Wednesday, 29 October 2008


So today it was better. Shower took me 7 minutes, and I didn't leave my bathroom door expect one short spell for couple of minutes. So I am doing better and I am able to see the progress.

I also did some serious thinking about CABLES AND PLUGS. I have realized by my dotty experiment that a main reason of me in some cases wasting energy is not a bad will but the forgetfulness. Why do I forget? Because plugs, cables and even the way most appliances look like designed to be invisible. It is a fact. Even if they are in a big lump like this one underneath my desk, they blend into each other and are looking exactly the same. Colour is either GRAY, WHITE, OR BLACK, they are all tangled up together and therefore no matter if together or separate are just not recognizable. I guess from a product designer point of view it is exactly what needs to happen. The product is a star, not a cable for it. The missed thing is that A CABLE AND A PRODUCT ARE THE SAME. You cannot differ them and hide one from another. Part of a new eco designed products expect of having an A grade should have on them a Standby information.

The other thing I realized that some of the appliances DO NOT HAVE SWITCH OFF BUTTON. I knew that before, but never was that strict with my energy usage as this week, and realized how unhelpful that is.

1. Organizing your cables is confusing but important for the energy efficiency.
2. As a cable is just a cable it never grows to be an important task to sort out and because of that is usually left behind at the bottom of the to do list
3. Design of our appliances makes this issue invisible and not important from a visual point of view.
4. If you make it visible in any way, you are more likely to improve on energy efficiency.
5. Outdated product designs are in a way responsible for our mistakes, so it is also important to bring to public attention, that we should influence the future product designs to be more in charge of what we are getting on a shop shelves.


1. I guess that it is relatively easy to create a new habit rather than stopping the old one.
2. Once you get some success on the way of your habit change it is easier to get the next one.
3. Some of the issues could be solved by making them more visually visible. So for example today I tested leaving my bathroom door open all the time expect the time when it was used and that made me not leave the light on.

Science of Survival

Half term you can recognize by the length of a queues on the Exhibition Road, but I managed to endure it and got inside the Science Museum. I met there my course mates and we looked at some energy associated exhibitions. Especially exposition about plastic was really interesting. I find these statistics very interesting, so I asked a fellow student to take those photos for me as I forgot my camera SILLY ME!

Then I decided to visit a great event in there:
THE SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL, which is a project/exhibition dedicated to promoting sustainable living. I recommend it to anybody who is interested in science, living, and future. It was a great experience!
Simplicity of statistics and information was amazing. It was explained in a very understandable way. Overall I really enjoyed it and was also positively surprised that my little one was also thought about and could equally enjoy the interactivity of that place. SO...
I have contacted the director of the Science of... projects and ... I got a response that he is willing to meet. I am excited! I expect to learn from him not only about energy efficiency issues but also to know what was most important for them whilst creating that amazing project. I guess that this is a place when design and life meet, and influence on each other. The important information are being processed by designers of many sorts and then they meet a public eye which takes them on board or not. I guess that what depends on those designers is if the subject was understood read properly. SO WHAT THIS MEETING MAY GIVE ME IS ALSO A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF MY AUDIENCE AND THEIR DESIGN NEEDS/LITERACY. Which I think my project and my design, will really benefit from.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Still Tuesday

So, my score for today is: about 70%. I did not put my microwave on unless it was used, the same with TV and my machine. So what went wrong? BLOODY BATHROOM LIGHT!!!!!

HaBit Rabbit/ annoying words...

If you battling an annoying habit it is important to reward yourself. As you need to recognize your achievements and make it valuable. Also that makes a learning curve more enjoyable and fun. My daughter uses one and it works for her. Tomorrow I will make one for myself and will make an effort signing in my 'well done' and 'accidents'. ENERGY POTTY TRAINING And my reward would be a coffee morning in a nearby cafe!

Dygression No. 1 - Making Big look Small and WHY?

I find ecological problems not being treated seriously because of difficulty in finding clear measurement system to bring the issues closer to people. Ecology basically says: if you are not going to be energy efficient, you and your families are going to face catastrophe. But being serious, the weakness of science in here, is that it is completely vague. It predicted that the climate would change, and it is, but shifting a responsibility of that, on a personal DVD player, is probably looking as an over dramatic attitude. But that in turn is connected to SHARED RESPONSIBILITY ISSUES, which I know quite well from from the culture of communist country which I grew up in. Everything then was owned by state, it belonged to everybody - meant nobody.
It is similar with the environmentalists movement. Our Planet is strictly too BIG to be owned by somebody, and the responsibility of keeping it alive spreads over too many people. I think that stressing this is not a way froward. The question arising here for me is: How to show to somebody that the planet belongs to them? How to make the planet, look small and reachable, so to make these issues more personal and important?

Monday, 27 October 2008

Mapping Tracking and Unpacking

There it is my first post of my mind map which I developed over the weekend.

Future is bright. Future is PINK

I left a BIG PINK DOT on my bathroom door. On a One Bag Nation I found a comment saying that tackling a bad habit can take about a month, and some people suggest that you should do it one habit at a time. I guess it really is a matter of focus for me, as I just forget about giving it enough attention. I have put further pink dots near my microwave, near the main plug for my computer and TV, as well I took my daughter today to assist nearby as I took a shower, so she would keep me slightly disturbed and shorten the length of my bath time. It was a successful try, although I enjoyed it much less than usual.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Together and More

An interesting site with lots of other links.

She's electric

Let's start from myself, and be honest!!
So, do I waste energy? Do I consider myself an eco friendly person? Am I aware of the issues? Why?

1. Unfortunately yes, it happens to me to waste energy. Sometimes I leave my mobile plugged to the wall for the whole night, or leave the light on in the bathroom especially once I am out. I do own appliances which are on standby. My showers quite often are over 5 minutes.
2. Yes I consider myself an eco friendly person, like the idea of not wasting and would like the information about those issues to be out there in the tube on the street as a single mother I sometimes do not have enough time to search for them online or read serious article in a newspaper. And I find news really depressing.
3. Why do I waste energy? And was I wasting energy also when living outside the UK?
In many cases it is a TIME ISSUE. I live life which is hard to slow down, and there are moments when being on time is more important than energy efficiency at my place. However if I stop and think twice there is no question what is REALLY MORE IMPORTANT.

The thing which annoys me to bits is my bathroom light which remains switched on on couple of occasions. The thing is that the bathroom doors are quite well fitted and I cannot see if I have forgotten to swath the light off. So if I had done it completely unconsciously it may be left out there for a while. What would help me is a reminder by the bathroom door and also by my computer when I am most often during the day. Also I would probably need to have one on my front door, to bring a thought about this light once I am leaving the flat.

Yes there is quite a few appliances using stand by option in my home. Remote controls do not really do their job so to really switch of the TV I need to unplug it by the wall. Which I mostly do. However my nightmare is my microwave which is on standby all day as it is plugged into the board which contains plugs for other appliances. There is quite a few of them there and I do not unplug it as I may switch off a fridge/freezer by mistake and loose all my food by mistake. What would help me is a way of differing my cables which are on the same board, so I won't make mistake.

I am really trying to indulge myself in other ways and a while ago I reduced my bath and shower times but longer showers do happen at my place. I find it both relaxing and a good thinking time for me. What would help me is an information of how much energy a month I may use within a safety zone. Once I know that I am able to sort out most important issues for me on a monthly basis. Also using a clock or a beeper would be helpful to reduce my bath time.

TRANSPORT. I do use public transport but I very often find it a hard experience. In most of the tube station I use, which in most cases would be Northern Line there is a lot of stairs which doesn't make things easier once you hold a pram. Cycling with your little one in a back of your bike is scary. But as I do not have a car I am not contributing in that respect to CO2 emissions. What would help me is safer London, and better infrastructure for bikers, who want to travel with children. I would also like to see the center of London restricted to public transport only which would make using for example bus travel more efficient and reliable. I find OYSTER CARD system helpful as it helps me as a Londoner save money on public transport.

ANOTHER COUNTRY. I was born in Poland and lived there for 25 years before I came to the UK. I came from an intelligent family with my both parents leading a busy professional lifestyle. I have a younger brother and would say that I was raised in quite a modern home. Although throughout my life the eco issues were always important they have always been connected to money. Once studying I got through hard financial moments and as many students was quite vulnerable on that respect, as there was very high unemployment then back home. Nevertheless I was using my energy more cautiously then now, as I simply couldn't afford a high energy bill. From that point of view change of my personal circumstances had an effect of treating those issues on every day basis. What would help me is a reminder which I would like to be visible, fun and nice. I guess that I like designer's products, so from my reminder I would expect to bring in a good visual impact to my home as much as do it's job.

Britons -No. 1 Europe Energy Wasters

I am there after looking at different energy issues for a while now, I decided to look into a problem of energy wasting in the UK. What prompt me to do so, is an article on BBC website which says that according to an European survey the British are the worst wasters of energy in Europe. After Guardian: Unless energy habits change, the report predicts that by 2010 we will have wasted £11bn and emitted 43m tonnes of carbon dioxide unnecessarily, equivalent to the emissions from more than 7m homes.
Although that article dates back to 2006, on the same website an interview with John Vidal, Guardian's environment editor confirms that CO2 emissions in the UK are only rising.

Unnecessary usage of energy happens probably in every home in the UK right now. The worst "energy eaters" are APPLIANCES left on STANDBY, filling your KETTLE to the MAX, or LEAVING CHARGERS PLUGGED IN. On top of that there are HEATING, LONG BATH TIMES and more. Those are things which we would rather consider a little annoying habits rather than a life saving issues. I guess from an every day point of view those may seem to be unimportant cases.

I myself live in London for a few years now and I am a part of that wasting culture. Investigating what is going wrong with my everyday habits will be an issue for the next couple of days. I wonder what has been done by government and local authorities according since dramatic results of the quoted pole had been revealed. On Monday I will contact my local council, the posh Islington, and ask how do they deal with this problem. I will also search psychological advice on best ways of changing the annoying habits. What me as a designer can do to help us out?

So far I had checked how Mayor of London deals with it and found a website set up by government especially for London community. I logged in and ordered a free pack in here.
I hope this will come to my door within the next couple of days and I will be able to try out some of the pack essentials. I know that those will concentrate on making me aware of energy issues throughout the day.

I also checked out the news section and found out the newest post from FEB the 10th. That stinks with a voting strategy to me. I wonder what is REALLY DONE by the Mayor to tackle the problem.
The interesting things on the site is probably the FAQ section and also the tips which would tell you how to make your home most energy efficient.

From there I managed to get to another site Green Homes which offers a survey to asses how green your house actually is but unfortunately I am not an owner of the property I live in and cannot sign in for that. The survey is free and is available for Londoners. I may try to persuade my neighbours to do one for their houses.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Stamps (2)

Some more of stamps. Items I search are quite illustrative and even though are used on a very tiny space are quite busy, full of colour and curvy shapes. I must say I like those. I did the searching in a couple of rounds and must say did it clearly visual. And bad me, didn't pay attention to who the author was. BADBADBADBAD, anyway I adore those and bend in front whoever the authors are!
It is interesting how the colour, and line work there as a medium. How dynamic a little space can be and how modern look can be made using very simple means.
What is also inspiring is thinking about the space on the sheet of stamps, where additional information can be added. Or the story can be told...

Thursday, 23 October 2008


I am sort of moving to a housing issue, surprisingly. The link for an amazing video and approach which I share here.
"What if
housing was designed
to generate human DIGNITY?"

Plus link to an intersting exhibition.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Kozik, You!, Jeremyville, Kr Loves Ygg

I have non of them
but dream that one day
I will spend my fortune
in this store:
Kid Robot.

those are FuN!

Ministry of Type

Ministry of Type is a great an interesting blog of Aegir Hallmundur. Really worth looking at.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Things I looked for

And I just came across those. These are made in 1975 in Israel, and designed by Eliezer Weishoff

And then a person called Tyler Lang working in NY for scientific publication: Seed Magazine. His weblink is here. He has very specific iconography which I like as it is simple and strong.


And tell me that you cannot do a lot on a small space! I am loving those!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

My Methods Bath

So there I am on Saturday night sitting and thinking about my design research methods. Which is really my own and therefore most successful? And what I really want to do with my project...

I am in a process of researching the renewable energy sources and to be honest they simply blend into each other. It is that simple: a device transforms a natural generated for example kinetic energy into something what a person from XXI century may use to boil water, heat their flat, or put into their best friend - a big shiny car. On that respect there is not a big difference between solar power and biomass.
What strikes me is something else. Renewable sources of energy, all of them use the elements which can either work for or against us. So tsunami, flood or fire are the same bursts of energy but working against a potential human being. What comes to me each time when I read articles about the subject is that ages ago the only way of receiving energy was from nature.

The difference between me and people from Middle Ages is that I do not have a choice. According to many publications we are in a real danger of extinction as a human race unless we will do something about this. The big thing is reducing CO
2 emission into the atmosphere and that has a lot to do with generating electricity, heating, fuel for our cars, from different sources than the fossil fuels. Or strictly changing completely our current life style and making it less environment damaging.
Sun, wind, oceans, forests for ages have been considered powers that can easily produce a lot of energy. There is no polemic to that. What was changing is the attitude that the human race had towards them. The industrial revolution happened not that long ago, and it gave us an idea of holding a power against the nature. At the moment we discovering that this has never been true and we can either work with nature or don't, and agree on death with sudden weather change. Putting it right: we can work with the nature and have hope of still making a change, or work against it an do not have hope at all. Tsunami which happened in Asia a couple of years ago killed many people, but from a physics point of view that was a massive burst of energy. Some experts suggest that this and similar events are effects of the climate change, which leads me back to CO
2 emissions, pollution and looking for alternative energy sources. As I said, it is striking that we were having a knowledge and respect for nature not so long time ago, and then lost it on behalf of celebration of technologies and a human brain which would be able to make those technologies up. It is a beautiful story of innovative thinking and a dream of a great power which could be given to us with a brand new iPod coming to the shops every week.
In primitive cultures there was always a great respect for nature. It was personalised into gods, goddesses and given normal human habits and very often similar to a human look. Very often those would be greedy powerful creatures which were not at all friendly. If an average man form, let's be local and say London, would be put in front of them, would be dead within seconds for being cheeky. Can we tam the old and grumpy god of Sun? If so, they probably could do a lot for us. And show many more ways of heating up this precious glass of precious water.

? I like it.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Street Art

It is hard to call Banksy a designer. However this person created a unique and very visible visual language which is witty, engaging and inspiring - ergo what I think a good designer should be able to do. In May this year there was a collaborative project involving various of street artists. Work presented near Waterloo station was innovative and creative. I find it really interesting because of use of ironic visualls, humour, strong - 'poster like' iconography, polemic. It is direct, and immediate what is sometimes missed in commercial generated designs. By design/illustrative twists, it creates another angle for the audience. It uses methapor and that is why it gets so broad, and multi-level. Very refreshing.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Sanna Annukka

I was always impressed by the way Scandinavian design was created. Once I found an article about Sanna Annukka in the Computer Art Magazine, I was amazed by her work. The article featured both commercial and personal projects she was involved in. Her illustrations are highly inspiring for me, as they are both modern and have a huge respect for tradition. That makes them very unique and also personal. It is visually strong but she as a designer cultivates her style across different projects she works on.
She is very aware of the types of work she takes, she says: I won't illustrate anything, unless it has some relevance to the rest of my work. This attitude, I believe, will give her more control over her career.