Susan S. Szenasy of Metropolis with Richard Wool
The Metropolis conference at ICFF was entitled Design Entrepreneurs: INNOVATE, and in the afternoon sessions Susan Szenasy introduced us to product innovators like Professor Richard Wool of the University of Delaware, who builds tractors out of soybeans and hurricane-proof roofs out of chicken feathers. The author of Biobased Polymers and Composites was full of good quotes about why the future is bioplastics:
"One hour of sunlight = the energy of all the fossil fuels consumed in a year."
which can easily be converted to biobased materials, from soybeans to whatever:
Our future will be built from carbonized chicken feathers.
Henrik Otto is Senior Vice President, Global Design at Electrolux, the Swedish appliance company that runs the annual design competition that is regularly seen on TreeHugger. Why do they do the Design Lab competition?
Innovation comes from outside in, never inside out.
Examples of innovation that have come out of the competition are the Flatshare fridge, designed by Stefan Buchberger, a design student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. (Jaymi covered it in TreeHugger here) It was just an idea, but Henrik says that he recently got a call from a British architect who wanted to order a couple of thousand of them.
But can one have too much innovation? With this oven, you tell it when you want to eat, what it is and how you want it done. It tells you where to put what you are cooking in the oven, weighs it and "Inspiro calculates the energy consumption and time needed to raise the temperature of the meat to the desired level. That information is then combined with its database of professional cooking techniques to calculate what combination of heating modes is required (top, bottom, side, hot air, or grill) to ensure the desired result."
There is just one control; Electrolux aims for simplicity:
If your product needs a manual then you have failed as a designer.
Lost among her fabric is Eve Blossom of Lulan, a TreeHugger favorite. (see Lulan Artisans Redefines Sustainability) She described Lulan's philosophy:
Lulan Artisans business model has evolved to embrace "sustainability" in a dynamic and profound sense of the word. Our years of in-depth work with Lulan's weaving partners in developing countries has led us to understand that true sustainability has four critical components-economic, cultural, environmental and social. As a progessive and innovative for-profit social venture, Lulan addresses all four of these aspects.
More from Lulan: Our Philosophy: Responsible Design
More at ICFF:
Carry-Na: Good Design Comes to the Seniors Set
Watching the IF Mode Bike Fold and Unfold (Video)
Young British Designers Take Over ICFF (Video)
John Reeves' Cast Aluminum Furniture (Video)
The Silliest Thing in ICFF: The Bunny Bag (Video)
Design Entrepreneurs Innovate at ICFF
Craft Meets Computers At Iannone Design (Video)
Downloadable Wonders From Virginia Tech
Andrew Moe Gets Recession-Ready