Vox Pop

Despite individual fund-raising initiatives by some consultancies, design as an industry has been slow to respond with ideas of how to help communities devastated by the Asian tsunami. How can UK designers best use their skills to contribute to the intern

‘Since disasters are by definition unpredictable, and design is a slow process, the best way for the design community to use their skills would be to have already prepared the elements to make the Best Refuge Camp: a flat-pack city which can respond to various climates and locations. The different parts probably already exist in various guises (mostly I would guess from military sources) and it is a question of bringing these parts together to generate a noble and safe environment. Maybe such an approach already exists?’

Christophe Egret, Founder, Studio Egret West

‘Of course, product designers should apply the skills honed serving Mammon to creating products that help in providing essentials like clean water, shelter and communication in disaster situations. If designers could put aside just an hour a day for thinking beyond their comfort zones, the results could be truly world changing. Coordination? Architecture benefits from a single representative body that regulates the profession. The rest of the design industry is so diverse, and design organisations so flaky, that coherent representation seems impossible.’

Andy Davey, Creative director, TKO

‘I am a person first, designer second. I have been reassured by the ground swell of compassion from all over the world. In the long term, I hope that it makes us reflect on how we use creativity, and how we advise our clients to use creativity. Our creative solutions can challenge society to ask deeper questions, to be more compassionate, and therefore recognise our fragility.’

Sally Crabb, Executive creative director, Imagination

‘Initiate the Tsunami Design Awards, ensuring disaster-awareness enters the design vocabulary. Start with international Emergency Labelling‚ which is practical, emotive and as easily recognisable as was the Swiss Red Cross. Include Emergency Product‚ where we might find self-heating food cans, inflatable ladders, wind-up torches, Mylar thermal garments et al.’

Michael Dowd, Founder, Dimensions

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