Critical Design

Main relatives

Activism, Conceptual Design, Design Fiction, Radical Design, Satire, Social Fiction, Speculative Design

Working forms

Discussion, Classical feedback, Presentation, Research, Making

Deliverables

Personal Manifesto, Project overview, 5 images and 1 movie, Presentation in context, Prototype

Assignment

Starting off with creating a personal manifesto in a subject of own choice. From this manifesto we made 10 problems and from these we could pick 1 to continue working with. As you will see my entire assignment is based on industrial polution and water waste.

Outcome

From the design and the research I ended up working with water waste. I did a brainstorm to find a clear concept and ended up with the t-shirt as my prototype. Since I have never worked with a material like this, the process is shown, but the t-shirt might fail. I also made a graphic logo for the brand.

Manifesto Problems Research Research

world press photo

"A child who collects recyclable material lies on a mattress surrounded by garbage floating on the Pasig River, in Manila, Philippines.


The Pasig River was declared biologically dead in the 1990s, due to a combination of industrial pollution and waste being dumped by nearby communities living without adequate sanitation infrastructure.

A 2017 report by Nature Communications cites the Pasig as one of 20 most polluted rivers in the world, with up to 63,700 tons of plastic deposited into the ocean each year.


Efforts are being made to clean up the Pasig, which were recognized by an international prize in 2018, but in parts of the river the waste is still so dense that it is possible to walk on top of the garbage."

water polution and water waste

We are facing a world water crises. It wont be long before cities will have to rationize water. Cape Town can be the first city to hit Day Zero. So we need to change our water use radically.

The total amount of water is 97% salt water, 2% is snow and ice. This means all humans rely on 1% of the total amount of water. 70% of this water goes to agriculture. To be more specific:

We waste water on producing products, while cities within the next decade might have limited access to running water:

• 74 liters to produce one beer
• 130 liters to a cup of coffee
• 2500-2700 liters to a cotton t-shirt.

THAT’S ENOUGH WATER FOR ONE PERSON TO DRINK FOR TWO AND A HALF YEAR!

The problem is the amount of freshwater we use to produce t-shirts. In this project I will research on possible materials that can substitute cotton. I would like to look into crops that can be irrigated by saltwater and used to make clothing. Or materials that requires less water in both production and maintance. The purpose is to create a brand evolving around reducing the use of freshwater and focus on saltwater.

Alternative to cotton t-shirts

Tencel

• Obtained from eucalyptus

• Takes less water and almost no chemicals to produce.

• Can be aired or steamed instead of washed.

Hemp

• Strong fabric that last longer

• Made from Cannabis Sativa

• Again no chemicals required and less water

Scoby

• Scoby = Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast

• ”Kombucha mothers” or Kombcha mushrooms

• Only 30 liters of water for a clothing piece.

• Do not wear if it's raining

scoby clothing

scoby-fungus

To create clothing you will need a Scoby Fungus and the Kombucha Tea. To make one of the t-shirts, you need 30 liters of Kombucha Tea. The Scoby is constantly renewing itself and a new layer of Scoby will grow on the surface of the old one every time you brew a batch of kombucha.

scoby-clothing scoby-clothing

Growing the Scoby and Prototype

To make a Scoby I have mixed Kombucha Tea with green tea and added sugar. I left it for 1 month. The fungi started growing. As you see it moves as one whole, but it is still not strong enough to get strected, dried and shaped into a t-shirt.

Pachamama and Water Resources

I thought it would be nice to color the prototype with some narture colors, making a print of the acutal problem: the Water Waste. So I made a rough sketch, that ended up turning into a logo. The logo will be the brands visual identity

Learning goals

In this course we work with designs that in one way or another can be subject to discussion and debate. It is continuous, like a circle, in the way we work through research and design. The goal is to acquire the ability to work with a critical mind and ask questions when finding relevant problems.

These questions will lead us to concepts and designs that will challenge important problems in our everyday life. Working with conceptual design will hopefully provoke and make us think, with the purpose of educating and creating space for discussions. Ideally to help us change the world for the better in the service of society.

Reflection

My starting point was traveling, which was suppose to encourage people to envolve in cultures, when they go out into the world. That is now the least of my worries. After going through the workshops with Woody (teacher), I have realized, how much we can push our perception of what is important.

It is actually kind of ironic. Because in the end, I only got to work with this project because I went abroad and really engaged in the classes and surroundings..

It really is an internal circle of research and design. I don't know if I can keep the same critical mind, but learning how to ask questions when you gain new knowledge is now something I am more aware of.