Saving the planet is about more than electric cars. It’s about thinking and acting in sustainable ways in every aspect of our lives. From our home to where we work, sustainable design should be an essential consideration.
Thankfully, some inspirational visionaries are way ahead of us. Already blazing a trail for us all to follow with their sustainable designs.
Here we highlight three leaders who are working hard to make the future brighter for us all.
From the heart of his social design lab, Studio Roosegaarde, in Rotterdam, Roosegaarde is on a mission to bring sustainable design to the world. He aims to connect people, technology and space to improve daily life in urban environments. No small task.
With his team of designers and engineers, Roosegaarde has inspired the world with internationally acclaimed projects including the Smog Free Project and Waterlicht.
The Smog Free Project was a milestone of sustainable design, as it’s now the world’s largest, outdoor air purifier.
So, what’s next? The Dutch artist and innovator is turning his gaze to the heavens, of course. Space Waste Lab is a long-term project which aims to tackle a pressing issue and threat which many of us are unaware of; space junk.
The project has three stages, first to visual the location of the waste in space, then to capture it before, finally, dealing with it.
With so much of our communications and navigation technology being space based, this junk poses a threat to our everyday lives. Over 29,000 particles larger than 10cm can be tracked in real time. But even tiny particles have devastating effects on satellites when they strike them.
All of this waste is man-made, we put it there and, with Roosegaarde leading the way, we’ll be the ones to clean it up.
90% of the world’s largest cities are situated on the waterfront. Whilst projects estimate that 70% of the world population will live in an urbanized area by 2050. As climate change begins to affect the environment, designers need to consider how we will live with water in urban environments.
That’s where Olthuis and his team at Waterstudio come in.
Koen Olthuis alumni of Delft University of technology, where he studied Architecture and Industrial Design. Since then, he has been widely recognized as a luminary in his field. Including by Time Magazine in 2007 and the French magazine Terra Eco in 2011.
It’s his vision that today’s designers need to enhance their perspective of urban components to add more dynamic, rather than static, elements. Using water as a building ground adds extra space for construction and lowers density in urban spaces. This also provides flexible solutions for cities to respond to both urbanization and climate change.
This revolutionary concept is best demonstrated by the collaboration between Arkup and Waterstudio. Olthuis and his team designed zero-emission floating homes. Very much designed for an uncertain future, they can withstand high winds, floods and hurricanes thanks to their elevation system. Each unit includes waste management, solar panels, rainwater harvesting and water purification systems.
Living on the water is not just an innovative solution. It also presents an ecologically sound, versatile and sustainable option for our future.
A native of South Africa, Doepel immigrated to the Netherlands in 1996. Having long been interested in sustainability, he joined the Netherlands Institute of Spatial Research in 2002. Doepel went on to become a co-founder of DoepelStrijkers, an interdisciplinary design studio, in 2007.
Doepel is a proponent of circular economy, where materials are reused, and waste is designed out. He’s working hard to end the cycle of “take, make, dispose” which plagues much of the modern world.
But his vision stretches beyond even this as can be seen by the Dutch Wind Wheel project in Rotterdam. Aiming to be the new icon for Rotterdam, The Netherlands and to embody the windmill of the future, it is truly an ambitious project.
Comprising two rings, the interior will house seventy-two residential units, a restaurant, hotel and commercial space. Whilst the exterior will feature a panoramic wheel of forty rotating cabins as a tourist attraction.
Beyond this, the core principles behind the concept are firmly fixed in sustainability. The building will feature a wealth of ecologically responsible including a solar energy generation, wind energy, wind cooling, rainwater capturing, biogas production, water filtration and a smart skin to provide natural filtration. The aim is very much not to only use the best available current sustainable technology, but to drive innovation and development of new eco-tech for the future of us all.
So, there you have three of the most exciting and innovative sustainable designers. Their vision and imagination is driving sustainable design into a brighter more positive future. We recommend keeping an eye on these trailblazers to see what the future holds for us all.
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