Increasingly as I write, I find myself considering the political implications of the materials in question. The plastics industry seems
to reflect, as with most things, a wider political debate.
To use a cliche (and perhaps extend it a little) to illustrate my thoughts; biopolymers appear to be a rather small fish in a rather
large pond … The pond is full of bigger fish as you might expect. All the fish, both big and small take in sustenance to survive,
the small fish feed on renewable plant matter, whereas the bigger fish feed on oil. However the two are competing for the same space
if not the same food, so one fish, probably the smaller, might be threatened by the other. The problem starts on that day where the
small fish no longer have the space within the lake to survive, and are forced to extinction. The larger fish continue to power on,
until that day when their choice of sustenance no longer exists, and they too face extinction.
Obviously this is a rather single track minded, worst-case-scenario way of looking at the issue. To pull away from the cliche, it seems
that in such a saturated market, where there is an unfathomably vast amount of investment in non-renewable polymers, which have been
tailored and tinkered with to produce a product which meets the immediate customer demand and return maximum profit, biopolymers face
a Goliath. The synthetics industry has a research and investment head start. The relative costs of biopolymers are higher, making direct
competition difficult. The decision to choose the more costly biopolymer has to be an ethical one, with an acceptance that costs to
yourself as a designer, and your customer after you, will increase. Similarly, it would seem the same for making the decision to invest
in biopolymers rather than synthetic polymers. The risk is much higher, and so from a business sense, or at least a capitalist business
sense, synthetics might seem the most likely to return profit on investment.
The most positive factor biopolymers do have on their side however is their renewability, whether the synthetic polymer industry are
prepared or not, the tides will one day turn. When there is no longer the oil remaining to prevent prices from rising above that of
alternative materials, then a renewable shift has the opportunity to take place. Quite when this will happen remains a topic for debate.
Perhaps among the few people able to bring about that change sooner, are the designers and manufacturers of products. If they decide
to take the risk of an ethical shift as a unified group and produce an increasing amount if renewable products, this might change things
much sooner. This however, in a world governed by money and business, seems highly unlikely.
My first major contribution was as part of the design team (alongside Becky, Angleo and Huw). We developed the initial winning exhibition design; ‘Three-Fold’. I came up with the initial triangular theme idea and we developed the design as a closely knit team.
My role has been to Manage and oversee all elements of the Exhibition set up, having being voted into the role by my peers. I came up with the democratic structure myself, designing a system with three departments (Space, Finance and Marketing) and representatives for each of the design groups (Real, Right, Possible) which made up a committee headed by myself. This system has proved very effective at ensuring all issues have been addressed quickly and with maximum efficiency.
As part of my leadership campaign I highlighted that all decisions would be made fairly and democratically and that all ideas would be considered. This is a philosophy that I am proud to say I have carried throughout the process of managing the exhibition. All major decisions were debated between the whole year group and I ensured that everybody was given a vote on all major matters.
I have managed the week-on-week running of the exhibition setup and ensured that roles and responsibilities be given to those best suited to the roles and those keen to engage with the show. This has involved planning (with the help of Becky) and running weekly committee and year meetings, meeting with the Dean, meetings with Chris Dennis (School Administrator), having one-on-one and group meetings with every department (Space, Marketing and Finance), liaising with staff, liaising with reps and helping each group with their work (such as helping Becky sorting out invitations, providing creative suggestions to both Space and Marketing teams). Diplomacy, planning and organisation have been key to my role and I have grown into the role effectively. I have enjoyed the experience and believe I have been successful in my leadership role.
Further to this, I have pitched in with hard manual work. During the construction period I was among around fifteen students who stayed late into the evening to ensure that the show be set up in time. Roles during this period have included constructing and lifting the overhangs, painting, filling and sanding the tables, and arranging and moving the space to enable 1st, 2nd and 3rd years to work effectively.
This video I put together illustrates the three textures I have included in my design. Here you can see how someone might interact with each of the materials through touch to benefit in the classroom environment.
I have planned to hang my inhaler development designs from the wiring grate in a chronological order so as to highlight my design process. I feel that the body of my work is what will give me the best opportunity of recognition by potential employers. This process, in my opinion, is one of the most valuable things I have learnt during my time at Cardiff School of Art and Design and is the backbone of my design philosophy.