Plastic Bar - Global Warming - Art Stones - Hangar



ross mcleod and astrid huwald


The Ethics of Desire studio asked a very simple but important question. How can design works be both ethically sustainable while appealing to the desires and expectations of a population which demands a certain level of comfort and service? To address these issues we delved into an in depth exploration of the issues surrounding sustainable design practices and the patterns and values of contemporary first world city life.

In the first half of the semester students reviewed daily activities performed in their house and developed ways to reinvent them. To do this, the studio considered the ‘object systems' employed in our lives and came to terms with the implications of our daily habits and actions in a broader sense. This approach to design required the students to understand the sustainable issues involved in the use of raw materials, production energy, ethical labor, energy usage, life cycle, marketing and branding, purchasing, distribution and transport.

Each student chose a different part of the house and daily activity to focus upon. The resultant accretion of ideas and projects defined all aspects of domestic interiors and defined the actions and activities of a sustainable domestic environment.

For the final project of the semester the students were asked to develop a specific topic and generate a sustainable design proposal. The brief could consider sustainable issues through: the identification of a system of products and services, the development of a particular site, a specific programmatic study or an in depth exploration of a sustainable material.

Final projects that the students produced included:

•  Urban Density - The design of an housing complex which consolidated the needs and wants of an entire suburban street of three bedroom family homes into one factory site in Brunswick

•  Exchange - a bio-regional produce supermarket store which redefined the shopping experience and its associated issues of food miles and a re-usable packaging and container system

•  Hangar – a clothing exchange and fashion boutique which reused and remodeled clothing to order

•  Plastic Bar – an entire interior designed around the use of plastic bottles

•  Global warming/ Personal warming – a felt based insulation device that could be used as a piece of furniture, a flexible environment structure, a wall hanging or an insulating curtain.

•  Art stones – a range of domestic bowls made from papier mache newsprint and bound with flour and water

While an environmentally sustainable approach was the framework and base assumption from which the students worked, the main criteria we were looking for was the quality of the design and the level of reality and detail that was brought to it. We were looking for sustainable design acts that could seamlessly integrate themselves into contemporary lifestyles, that made sound economic and commercial sense and which were both beautiful and appealing.


STUDENTS: jessica chidester, blanche de guzman, christopher free, sofia lagberg, felicity miller, jana mudano, tammy ngamkron, anthony renehan, nina rowlands, monika sabari, eve sayer, carrie tjandinegara, tabitha zino