Can Designers Save The World?

Can Designers Save The World? was an evening on sustainability hosted by Locate East Sussex and the De La Warr Pavilion with East Sussex based Architect Duncan Baker-Brown of BBM Sustainable Design and the University of Brighton.

Duncan Baker-Brown drew on his knowledge and research within sustainable design and architecture and provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities available to all businesses to adopt more sustainable practices as well as support communities and the future of our place. 

Towards a 'Circular Economy' 

The event successfully brought together over 60 small business owners, designers, architects and engineers interested in the sustainable buzz around the circular economy to discuss the economic advantages and how, by taking this approach, you can be creative and collaborate with other businesses within East Sussex to make your own practices more sustainable.

For small business owners, there are sound economic reasons for doing things in a more sustainable way, but in small companies, it’s often a struggle just to keep on top of the day to day tasks. With sustainability increasingly on the agenda for small businesses, Locate East Sussex teamed up with the De La Warr Pavilion to host an evening event on sustainability with East Sussex-based architect Duncan Baker-Brown, who discussed the pioneering Wastehouse Project and his new book in a talk entitled “Can Designers Save the World?”

The first permanent ‘carbon negative’ public building in Europe

An expert in contemporary methods of ecology-friendly building design, architect and academic Duncan Baker-Brown leads the practice BBM Sustainable Design, bringing sustainable design practice and philosophy to his teaching and scholarly projects at the University of Brighton. The Brighton Waste House is the first permanent ‘carbon negative’ public building in Europe to be constructed from approximately 90% waste, surplus material & discarded plastic gathered from the construction and other industries, as well as our homes. It tries to prove “that there is no such thing as waste, just stuff in the wrong place!” Baker-Brown’s experience on this project enabled him to write the book ‘The Re-Use Atlas: A designers guide towards a Circular Economy’.

Students, designers and engineers think about sustainable design in ever more sophisticated ways. Many small business owners are unsure about how to apply sustainable practices to their work and worry that they might lack the creativity to develop a new business model. Designers have the power to help small businesses do things in a more sustainable way, helping them to rethink and redesign their products and services lowering the barriers to adopting sustainable practices.

Creativity and Innovation can build a restorative economy

Duncan reflected on the issues and inspiring projects covered in his book and discussed how with creativity and innovation we can build a restorative economy. Answering the questions brought in from his talk, he went into detail about the viability of a number of practices and materials, recognising the potential of discarded “waste” as a valuable resource in the future of building materials, as well as what he had learnt from the live projects as valuable teaching aides. Through his projects he fosters community development and regeneration, drawing on apprentice builders and students, informing young people of all ages as to their role in sustainable living.

Funding to become more sustainable

LoCASE Business Growth Grants could be just what small businesses are looking for. You can get a 40 per cent contribution towards a project to grow your business, up to a maximum of £10,000. Combine this with other support available through Locate East Sussex and our sister company Business East Sussex and the potential funding available is significant. As well as money, you can also get 12 hours of FREE business support and advice, including support with developing and commercialising a new product or service.

There is a lot of support is available to SMEs based in East Sussex that helps their customers save energy, reduce their carbon footprint or protect the natural environment.

It was followed by a question/answer session and opportunities to network with designers, architects and other local business owners and sustainability experts.

For support and advice on how to progress with your business goals get in touch and one of our team will contact you to discuss you needs.