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  • um, yeah it’s cute – but are birds really going to live in a polystyrene house?

    I’ve been an huge fan of d*s from the beginning, and I love good design – especially clever, unique, humorous stuff that makes life more fun. Unfortunately, I find an increasing disparity between what I see put forth as good design, and what I’ve learned about the undeniable need for respect and preservation of our environment.

    Fashion & Design trends purport to have recognized and embraced environmental awareness, with the non-stop popularity of “nature themes” — everywhere I look I see birds, sea creatures, silhouettes of leave & branches, “trees of life”, faux wood grain patterns; color palettes of greens, beiges & browns, watery ocean colors, on & on. Just look at the side bars of this blog: it would seem we all love nature. And yet we seem to lose the message.

    Let’s honor the beauty/necessity of birds… with a cute little birdhouse that no bird will live in, but by hanging in our kitchen/bath/studio it will at least serve to remind us of… What?

    Plastics have allowed incredible improvements in our society. But we’ve learned they are as difficult to dispose of as nuclear waste. Since we know now what we didn’t know then, is it still good design to create a “whimsy” for today that will be in tomorrow’s landfills for centuries? How beneficial will that be for the birds? Isn’t it hypocritical to create objects with shapes & colors that celebrate nature for a short time while they’re trendy in 2007, but for most of their life will ultimately have a large negative impact on nature? Could this cute little birdhouse have been made of paper pulp instead? Is this object about nature appreciation or wide margins?

    Perhaps ignorance is bliss. Sorry to be a guilt-inducing downer on such a happy forum. For me, this has been a growing conflict for a while now. Perhaps other readers could offer insights or alternative perspectives to help rationalize my thoughts.

  • you know, my first thought was just how many different decorative uses these could have. the birds are just gonna have to find their own places to live. :P thx for sharing.

  • You could make one yourself out of paper maché on a balloon. Pop the balloon, create the whole, paint it a fun colour using something of very low voc/toxins and add a perch and a string to hang.
    I’m sure there is a way of weather proofing paper as well so if you did intend to allow the birds to nest in it it wouldn’t dissolve.

  • The first anonymous poster (11:26 AM) hit on an increasingly pertinent point. When do the qualifications of “good design” take into account the materials and life cycle of a product? If it’s all about shape/texture/color I think we’re missing something here. As a custom cabinet and furniture maker I’m fascinated with F L Wright’s indignation of a consumer obsessed society, and similarly Russel and Mary Wrights’ “Guide To Easier Living” (the cute little yellow book).
    Nowadays it might prove equally helpfull to have a design emphasis on “is this necessary and is it worth the environmental impact?”
    When I’m asked what are some of the green options on a project I tell the client that the design and utility will ultimately be the larger factors of keeping it out of a landfill. Then we go down the list of materials such as sustainable materials locally produced, haps free finishes, etc…
    I guess if an item merely satisfies a compulsion for good visual design only – maybe you should ask yourself “will it rot?”

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