Required now: innovative design that addresses real problems

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surface finishes

Laura Morris - Palette

Trish Lorenz writes on Forum for the Future of the importance of innovative design in tackling some of the problems – energy saving / water saving / sustainability – we face.

She mentions Janet Kelly’s Keiri Mat – a bathing pod that uses just two litres of water – and Laura Morris’ Palette – a device that enables the user to quickly and easily change the colour or design of their walls without using liquid paint.

Her piece ties in with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Design Directions competition which ‘challenges professional designers-in-training to apply their skills to difficult social issues.’

The 2009/10 competition categories include:

DIGITEX: exploring the benefits of digital finishing of textiles
This project asks how design can explore and exploit the unique performance characteristics of digital finishing to produce highly functional textiles, better able to respond to the needs of specific users and contexts.

Independence days: designing for self-reliant, independent living
This project seeks to reinvent the term assisitive technology for the 21 century and asks how the design of a product or service can directly address the needs of someone living with a long term health condition, improve their quality of life, increase their autonomy and their ability to live independently. Importantly, how can design provide the means to increase and feed confidence, aspiration, participation and self-reliance.

The resourceful supermarket: supermarkets encouraging a productive community
How might a supermarket engage on a local level with its customers and others in the community, using the power of its brand and influence to increase the resourcefulness of the local community and individuals.

Public spaces, safer places: protecting against a vehicle-borne attack
Targeted at architects, landscape architects, engineers and urban planners as well as those from across the design disciplines this project aims to draw attention to the issues of security and counter-terrorism in the process of designing places visited and used by the public.

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