Design Entrepreneurs Innovate at ICFF



Susan Szenasy and James Ludwig

The program said "the key to success-now more than ever- is INNOVATION. How are designers, architects businesses and schools reinventing themselves to fit 21st century models?" Susan Szenasy of Metropolis hosted, shown above with James Ludwig, Vice President of Design for the office furniture company Steelcase, not a company with a reputation for being cutting edge. That is going to change.

Ludwig made some interesting predictions about the future of the office:Ludwig's main thrust is that the only businesses that are going to survive are those that promote collaboration and communication. With technology at hand or coming, there really is no other point in going to an office. "Fixed and mobile devices give information a seat at the table."

The office of the future will be affected by:

1) A new sobriety: smaller, simpler.

2) Google: will it scan everything, become the repository of knowledge? Will the workplace simply be a pipeline to Google?

3) Telepresence: will high definition video conferencing change the way we collaborate?

4) New Devices drive new postures: will smaller, lighter more flexible wireless tools eliminate the need to sit at a desk?

5) Resource use: Everything will just have to use less.

icff yost photo

Peter Yost writes for Building Green, a great resource for anyone interested in green architecture, and a major source for TreeHugger posts. He made some interesting predictions about the future of housing in America:

1) Build with less space. The American home had been growing on average by 75 square feet per year, because people equated space with value; as we have pointed out many times on TreeHugger, the bigger the house, the lower the cost per square foot. But the carbon footprint of a house goes up proportionately with its geographical footprint, and the cost of operating these houses will become prohibitive with rising energy costs.

2. Heat people, not spaces. We should be heating and cooling by task, not whole rooms, let alone whole houses. He even predicted that we might wear heated clothing to reduce the temperature in our homes to less than we might consider comfortable.

3. Fuel will drive change. with increasing energy costs there will be a strong incentive to reduce the use of cars, and access to transit will drive real estate values.

4) Transportation alternatives will become more viable. We will choose our vehicle by task: a bike for short and local, cars when we need them. We will probably look at cars as a service rather than ownership.

5) Water 17% of all the energy consumed in the State of California goes to cleaning and moving water. We have to use less, and we have to stop using drinking water to flush toilets and water our gardens.

Some zinger quotes: on our lack of car in design- his heating contractor says:

My definition of "non-structural" is anything that is in my way.

You just cannot build a decent house in the field with current construction practices:

The site-built construction process is the anathema to higher performance.

Learn more at Building Green.

Design Entrepreneurs Innovate at ICFF
Susan Szenasy and James Ludwig

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