspective, with some predictions for 2009 from our friends around the blogosphere:

Lloyd Alter, 2009 New Years Prediction, New Years Prediction

LLOYD ALTER – Architecture & Design Editor, Treehugger.com

As much as I love it, prefab is dead for a while, or at least in hibernation. It thrived when labor was expensive and hard to find; now trades are available and the prefab factories are already closing down. It will also collide with a bigger trend toward localism: support your local plumber and craftsman rather than ordering out to a factory. More architects and designers will make things with their hands or open shops to do it for them; we will actually have to know how to make things. When my sustainable design students at Ryerson University ask what is the single most important thing to learn to do sustainable design, I tell them to take up carpentry or cabinet making; we will be doing a lot of renovations and efficiency upgrades and we may be doing it ourselves.

Not only is everything old new again, as we reuse and recycle, but everything new will be old again, as we look at the ways we designed things before we had infinite, dependable and cheap power to heat, cool and light them. Modernists will suffer, but so will cutesy traditionalists as we look for a new, tough efficient aesthetic that reminds us of walk-in coolers. Nobody will want to live in elevator buildings with glass walls, ie everything built in the recent boom.

But we will see more invention, ingenuity and creativity than we have seen in years; as Seth Godin writes: “Inc. magazine reports that a huge percentage of companies in this year’s Inc. 500 were founded within months of 9/11. Talk about uncertain times. But uncertain times, frozen liquidity, political change and poor astrological forecasts (not to mention chicken entrails) all lead to less competition, more available talent and a do-or-die attitude that causes real change to happen. If I wasn’t already running my own business, today is the day I’d start one.”
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Allan Chochinov, 2009 New Years Prediction, New Years Prediction

ALLAN CHOCHINOV – Editor-in-chief, Industrial design website Core77.com

In 2009 I think we’re going to see an explosion of Service Design around the world. Many firms are already practicing it, but it will take on a new urgency as more and more people recognize service as the new product. On the artifact front though, we say bring on more crafting, modding and making! There’s just something so satisfying about creating something with your hands.

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Sarah Rich, 2009 New Years Prediction, New Years Prediction

SARAH RICH – Senior Editor, Dwell Magazine

I predict that designers are going to be looking for ways to keep their own creativity and productivity afloat even as their users use less. This means that designers will be working with new ideas around the relationships between people and their stuff, placing greater focus on longevity and durability, take-back programs and renewability, and hopefully on ways to place community at the center, using social networks and human relationships to be sure people have what they need.

Of course in 2009, we will also see a rise in green jobs as the Obama administration takes office and hopefully a spike in public understanding and support for renewable energy and sustainable industry. Finally I’ll make a prediction (and a hopeful resolution) that 2009 will be the year that the White House once again gets an edible garden on the lawn and the American food system sees the sustainable change it needs.

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Piers Fawkes, 2009 New Years Prediction, New Years Prediction

PIERS FAWKES – Founder & Editor, PSFK.com

In our new book Good Ideas for 2009 we talk about the concept of ‘Design For Change’ which argues that we should design for our changing world. Staying flexible, accepting new ideas and plans, and acknowledging that things never stay the same allow us the space to work with interesting new possibilities instead of fighting them. If we can see events unfolding on the horizon, we can be ready to take full advantage of them rather than blindly reacting when they come pounding on our door.

Manifestations of this Good Idea include:

+ Spending only four months at a single destination, Kubik is a temporary open-air installation blending sustainable design with light and music. The installation is constructed from 275 reclaimed industrial oil tanks stacked on top of each other to form an enclosed space that functions as a nightclub. Most recently set up in Barcelona, Kubik has also been constructed in Eindhoven, Lisbon, and Milan.

+ Furniture that evolves as its users’ needs change is not only useful, but also sustainable and cost-effective. Designer Min Kang, recognizing the short lifespan of children’s bassinets, created the YiAhn, a crib that adapts as a child develops and grows – into a table, chair, toy bin, and bookshelf.

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Thomas Ermacora, 2009 New Years Prediction, New Years Prediction

THOMAS ERMACORA – Founder, Etikstudio.com

For some time it has been customary to use green as a tag with often little truth behind it, just as a way to surf the wave. With the economic turmoil, it is going to be harder to cheat and those that have put real effort into making innovative green design solutions could be in for a treat- at least that is a hope some of us in Europe share. While working on the ‘dreams on wheels’ touring exhibit curated in context with the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen 2009 which showcases urban cycling as a pace changing strategy for congested cities, it has occurred to me that generally people are ready to accept green as a complete alternative lifestyle if it competes on traditional market terms.

So it seems that in terms of defining trends we have started to notice that the variety of low and high ends options have grown so much we are likely to observe a boom in the products that have been waiting on the shelves to be found by an end user. If you want to go green, this is the best moment to wake up, else just keep the spirit. Also worth noticing is the striking quality of designs from around the world – India and Brazil in particular – that will gain prominence in the next decade.

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