Unplugged/OCAD Design Competition at OCAD, January 29. Unplugged will be on display at the Design Exchange (234 Bay, 416-363-6121) from March 7 to 14, with an awards ceremony March 9 at 9 pm. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Of course, being socially and en vironmentally forward isn't exactly a new concept, as OCAD's recent design competition, Unplugged, makes clear. Students were asked to react to last summer's blackout. Two of the winners looked to systems (a green points card, like "clean" air miles, and a social and environmental rating scale for all consumer items), while the third invented a battery that's recharged by human kinetic energy such as walking. They're all excellent ideas, but they're hardly unexpected, not to mention awfully difficult to implement.
My winner would have been: K_vin 's reused-material drapes, an aesthically pleasing way to cut down on heat loss at home without creating heat from manufacturing.
I also liked Group #19 's sustainable conversation idea, in which boxes are placed on the street to facilitate the kind of spontaneous conversation we experienced during the blackout - a great example of turning a design problem on its head.
And the Juice team stood out, making slick products to demonstrate our lazy reliance on power, like the self-opening book and the electric birthday cake candles you unplug rather than blow out.
Honourable mention goes to the group that put a newspaper box made from a tree trunk out on the street kitty-corner to the AGO.