Eco design have been busy..

too long and no see, well that is because there has been a lot going on. Here I present one project I have been working on and until now I have not been able to share it. This is a restaurant who appointed me for the a remake of their interior, which had to follow the environmental line, not everything is though but as far as possible we have installed conscious products, and here is the result:

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This certainly was an interesting and challenging project, where the remake had to take place without painting the walls or changing the floor, and the place was very dark and with many mirrored sections on the walls. So to give it a more warm feeling I designed a solution by systematically covering all the mirrors with wooden profile list so it looks like windows instead.

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The centre piece was this 4-seater wooden sofa with matching wooden armchairs. Beautiful and ecological all the way through, produced by the great Norrgavel.
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Then we kept a coherence with all materials that were added and aimed to use natural material like wood, stone, brass and glas, which can be recycled.
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The key to transform this dark place without painting the walls or changing the floor was to add a lot of lighting, so once finished 39 new light sources were installed!
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After that was completed artwork, plants and decoration were the last touches.

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A play corner with ecological toys and a cosy tent was dedicated to all children who goes there.

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This corner could then be transformed into a seating area for customers when needed.

However the biggest challenge was that only a small part of the restaurant were given attention and a new style and to make that sit well with the old style was a bit tricky. But so much fun to have a creative challenge and met fantastic people along the way!

Inside a green mind and lovely mistakes

 

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COLOR MOOD-BOARD

 

As we are here to explore environmentally friendly art and design, having a studio space (yes!!!) makes  it a lot easier to realize  ideas.  What is currently on the drawing table?!?  I started by making a color mood-board, because it is very helpful to gather your inspirations visually and it will also act as a reference when you come to mix up colors.  There is no right or wrong, and I suppose that this is just an old way of working for me since I became a designer. So I simply gather primary and secondary sources of color and quickly present them on one sheet of paper and keep that to refer back too. The mood-board will also help you to see what works well together and what doesn’t, and there its your own criteria that counts.

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GREENS, DUSTY PINK AND MONOCROMES
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BLACK LINES WITH YELLOWS AND MORE GREEN
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GREENS, BLACK & WHITE AND HINTS OF AQUA

 

After creating the mood-board I started sketching on some ideas and shapes, and at the moment I am thinking of old places where I have lived and how they made me feel, which I want to transform in to patterns and textile designs. Bare in mind that all of this is work-in-progress.

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SOUTH EAST LONDON, STRANGE VICTORIAN HOUSES AND WEIRD NEIGHBORS
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MAN-MADE PARKS IN URBAN CITIES
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ABANDONED FACTORIES IN THE SOUTH EAST, GREENWICH
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FRESH MILK IN THE MORNING

 

Now I need to transfer these ideas in to screens and for that you need quite a lot of materials; and because textile printing can be a very toxic business it has taken me a long time to source eco printing products, but in the end I found a great company who funny enough originate from the north of Sweden, where I am now living. They are called Screentec AB, and you can find them in Stockholm and Haparanda or on-line at http://www.screentec.se (for english press this link:) http://www.screentec.se/subdet518.htm

 

 

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So last Friday I got my first delivery and I quickly rushed to the studio, eager to try them out. Knowing that ink from Screentec are free from phthalate and PVC felt great but I also wanted to see how they printed.  The product I bought is called ‘ecoline’ and is supposed to be the best on the market from an environmental point of view. So I mixed up some green and white (am a bit obsessed with green at the moment) and instead of making my screens with patterns I thought I just experiment a bit by printing over a piece of string. 

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Yes very nice printing ink, but the print did not turn out so well; in fact it’s what I would classify as an unsuccessful print (because the string was too thin), but you know I love mistakes because that is when we learn the most; and what did I learn this time? Don’t rush your work and waste material just because you get eager, prepare yourself and do it properly, especially if you want to save resources. Argh!! shame on me but experimenting is also fun and part of developing ideas and the whole creative process but maybe that is why we humans are such a danger for the environment…hmmm, will aim to be more thoughtful (despite being a human). Back soon with some more prints, but then I will not rush it!

Old window becomes menu board

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Two days to go and we are almost ready for the big day! These old windows will serve as menu board and seating plan.

After searching through my fathers farm house we found three nice old windows which we cleaned up and then used a white pen to write with. The windows will be placed next to each other and around the edges we have written the guests names and in the two central panels we have presented the menu.

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I started off by choosing a font I liked and adapted the size to fit the given space of the window, it took a bit of calculation but once that was done I just had to print it out and tape it to the back of the window with magic tape (which is easier to peal off and does not leave any glue marks on the glass.) Then with a steady hand work your way down, starting at the top so not to smudge the text as you go on. Then simply remove the printed sheet of paper and you are left with neatly presented text.

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Eco-deco making in mint & silver; -with flu in the house.

Yes my little ones are not well, so have been busy with runny noses, feverish nights and killing toss, therefore time has been divided between that and making eco-deco for the wedding. In fact I love making things so am a bit sad that the actual date is approaching as I wish to go on making things for another 6 months…hihi I suppose I just need an excuse for making..

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First out is a detail of an arrow made of recycled materials like chopsticks, string and scraps of paper, were thinking to incorporate  them with the elk horns, instead of the white moss idea…lets see what you think?

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Secondly I made a feather garland with silver tips and mint ribbon, which will be used in the reception area, as there they have two double doors which opens up in the middle of the room so I thought it could be nice to mark that with a dreamy garland before you enter into the ceremony area…(once positioned on location I will post some images.)

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Then for the kids play area I have made several multi-coloured mint garlands that will act as a curtain and invite the kids into a ‘secret’ corner with toys and other activities, at the same time as it blends with the other decor.

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However our most tedious task are painting twigs and branches, phww it takes forever!!!…and yes I know you could spray them, but my heart goes out to the environment and I have resorted to using an environmental friendly paint and a old fashion brush. The idea is to make them look wintery and bring some of that crispy, white feeling indoors. I mean they do look great once painted but it takes ages to do!!!

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The twigs will then be part of the table decor together with the horns, arrows and some candles, well lets look a bit closer at the arrows:   I started by clearing our kitchen drawers from all old chopsticks (we love sushi so I feel a certain satisfaction about being able to re-use these chopsticks) Then I cut arrow shapes from different scraps of paper and glued them to the sticks. After that silver thread was wrapped around the top part and decorated with glitter.

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It’s nice seeing it all come together and I still have other objects on the way, but this is a little preview of work-in-progress and I promise to post some photos once its set up on location on the 20th of March, so more will come!

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what’s been cooking? -ecological colours

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hey ho! starting the new year with some home-made vegetable ink cooking, as an artist and designer I am currently intrigued with how we can reduce toxic waste when painting and creating. So this first post is about making your own inks from vegetables and spices.

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I started this experiment by boiling red onion and beetroot with some salt and water (the salt acts as a fixing agent) and the first test stripes were not very successful…especially the red onion came out very pale.

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so then I added some turmeric to the water and things got more exciting, as for the beetroot I just left it to simmer for more time in order to create more intensity. Then I simmered the red onion and turmeric until almost all the water had vaporized and I was left with a thick turmeric paste which gives a more mustard coloured tone.

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To finish off I recycled two small pots and filled them with my eco-ink, which is slightly thicker then commercially bought ink, but I suppose that depends on how much water you add and how long you let it simmer for. I have now popped these in the fridge in order to store them for as long as possible, and my partner, who is a chef, said that you just need to smell them to know when they are starting to get off. The only problem is that they are not light resistant, (which I have discovered with my blueberry painting) that means that once applied to paper they will fade over time, so my homework is now to research how to make them light resistant! -without adding chemicals of course!!

 

On your bikes and get to know the area

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This is my latest creation, which I have dedicated to the town where we live: Umea, and now all eco-prints are available in a local pop-up shop for northern designers, which feels pretty awesome!  This piece is created as an homage to Umea, (which is a university town where people cycle a lot), and the buildings have been covered with letters and numbers to symbolize the academic spirit and learning going on here. Furthermore, the green shadows are there to support this environmentally friendly form of transport and encourage people to be even greener, because believe it or not here they ride it in the winter (despite -20 degrees) by putting winter tires on the bikes which helps you to avoid accidents on icy road conditions. So there is no excuse; -get on your bikes!!!

So what else has been going on? well, I have just stumbled upon a shared studio space! which for me is the best Christmas present!

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Take a look at this! it’s basically an old dairy factory, which now has been converted in to various artist studios, and there one  can apply for a membership with a compound that specializes in the same area as one has their skills, so I am applying for the art & textile compound. Last week I went for a visit and the space is like a massive eye candy!!! yum yum. There you can do screen printing, sculptures, sewing, painting and other creative stuff.  I also spoke with the president and explained a bit what I do and she has now sent me an application form to fill out and then hopefully after Christmas I can started using the space!

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So yes, went home and put my head to some serious research (as I have been abroad for 20 years I haven’t got a clue about anything around here, like where to get materials etc), and who doesn’t know that the textile industry is a very toxic business, so this will be a challenge but I am determined to carry on the ideology of eco-design, and have already found some environmentally friendly screen printing products through Screentec, who has devoted themselves to develop eco-friendly printing products which are water based and free from phthalate and PVC; and I am about to become another customers of theirs. Moreover, apart from ensuring you use good products you can also make an effort when it comes to cleaning by trying to collect residues to the last drop and wipe tools with paper before washing them with water.

In fact I read a profound study conducted by the city of Stockholm and the cultural administration where they highlight that all waste classified as dangerous for humans and the nature should NEVER be placed in the bin or poured down the sink. As dangerous you would include solvents, chemical photo products, paint residues, even packages that are empty but has contained dangerous products should not be disposed this way but collected separately and brought to an environmental station.

s7ss14sOne big NO-NO in the art world are colours with cadmium, like cadmium red or yellow, and a lot of people do not know this but cadmium can’t be filtered away, and its highly toxic for humans, animals and plants. Recently the Swedish national water company examined the level of cadmium in water around the country and in areas close to art schools they found  a massive increase of cadmium in the water; something I find very scary because it’s mainly due to the fact that people do not know this. So on your bikes and find the nearest environmental station! we need to know where they are…while we wait for the system to become more convenient for eco-living.

-have a good Christmas!!!

Christmas

 

Getting closer…100 prints ready!

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‘Figure it out’

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‘Crow’

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‘Public transport’

 

Not far to go, am almost ready to open up EcoDesignUmea’s own webshop! -feels exciting and scary at the same time…

So how did this happen?!? …  ok  here is my story:   Last year;  – well in fact on the 8th of December it will be exactly 365 days since I had a bad accident and broke my sacrum bone completely (lower part of the spine)

Yup, believe it or not but I slipped so badly on the northern ice that I fell backwards and broke my back, well to be honest I could not believe it and its taken me some time to grasp.  At first the doctors were not very positive and said they could not operate because it was to risky, that I was over-optimistic and they explained that the injury needed to self-heal,  (which I am now in the process of)  and apparently that will take a few years.

However, after 6 months of being nicely drugged up I started making little things at home and working on the computer whilst healing my back  (by then my whole being were itching to create)  and that is when I started this blog. So I have used this time to set up an on-line life related to my passion of ecological art & design (am a great believer of creativity and sustainable existence), which feels weird and interesting at the same time… lets see how it will go. My back is still in bad shape and am still taking the same amount of painkillers but every 2-3 months I can notice a slight improvement, like being able to stand longer and walk a bit further.

Anyhow, I don’t want this to sound like a sob-story! – and at first I did not want to share anything personal here but as time is passing EcoDesignUmea is becoming a part of my life and giving me a lot of joy and satisfaction,  in fact I am a very positive person (most of the time) who just wish to create and change a few things in this world, so that is what I am going for.

Now I have just received my first bit of eco-stock, the above prints are part of that, and then spent the whole day researching environmentally friendly ways to support this concept, learning about branding, marketing and all this other stuff which I feel is a bit of drag and out of my field but it keeps me occupied.  So lets see but hopefully I will find a way which stays in line with the whole eco idea, from materials (re-) used in initial stages to the final product & packaging, -so if you have any tips please share them!

Good night and thanks for sticking around!! x

P.S. all above designs are created with recycled materials