Crosby Fox’s Three Things to be Optimistic for in 2011

Crosby Fox

Today, repurposing can be seen in various examples throughout design and architecture. Most people are familiar with the concept of repurposing—but I’m always looking for examples that break the barriers of what we think is possible.  Erika Iris Simmons creates portraits from cassette tape bound for landfills. Designer Ramon Coronado recently transformed an abandoned shopping cart into furniture.  One of my favorite repurposed items comes from lighting designer Stuart Haygarth, who creates light fixtures from a variety of unique materials. This trend is gaining speed and I will be looking for even more innovative repurposing in 2011.

I began my search for next year’s color trends by checking out Pantone’s website and was surprised to see their selection for 2011’s color of the year:  Pantone 18-2120 Honeysuckle.  Their website explains: “Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor.  A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting.”  Similar to Art Deco’s uplifting colors and playful forms seen during the interwar period between WWI and WWII, will the colors of 2011 serve to uplift us during these trying modern times?  ICI Dulux’s color of the year is described as symbolizing “a freer spirit, sense of fun and positive energy encapsulating a mood of hope and optimism,” and Sherwin Williams’ website features the “Bold Invention” color collection in 2011. A new year, a new outlook—sunny colors are here to help.

I have always believed in the power of collaboration, especially amongst two very different people with diverse specialties.  A new and exciting collaboration between biologists, artists, sociologists, philosophers and architects is a research project called Synthetic Aesthetics.  Their website states:  “By instigating new collaborations, we are exploring the shared territory between synthetic biology and creative practice… (in order) to help with the work of designing, understanding, and building the living world.” This collaboration between biology and architecture is gaining popularity in the design world, as can be seen by the development of organizations such as CASE (Center for Architecture Science and Ecology), located at Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill LLP in Manhattan.

Posted in Category Design Inspirations | 3 Comments

3 Responses to: Crosby Fox’s Three Things to be Optimistic for in 2011

  1. Peter Brown says:

    Crosby, I really enjoyed your post. I think that the big take away for me is expect the unexpected when looking outside the box…way outside the box…and it’s good. We are only creatures of habit because of habits we’ve become familiar with, it’s time for some new ones.
    I wondered as I was looking at the 3rd item in your list if you’ve ever hear of Janine Benyus and the Biomimicry Institute. The premise is that nature has a 4 billion year jump on us human ‘newcomers’ in R&D, and so we are wise to take our cues for development from there. Here’s their web site:
    I’d love to hear what you think…and keep up the great work and thinking!! – Pete

  2. Harry Brown says:

    Hey Crosby!
    Nice blog! I like your thoughts about repurposing. Out of the mountains of “garbage” we Americans toss out every day, its refreshing to know that others see opportunity and a new life for this refuse. Here’s a pix of a work boot repurposed as a bird house: . I don’t know how the birds feel about it but its a conversation piece!

    -Uncle Harry

  3. crosbyf says:

    Pete and Harry:
    Thank you both for your comments! I’m glad to hear that my “Three Things for 2011” have inspired you to think “way outside the box.” That’s just the kind of thinking we need to reach a sustainable future.

    I am always looking for repurposed objects that catch me by surprise and make me smile–this boot bird feeder definitely does! Funny examples such as these bring positive attention to this movement of reusing everyday items.

    Thanks for also mentioning Janine Benyus and The Biomimicry Guild. We’re fans of her work as well and have had the valuable experience of working with her organization in the past. I am so excited to see what amazing results will come from simply being inspired by nature. To see our articles on biomimcry and examples of our work with The Biomimicry Guild, follow the link below.

    All the best!