One of the highlights of the Saint-Étienne Design Biennale is Eco City Lab, curated by John Thackara (Doors of Perception) and housed in a 5000-square-foot space outfitted with various installations dealing with design and sustainability. Gathering several projects and their prime movers, the festival poses the questions, "How do these projects work? And How can the examples they set be used to improve our own work?" Here's a bit from John's accompanying essay:
City Eco Lab is an event, "a market for nomadic projects," dealing with experiments from all over the world which will be combined with initiatives developed in the Saint-Étienne region. These are often small-scale projects which set important examples for the transition to a sustainable world. In its own small way each of these projects is helping to save the planet. They are trying to find practical ways of improving everyday life and they deal with subjects such as food, energy, water, mobility, education and responsible economics. City Eco Lab will offer tools and expertise so that everyone, both visitors and project leaders, will find ways of acting more responsibly.The variety of visitors to Eco City Lab has been extremely broad--from grade school children to design professionals to government officials--and walking around the venue delivers exactly on its promise: there are designers and facilitators everywhere to engage in conversations with, and if you're a non-French-speaking visitor who looks anxiously around for 30 seconds or so, someone is sure to rescue you and answer any questions you might have.
Oh!: TONS more info about the festival on the Doors of Perception site here; great time-lapse movie of the construction of City Eco Lab above.
>> View all Saint-Étienne Design Biennale posts here.
Allan Chochinov is a partner of Core77, a New York-based design network serving a global community of designers and design enthusiasts, and Chair of the new MFA in Products of Design graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Allan lectures around the world and at professional conferences including IDSA, AIGA and IxDA, has been a guest critic at various design schools in including Yale University, IIT, Carnegie Mellon, Ravensbourne, RMIT, University of Minnesota, Emily Carr, and RISD. He has moderated and led workshops and symposia at the Aspen Design Conference, the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Compost Modern, and Winterhouse, and is a frequent design competition juror. Prior to Core77, his work in product design focused on the medical, surgical, and diagnostic fields, as well as on consumer products and workplace systems. He has been named on numerous design and utility patents and has received awards from The Art Directors Club, I.D. Magazine, Communication Arts, and The One Club.