I don’t need to read glossy design magazines for my inspiration. Instead I would prefer to go more primitive and get amongst traditional cultures for inspiration to my design work. For the past three days I have been cycling Savaii, an island in Samoa. Savaii is 300km round trip covered in lush tropical landscape
, with pristine oceans surrounding it’s shores. I am back immersing myself in Samoa for a short holiday, ten months on from undertaking a long term volunteer placement here.
On this relatively small and isolated island you still see a lot of traditional Samoan culture practiced today. People source there food by practicing self substance farming, running small scale farms to provided the family home with fresh food. A lot of S
amoans live in fales, open grass hu
ts made from various hardwoods and coconut palms. Traditionally you eat from woven coconut leaf plates. Fruit and Vegetables are transported and are sold in hand woven coconut baskets.
These guys are living, breathing examples of Eco design and sustainable living. The Despite being colonised by Germany over one hundred years ago the Samoan lifestyle has not progressed or should I say regressed to full blown western consumerist culture, traditional life lives on. Samoans humbly plod away at their sustainable lifestyles without the hype at which we acclaim for adopting sustainable practices in our western lives.
So basically living in Samoa as a volunteer over the past year has had an enormous impact on how I practice as a designer. I spent a few months questioning the need for more designs and products in our world after returning home, when in Samoa things haven’t really progressed, the genius designs have been born from tradition and the primitiveness of the culture. But when you are born with a making gene it is just inherent and you can’t stop making things, it is the process and materials that I employ that I am attempting to alter to positive sustainable design solution.
It is through this design project that I want to try to express the impact this year has had on me, exploring Eco Design solutions, which re-use or recycle. So far it has been weaving plastic straps from the jungle of masonry that surrounds me in my home context.