Sustainability Design Week

Global Design Agenda's Sustainability Design Week speakers stress the need to design and build sustainable cities for survival.

Atelier LUMA's Crystallization plant in France creates new architectural and product uses for Camargue salt taken from the Rhône delta. Photo: Adrian Deweerdt

Editor's Letter — July 2022 | News

Atelier LUMA's Crystallization plant in France creates new architectural and product uses for Camargue salt taken from the Rhône delta. Photo: Adrian Deweerdt

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If I had a penny for each time someone in the last couple of weeks has quipped that they're 'so hot right now', I'd be on my way to becoming a rich man.

Record-breaking temperatures across much of the Northern Hemisphere are just the latest reminder of what's at stake in climate terms. And to think we're currently 'only' 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. That’s certainly no joke.

Salt blocks at Atelier LUMA's Crystallization Plant in Camargue, France (top) and Global Design Agenda Sustainability Design Week speaker, Jan Boelen (bottom). Photo: Adrian Deweerdt (top)

Editor's Letter — July 2022 | News

Salt blocks at Atelier LUMA's Crystallization Plant in Camargue, France (top) and Global Design Agenda Sustainability Design Week speaker, Jan Boelen (bottom). Photo: Adrian Deweerdt (top)

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Our recent Global Design Agenda: Sustainability Design Week speakers pulled no punches when they set out the priorities, challenges and, often, the contradictions of a meaningful approach to sustainability in architecture and design. The clarion call was made by Jan Boelen of Atelier LUMA: ‘Sustainability is not a question anymore, it's just survival.’ Few would disagree with this. And yet as Craig Robertson of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris rightly pointed out, ‘Different stakeholders have different ideas of what a good building is.' He went on to remind us that architecture, as a whole, has always been about compromise and negotiation. ‘A profit motive, a social-value motive, a user motive… and now the climate emergency we’re currently in.’

BIG's Martin Voelkle (top) shared his thoughts on the visual use of sustainable timber at Zurich airport (bottom)

Editor's Letter — July 2022 | News

BIG's Martin Voelkle (top) shared his thoughts on the visual use of sustainable timber at Zurich airport (bottom)

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We need to design buildings ‘like a looser jacket, where unintended future uses can be accommodated.’ So argued Oliver Schaper of Gensler in his fascinating contribution. And the context for these programmatically open-ended structures? ‘Cities. They’re still the best model for sustainable dwelling on this planet.’ Watch here to get his insights in full. And while you’re at it, learn about star-office BIG’s new large-scale, mass-timber dock for Zurich Airport, which will see sustainability writ large in the very fabric of this forward-facing project. A worthy addition to the much-loved, existing Grimshaw terminal structure, but not without its controversy. Aviation is, after all, still a highly polluting form of travel. Greenwashing or a laudable example of how to leverage architecture to develop a greater understanding among the public at large of our necessary direction of travel? No pun intended.

The stackable Bloom Bar stool (top) is perfect for adaptable hospitality spaces, while the opulence of this drinks cabinet from Buster + Punch can make one feel like a rockstar (bottom)

Editor's Letter — July 2022 | News

The stackable Bloom Bar stool (top) is perfect for adaptable hospitality spaces, while the opulence of this drinks cabinet from Buster + Punch can make one feel like a rockstar (bottom)

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The Global Design Agenda takes a short summer break now. Back in September, fully refreshed, with another great line-up of contributors. This time round focusing on furniture. Speaking of which, do take a look at these two recently published features that get the evening started: the first on that always-more-exciting seating typology, the bar stool, which is set to become more specified than ever in post-Covid hospitality settings; and the second on that love-it-or-adore-it unnecessary item, the drinks cabinet.

DAAily bar Live Talk conversations included with the playful boys from CMP Design (top) and showroom architects Calvi Brambilla, creators of this elegant storefront for antoniolupi (bottom)

Editor's Letter — July 2022 | News

DAAily bar Live Talk conversations included with the playful boys from CMP Design (top) and showroom architects Calvi Brambilla, creators of this elegant storefront for antoniolupi (bottom)

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Finally, Milan Design Week might feel like a while ago now, but, in case you missed it, here are a few more insightful conversations that I had at our DAAily bar with some of the A&D scene’s most entertaining protagonists: Alfredo Häberli, Calvi Brambilla, Cristian Zuzunaga and CMP Design. Think of it as essential summer reading.

On that note. I wish you all (those of you above the equator, at least) a relaxing and restorative break.

Stay cool. And be inspired.

Simon Keane-Cowell
Editor-in-Chief

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