Green is the new black

Greenery. Photograph Rita Bila

Metaphorically speaking being ‘green’ covers a lot more than just surrounding ourselves with leafy environments, using less plastic and recycling. It also entails food; experimentation with food, growing food and preservation of food and it’s traditions.

In her book ‘rethink the way you live’,  Amanda Talbot explores a series of themes from living with greenery, human-centric design, self-sufficiency and self-examination.

rethink the way you live, Amanda Talbot 2013. Photograph Rita Bila

rethink the way you live, Amanda Talbot 2013. Photograph Rita Bila

“The way we feel about our life and all it involves dictates our behaviour. Our perception about the world changing affects our emotions and these emotions affect our behaviour. Changes in perception is the way forward to change differently and more intuitively.”  Edward de Bono.

When you live in a world where everything has been pre-packaged, flat-packed, cling-wrapped and delivered to your door or supermarket, you have become increasingly removed from the process of production.  This has an impact on the way we perceive the world. We no longer know how to grow our own food.

Today we increasingly participate in the production process, as do the designers, demanding ethical and sustainable production. We’re now interested in knowing where our food comes from and how it is produced. In the process we are learning about the importance of food in our lives and it’s relationship to building community and preserving food traditions. As a result we have seen the emergence of a raft of food preserving worskshops, cafe’s that grow their own produce specializing in low mileage local product and the list goes on.

Emerging trends, Amanda Talbot, 2013. Photograph Rita Bila

Emerging trends, Amanda Talbot, 2013. Photograph Rita Bila

Generally speaking we are more informed as consumers; we want to know the materials products are made of, who and where they were made, how they were transported and how far. We contribute to the production of what we consume to make it more efficient, ecologically sound, ethical and sustainable. And now we want the same of of our food.

We’re gaining ground with the producer across multiple disciplines. We want to take back some control of the world around us.

At a recent presentation at the Powerhouse Museum, architect Gabriel Ulacco talked about his practice ar-ma.net, open source technology and the architects relationship to site:

That this is also happening with agriculture is not such a bad thing. To be self-sufficient, grow socially responsible communities and understand how to produce our own food works for the common good. The way in which goods and services have been recently delivered has been increasingly unsatisfying. Perhaps the instability of world economies and failing political systems are driving us to think about how we would cope in a different environment – we barely escaped the GFC in Australia.

As a result of changing interests and foci bought about by a new ‘green’ thinking (we can’t put it down completely to recent economic events, our interests in ecology and sustainability date back to before 1960s when it came to prominence), has resulted in experimentation and exploration in design particularly with food.

Our concerns about environment, food production, waste and loss of tradition and shared agricultural/food production experiences (see Madre Terra and Slowfood movements) has seen a diversity of edible design from edible still life or Nature Morte with Arabeschi di Latte and Studio Toogood, Edible tableware by Rice Design, wikipearl foods protected and packaged in an edible skin, to the Victor Vetterlein edible desk lamp using green plastics that can be eaten as a means of disposal and Lanzavecchia + Wai’s austerity edible furniture that featured at this year’s Milan Fair.

A personal favourite is the Plant Pregnancy by Alice Kim that not only brings a performative element to the experience of food but also brings you close to the nurturing experience – something we rarely experience in relation to plants.

Sydney Design 2013 will feature a number of food related events this year including How to build an edible green wall, Vegi Might, and the Interactive foodie’s tablecloth where you will learn about Australian Ark and Australian bush foods through the interactive aspects of the presentation.

These videos present some other interesting persectives taken by designers based on our food experiences.

Extrudough: Biodegradable Tableware

The Flip Food lunchbox:

The CONEformation measuring set: