Berlin hosted the international DMY Design festival last weekend, and RESET was in attendance. Housed in the striking surroundings of a converted power station on the banks of the river Spree, the festival was a four-day long celebration of international product design, featuring creations from all over the world, as well as presentations, talks and workshops.
There was a strong focus on wearables at this year's event, with many products that were very cool indeed, but maybe not 100% essential. How about a scarf that heats up to symbolise the warmth of human contact, or a device that helps you pick out perfectly colour-coordinated outfits? But there was also a whole section of the exhibition devoted to innovative products that had been designed with sustainability in mind: the numerous winners and runners-up of the Green Product Awards. The products showcased ranged from wooden e-bikes, to eco-friendly water bottles and even innovative food packaging that biodegrades at the same rate as the contents.
One of the projects that particularly caught our eye was Vakant Design’s striking VEGRACK, a horizontal vegetable growing system that allows people to plant and harvest their own fruits, vegetables and herbs with minimal space, effort and time. The rack is designed to be set up indoors, meaning there’s no need for a garden or balcony, a drip-down watering system ensures the plants all stay hydrated, and efficient LED lights make sure the plants get nutrition, even indoors in a dark room.
Also fusing food and technology to create something beautiful was Greek designer Spyros Kizis, with his modern Artichair: a simple-looking piece of furniture made of an entirely unexpected material. Drawing inspiration from an ingredient that features heavily in the traditional dishes of his native country, the seat of the chair is made of a mixture of artichoke thistle fibre and resin. The result is a material that is one hundred percent biodegradable, and with its natural, earthy colours, it looked almost good enough to eat.
The festival may have had a focus on style over practicality, but it was exciting to see that so many designers seem to consider sustainability as a natural part of the design process. Maybe that factor will be even more visible next year, with even fewer superfluous developments, and an emphasis on conservation rather than consumption. We’ll be sure to check back in 2016. And for those of you who weren’t there, here are a few impressions of the rest of the event.