Sunday, February 12, 2012

Going Green by Design: Bangkok exhibit shows future of nature-sustainable products

Green or nature-sustainable thinking in design and products is not just a hot topic among major industrial nations in the West; it's also finding its way into countries like Thailand, as evidenced by the exhibit "Everything Forever Now: Designs for a sustainable future" currently on display at the Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) in Bangkok.

Some of the exhibit's many highlights include a bicycle made from nylon powder, a lamp powered by moss, benches made from seaweed, and artificial leather made from leather tannery discards.

"In recent years there has been a shift in the way that designers approach the idea of sustainable design. Now they view it less as a problem, and more as a fact of life – and certainly as an opportunity to rethink what and how we make things, and how we might go about our lives in a more effective and positive way," explained the TCDC website.

A bike, made primarily from nylon powder that is formed into a resin, streamlines the manufacturing process with less raw materials involved and is 65% lighter than an aluminum bicycle with less maintenance required. The manufacturing technique was actually borrowed from space satellite construction, called additive layer manufacturing, whereby all the components are formed as a unit at the same time.

Biophotovoltaics is the science behind a small, glass-topped table designed by Cambridge University which can power a small lamp. The table contains living moss which, through energy produced by the plant's photosynthesis during the day, can charge a small battery that powers the lamp in the evening hours.

To further make a point regarding recycling what would normally be discarded materials, many of the walls surrounding the exhibit are made from discarded milk cartons, processed into a building material that is toxin-free, flame-retardant, and resistant to moisture and termites.

The TCDC exhibit is an example of science working its way into the design and manufacturing world where the economics and practicality of new processes and products could very well shape our future into a more nature-friendly one.

"Whether designing for longevity, building self-sufficient communities, improving the efficiency of infrastructures or developing new materials, the new guard of green designers quietly promises one thing: to deepen and improve our relationship with the environment, both now and well into the future," said TCDC.

Source: TCDC website
Source: Thailand's The Nation

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