SPARK’s 3 Little Pigs biogas plant has topped the chart of DESIGN POWER 100

SPARK’s 3 Little Pigs biogas plant has topped the chart of China’s DESIGN POWER 100, an award that assembles the best designs produced in China in 2019. Themed “Hello Future”, the brightest ideas across the disciplines of sustainability, health, lifestyle and technology were judged by a panel composed of industrial designers, art curators, designers and educators from Beijing Tsinghua, Shanghai Tongji and Guangzhou universities.

SPARK’s 3 little pigs was selected from a list of 400 entries. 3 Little Pigs supports the Chinese Government’s efforts to tackle the countrywide problem of water pollution caused by the waste from animal farming entering the fresh water supply.

SPARK director Stephen Pimbley speaks about Design and its influence on our future in an interview with DESIGN POWER 100.

What kind of designs influence the future?

Designs (buildings) that consume less energy in manufacture and use and if possible help create energy once they are fabricated.

Buildings that are less function specific and can be easily retrofitted for future unknown uses.

What in your opinion is “friendly design” and “unfriendly design”? 

The question is a little subjective, but I have always been drawn to designs that take ordinary things and translate them into delightful solutions

Design that has a very short-life span, is too easily disposable or designed for single-use

What do you think is the greatest issue to resolve in the next ten years?

Global warming is the single most important issue humanity faces, everything else pales into insignificance. Key related issues amongst many that require resolution are:

The reduction in global consumption of meat.

The problems that will be caused by the rapid increase in population of sub Saharan countries. The parts of the world that have little or no economic resource to develop sustainably and meet sustainable global climate objectives.

What kind of role will the designer play in the future?

Would like to think that the idea of design specialism disappears and the borders between design disciplines becomes eradicated.  I like the idea that designers and artists such as Thomas Heatherwick and Olafur Eliasson are designing buildings. It does not matter if I think the buildings are good it’s just nice that they are different. I very much dislike the protectionist role that many institutions carry out as their “duty” on behalf of their members. If there is less control more designers will feel able to think about the built environment in a positive manner rather than leaving it as the domain of the urban planner, traffic engineer, architect and engineer. It would be interesting if the French graphic artist Jean Jullien could design a city, and bring back some humour and humanity into our lives.

What is the relationship between art, design and technology?  

Art and design

The artist I guess has a lot more freedom when facing the blank canvas than the architect who is generally constrained by many rules and regulations as well as the usually prescriptive client’s brief. Although I believe that the best architecture is the result of an intuitive process of investigation, of trial and error to discover the project’s full potential.

Design and technology

Like most I purchase the new iphone, air pods, iwatch etc and constantly amazed at the rapid technological change that is assimilated into society at an ever increasing pace thanks to gifted designers like Jony Ive. I balance the purchase of these gadgets against my collection of furniture and lighting by the Italian genius Achille Castiglioni who’s assemblage of the ordinary / the everyday into industrial design works of art is for me a true celebration of the human spirit and the most wonderful marriage of design, technology and art.

If you can acquire a new skill base or knowledge, what would you choose?

To be skilled in the making / fabrication of things or to be musical i.e. playing the piano.