questions-of-scale.jpeg

Questions of Scale: Economy and Ecology

Symposium

 

When it comes to innovation in design, success is often measured by scale. The perennial question is: how do you scale design up? Impact is counted in millions of units or the percentage of market share. But what if scale is a problematic metric? What if more is not necessarily better? Indeed, what if many of the environmental challenges we face are the result of processes and materials deployed at too large a scale? 

The first Future Observatory symposium focuses on design research that challenges our understanding of scale. From the economic to the bioregional to the planetary, it will enquire whether there are appropriate and inappropriate scales of production. What do we mean by ‘local’ and are there natural limits of growth beyond which ecosystems or human networks suffer? Are myriad small-scale solutions superior to standardised, globalised ones? This one-day event will bring together designers, researchers, policy-makers and businesspeople to explore the measures of success. 

Speakers include Christian Benimana (MASS Design Group), Jan Boelen (Atelier Luma), Karlijn Sibbel (Notpla), Summer Islam (Material Cultures), Nirav Patel (Framework) and Andrea Trimarchi (Formafantasma). 
 
The symposium will be held in the Design Museum’s main auditorium with a bespoke stage set designed by Material Cultures, commissioned to respond to the Questions of Scale symposium. Event tickets include entry to Waste Age: What Can Design Do? between 10am–6pm.

questions-of-scale-1.webp
questions-of-scale-2.webp

Programme

12.00 – 12.15: Iintroduction

Tim Marlow, Director, Design Museum  

Justin McGuirk, Director, Future Observatory 

12.15pm – 13.15: SESSION ONE, REGIONAL SCALES 

‘Local’ is a watchword of environmental thinking but the networks and materials required for effective localism are often unexplored. In response to planetary systems and crises, architects and designers are increasingly practising within bioregions, drawing on resources offered up by the surrounding landscapes and their communities.  

Christian Benimana, MASS Design Group (joining remotely) 

Summer Islam, Material Cultures  

Jan Boelen, Atelier Luma (joining remotely)   

Panel chaired by Stephanie Sherman, Central Saint Martins    

13.15 – 14.15 LUNCH   

14.15 – 15.15: SESSION TWO, TIMESCALES   

How is a time a factor in designing for the transition to carbon neutrality? Are designers thinking according to longer timescales – those determined by forestry growth, land stewardship or educational cycles – with future needs in mind? 

Helen Gordon, Author: Notes from Deep Time   

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, Formafantasma (joining remotely) 

Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton Architects  

Panel chaired by Justin McGuirk  

15.15 – 15.45: BREAK  

15:45 – 16:45 SESSION THREE, ECONOMIC SCALES 

Ethical products and technologies have to compete against dominating multinationals and, at the same time, vast industries balk at the structural changes the climate crisis demands. Economies of scale are essential to societal impact and yet, beyond a certain point, become detrimental to change.  

Karlijn Sibbel, Notpla  

Nirav Patel, Framework (joining remotely)  

Rebecca Earley, Centre for Circular Design   

Panel chaired by Hettie O’Brien, the Guardian  

16.45 CONCLUSION  

17.00 SYMPOSIUM ENDS  

Speakers

Formafantasma, Andrew Waugh, Christian Benimana, Helen Gordon, Hettie O’Brien, Jan Boelen, Nirav Patel, Rebecca Earley, Karlijn Sibbel, Stephanie Sherman, Summer Islam.

Directory

formafantasma_imagebyrenee-de-groot.webp

Formafantasma

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin
andrew-waugh-profile.jpg

Andrew Waugh

Waugh Thistleton Architects
christian-benimana-sq.webp

Christian Benimana

MASS Design Group
helen-gordon-deep-time.jpg

Helen Gordon

hettie-obrien-the-guardian.jpeg

Hettie O'Brien

2014-janboelen-fotoveerlefrissen-01.jpg

Jan Boelen

Atelier Luma
nirav-patel-framework.jpg

Nirav Patel

Framework
ccd_web_staff_portrait_becky_earley.width-400.jpg

Rebecca Earley

Centre for Circular Design
team_photos_master_0021_img_9456.jpg

Karlijn Sibbel

Notpla
sherman_biopic_2021.png

Stephanie Sherman

Central Saint Martins
glide.jpg

Summer Islam

Material Cultures

Suggested for you

adapting-together-promo010.jpg

Adapting Together: How can we all play a part in climate action?

Symposium