Lighting designers to shine at Luminale 08

Clients’ concerns are evolving and sustainability is often now part of the brief. But it wasn’t always this way, so Clare Dowdy asked five consultancies how they would redo past projects to fit the new eco-conscious consensus

by Blue Marlin

In 2002, Blue Marlin did a global structural and graphics redesign for Schweppes’ carbonated drinks. Looking back, consultancy chief creative officer David Hodgson says the shape and size of the bottle, along with its packaging and labelling, could all have been reconsidered through ‘Green eyes’, although this was not in the brief. Greater ‘global commonality’ – meaning fewer bottle sizes – would have meant fewer tools, he says. Similarly, more commonality across different countries’ graphics would have meant fewer plate changes at repro.

BM creative director of structural design Guy Williams suggests that, in line with consumers’ perceptions of recycling, the proportion of recycled glass in the bottles could be increased, even though this would mean less clarity. Even more radically, BM could consider recycled plastic, though there are problems with getting the volumes. Labelling could be on paper from a sustainable source, or a new biodegradable material. ‘And reducing the amount of ink could mean less use of solvents,’ adds Williams .

Even the research process would now be carried out differently. Muses Hodgson, ‘Would we send people around the world to do a global audit?’ He acknowledges, however, that one insight from such a trip actually reduced packaging materials in Spain.

Spafax office interiors
by BDG Workfutures

For this airline industry marketing agency, BDG Workfutures specified a sea grass (sisal) floor, ‘because at the time it was the most Green/sustainable option’, says joint managing director Phil Hutchinson. It was not a success, as it was difficult to fit and not durable enough. ‘Now there are loads of floor finishes with sustainable credentials to choose from,’ he says.

The consultancy would also now look more stringently at a supplier’s sustainable policy when specifying new equipment, to make sure it’s in line with the client or the project.

‘In the past, when a client wanted new furniture, there was no thought about how to dispose of the old,’ says Hutchinson. ‘Now, it could be reused through charities, and we would look at reusing some elements: for example, putting new tops on existing open-plan desking.’ ‹

Fresh Italy
by Pocknell Studio

This fast-food pasta concept was designed in 2003. ‘To keep customers up to speed with new offers, menu changes, new dishes, discounts and such like, a huge amount of printed material had to be produced,’ says Pocknell Studio product director Will Pocknell. ‘At the time, there was no Green policy in place and the printed material was happily produced in runs of thousands rather than hundreds, and thrust into every customer’s bag along with their order, only to be discarded along with the bag, unread and unwanted.’

If the consultancy had its time again, it would build a Green approach into the brand model, shouting its Green credentials from the rooftops and backing it up with comparisons to other fast-food operations. It would insist on recycled paper and vegetable-based inks for printed material – packaging too, if possible – and would look long and hard at every offer to see whether it might, with the increased use and awareness of on-line campaigns, reach its audience quicker and be more effective if it were published on the website or e-mailed.’

Primark Oxford Street
by Dalziel & Pow

Dalziel & Pow started work on this year-old flagship 18 months ago. If it was to start from scratch today, key elements that might now be done differently include the design specification for flooring, lighting and fixtures, according to D&P creative director David Dalziel.

Primark’s flooring is vinyl, which is high in PVC – polyvinyl chloride or the so-called ‘poison plastic’ – but suppliers are addressing that issue. ‘In the meantime,’ says Dalziel, ‘the solutions lie elsewhere, in rubber and linoleum, which can be slightly harder to maintain, but are friendlier to the environment.’

Similar lighting effects could be pulled off today using less energy. ‘Improved lamp output and more sophisticated reflectors have resulted in 35-watt fittings producing the effect of a 75-watt fitting of 18 months ago,’ adds Dalziel.

Chroming, meanwhile, is a toxic process, and is ‘a huge issue for the environment when it is produced in volume in countries where environmental concerns are not as high a priority as here in Europe’, says Dalziel. To avoid chrome fixtures altogether, D&P might now opt for polished stainless steel where affordable and necessary, and painted steel where possible. ‘There may be a cost consideration, there may be a wear issue, but there’s always a going to be a judgement call,’ adds Dalziel.

Acco-Rexel office supplies
by Factory Design

In the past, Factory Design created Acco-Rexel’s stationery and office equipment ranges in polypropylene. Now, the brief has changed – and a new range, which launches in the summer and will be branded separately, is being made from recycled material, with each item having to be fully recyclable. At the same time, the client expected the costs to stay the same, or fall.

So the consultancy had to rethink the colours and detailing. Previous ranges have been in bright colours or a semi-opaque plastic, but with volumes of 100 000 the availability of supply is tricky, says Factory creative director Adrian Berry. This new range will be black, with accent colours, and catches and fasteners that can be taken off easily and separated. A fabric cord is replacing metallic or plastic poppers to hold paper document boxes together. ‘And instead of using ink, we’re applying surface detail in the moulding,’ adds Berry.

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