Inheritable Futures Laboratory

Definitions of sustainability are continuously debated by those working in all areas of industry to create a greener future. With the IF: Laboratory, a research collective based at the University of Brighton in the UK, Jonathan Chapman and Nick Grant have embraced the debate and stoked the fire by asking what is 100% Sustainable? They introduced this question at 100% Design a few weeks ago in London. Their project aims to ‘deepen and enhance understanding of sustainable design’, which they believe has often been ‘unhelpfully fragmented and disparate’. The enormity of an event like 100% Design means that as an exhibitor it is easy to get lost in the crowd. We were impressed by how the IF: Lab created a stand out stand with a strong interactive element in the name of action research. They invited people to sit in one of two shelters to answer a questionnaire. One of the questions was which shelter to you think is more sustainable – the plastic geodesic dome or the cardboard hut? Design shows can often be quite passive experiences as you glide past stand after stand where one bathroom sink blends into another, so it was quite a surprise to be asked to sit down for a moment and think, to really use one’s brain and make a contribution to the show. On the back of the questionnaire visitors were asked to draw an image of sustainabilty. These images were then pinned up on the tall tree branches which were used to demarcate the stand area. The images were visually distinctive, thought provoking and gave an interesting insight into people’s perceptions of sustainability. These images and the information gleaned from the questionnaires will be fed into a new book edited by Jonathan and Nick called ‘Designers, Visionaries + Other Stories’, it will be available in April 2007. To learn more about IF: Lab’s stand at 100% Design you can hear Inhabitat's interview with Jonathan and Nick on You Tube. Photos courtesy of JP Bland and IF:Laboratory.