Tag Archive | Design

The 5 Cube, Dublin


“The 5Cube is Ireland’s first renewable energy design feature and is a physical representation of how much oil Ireland is consuming every five minutes. The aim of the 5Cube is to get citizens thinking about our dependency on fossil fuels and to consider renewable sources of energy that are cleaner, and ultimately cheaper, alternatives.  The 5 Cube was selected as the winning design following the Imagine Energy design competition in 2013 for a smart energy feature in the city centre as part of its involvement in the EU-funded Ace project.

‘There are a lot of initiatives to attract people’s attention to marketing or causes involving the multi-media, multi-platform initiatives, barrages of information, bright lights, scrolling screens etc, to a point where I think we develop a kind of fatigue and blindness to the sheer volume of information and statistics.

The 5Cube was designed by Declan Scullion of de Siún Scullion Architects.  De Siún Scullion Architects are a new Dublin-based practice established in 2014.

I suppose the objective here was create a kind of marker or monolith that was going to provoke people to look closer, take the time to ask, what is it, and then when the answer was revealed it perhaps has more of a chance to stay with you. You have to work a little bit to get the answer, so you tend to remember the answer a little better. All the more so if the thing you saw was memorable or beautiful in some way.” Declan Scullion.

Living and Sustainability: An Environmental Critique of Design and Building Practices, Locally and Globally 9-10 Feb 2017 London

Place: London South Bank University, UK

Conference Dates: 09 – 10 February 2017

 Organised by London South  Bank University and AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society)

Estimates of the building industry’s contribution to world carbon emissions reach as high as 30% worldwide – with figures on energy consumption in the region of 40%. Given the scale of the industry’s contribution to these figures it is obvious that we cannot ensure a sustainable planet without addressing the practices, materials and legacy of our building industries, our cites and our buildings.

However, key to a sustainable future are also related social questions. The sustainability of communities is one of the most basic components of the quality of life and opportunity.  Badly planned developments can not only lead to the destruction of habitats, they bring unaffordable housing, displaced communities and negative effects on physical health.

Hosted in London, this conference is concerned with the broad range of issues that affect the cities of advanced economies, the metropoles of new economic powerhouses, and the conurbations of the developing world.

Keynote Speaker announced:

Paul Allen. Project Coordinator of Zero Carbon Britain at CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology).

Three associated Publications delegates can publish in:

Academic Journal: Architecture_MPS; UCL Books Series: Housing – Critical Futures; Libri Book Series – Housing the Future

International outlook:

Delegates from multiple continents: Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, North and South America

 Abstract Deadline: 30th October 2016. (Extendable to 30th November)


Full call and submissions: http://architecturemps.com/london-2017/

Host University Event Site: http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/conferences/living-sustainability-built-environment


This major international, interdisciplinary event brings together scholars and professionals from various fields and countries to share expertise on issues of environmental and social sustainability. Papers delivered at this London event can be included in one of several book and journal publications.


Contributions are welcome in one of three categories:

  1. Housing; 2. Commercial Buildings; 3. Urban Design and Cities

Within this context the variety of themes it suggests include (but are not limited to):

Sustainable construction; Eco-retrofitting; Resilience; Adapting to climate change; Building sustainability assessment tools; Construction Engineering; Eco-materials and technologies; Life cycle analysis etc.

This event has been developed with London South Bank University to sit within a series of AMPS projects including its international series of events and publications on housing called Housing-Critical Futures.

 “The Science of Light” Sarah Hall – Grass Valley Elementary School, Camus, WA, USA 


Overview                   The “Science of Light” installation in the main stairwell of the school merges the ancient art of stained glass with cutting edge technology to produce a transformative window wall.  It gathers energy from sunlight in a visible and interactive way – as solar energy is gathered a glass spiral located in the stairwell is illuminated.

Goals                  In an elementary school specifically designed with various green features the intention in the window wall was to demonstrate renewable energy in an imaginative and beautiful context. By creating a positive school environment we felt this communicated a message of hope.  The artwork was designed to delight, to teach, and to inspire. Delight coming from the transformation of sunlight into patterns and colors throughout the stairwell – and visible energy showcased in the LED lighting fixture.  Inspiration and the teaching is accomplished through the innovative use of the solar cells embedded into the windows – offering an ongoing lesson in science, ecology, and the positive use of technology.

Process               The project was initiated by DOWA Portland architects Barry Deister and Keith Johnson who were designing a public elementary school which showcased green technologies.  There was a roof garden, windmills, a community garden and they wanted a highly visible “teaching” project regarding solar. An international collaboration between myself (the artist), the school board, a community group, the architects, a solar engineer and a German glass fabricator brought this project into reality.  After preliminary meetings with all of the above I began design work to encompass the main stairwell of the building.  Embedded in two panels are arrays of photovoltaic cells (thin silicon and metal squares that convert light into electricity).  The energy is taken directly from the solar cells by the highly visible orange cord to a LED lighting fixture I designed for the stairwell. When the sun is shining the light is on.  Christof Erban, an electrical and solar engineer, determined the design of the array.  Once the design was finalized, I collaborated with Glasmalerei Peters GmbH in Germany to fabricate the painted and laminated art glass panels.

Additional        In addition to the solar cells I used a grid pattern of laminated dichroic glass to enhance reflectivity and colour projection in the stairwell.  This creates an ever-changing flood of colour in the main stairwell throughout the day and in every season.  Under the main landing a sitting area was made for children, parents and staff to enjoy the transformative colour and light.

Web:   www.sarahhallstudio.com

Wiki:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Hall_(glass_artist)

01_Sarah Hall_solar art glass_Grass Valley Elementary School_exterior_photo credit Sarah Hall Studio

LAGI latest – Aesthetically & Culturally considered renewable energy systems

LAGI-Kenya: Maasai Solar

Six months ago, we were contacted by Tereneh Mosley, the founder of Idia’Dega, who has been working since 2013 with Maasai Women Artisans in Olorgesailie—a remote location in South Rift Valley of Kenya where Maasai are starting to feel the pressures on land use from the outside world. One of those pressures is renewable energy infrastructure for the national grid. With excellent insolation, the land around Oloresailie is already being tapped for solar energy projects, but none of the new energy infrastructure is being planned to serve the modest needs of the local community. Rather it is being installed to serve the national grid for use in cities like Nairobi.

The work of Idia’Dega in sustainable fashion has shown that it is possible to design new products collaboratively with the Olorgesailie Maasai Women Artisans (OMWA) and other Indigenous groups through processes that elevate local communities and empower them to create their own economic future on the global stage. Through her conversations with OMWA, Tereneh learned that modest electrification is something that is a pressing need— contributing to security, education, communication and creative/revenue-building projects. Nearly everyone goes without light after sunset and the only way to charge cellphones is to walk an hour or more in each direction and pay someone in the nearest grid-tied village.

You can learn more about Idia’Dega at http://idiadega.com.


Building on the strong relationships and design model that Tereneh has established, Idia’Dega and LAGI have therefore embarked on a collaboration with OMWA to design culturally and aesthetically relevant solar infrastructure for off-grid Maasai homesteads. We have just returned from our first round of design workshops and are excited to report that the ideas that resulted far exceeded our expectations. Along the translation from fashion to energy infrastructure, the group quickly realized that incorporating modest photovoltaic areas into belts, bags, bracelets, and fabrics that Maasai women and men wear during the daylight hours would be a great way to provide access to electricity at all times. In addition, small-scale solar shade structures and “manyatta” ornaments will provide immediate access for use within the homestead.

Over the next six months we will be fundraising and working on the detailed design drawings for fabrication, with a goal of returning in December 2016 to implement and install the multifaceted project with OMWA. Stay tuned to Idia’Dega and LAGI to see the design results.


While it is most important that we provide Olorgesalie with the first products of their design efforts and meet their immediate need for electricity, we will soon thereafter be offering the designs for sale to the general public. We’re certain that everyone will want to own Maasai solar wearables and residential-scale products, and the proceeds from sales will go back to the people of Olorgesailie, helping to pay for student fees and for everyday needs for food, clothing, healthcare, and shelter that often go unmet today. Access to electricity will also help OMWA nurture their creative practice and offer the ability to connect and collaborate with other artisans around the world.

Please visit this page to learn more about the project and to follow updates: http://landartgenerator.org/LAGI-Kenya.html.









LAGI 2016 is open for submissions until May 15, 2016. This international open-call design competition is free to enter and open to anyone who is interested in being a part of the design solution for a sustainable world.

Deadline is May 15, and the first prize is $15,000.

Visit http://landartgenerator.org/designcomp to download the design guidelines and information about the site, adjacent to the historic Santa Monica Pier in Southern California.

Hu2 – Save the world one room at a time


Hu2 is a design and art company founded on principles of sustainability and social responsibility. The brand adheres to the philosophy of creating unique, locally produced and resilient design and art whilst reducing negative impact on the environment through proficient design and the use of sustainable materials.

The award-winning design and production studio has launched various eco-designs including wall decals, 3D wall signs, typography and art prints, all designed by French artist and designer Antoine Tes-Ted.

The concept for the light switch and power socket wall decals – the Hu2 Eco Reminders – was born from Tes-Ted’s passion for designing and developing functional, thought-provoking art that challenges reflection, creates awareness and ultimately leads to constructive action; the Founder and Creative Director of Hu2 Design spends much of his time working with Hu2’s charitable foundation and advocating the positive effects design can have on environmental issues.

It can be challenging to bear in mind the long-term consequences of wasting natural resources, especially when single actions have little visible impact. Therefore, the Hu2 Eco Reminders can help change everyday habits and reduce excessive use of electricity and water through simple, contemporary and bold design. Each decal is handcrafted at Hu2 Design’s production studio in France using local, environmentally conscious manufacturing methods.

Hu2 Founder and Creative Director, Antoine Tes-Ted, said: “As a kid, I was told off by my mother whenever I would leave the lights on. The idea of making an effort to save energy and consequently contributing to a better world really stuck with me.” Tes-Ted’s childhood lessons developed into a strong environmental calling – the creative inspiration behind the Eco Reminder series.

Produced from PVC-free, fully recyclable materials as well as 100% biodegradable packaging, the Eco Reminder decals are easy to install onto any flat surface, both indoors and outdoors. The designs provide an attention-grabbing call to action to say the least – save the world one room at a time!

The Eco Reminder decals can be bought in the Hu2 Online Store: www.hu2.com