Solving Environmental Problems with Green Designs and Art
Scientists are trying to solve environmental issues through new technology and policy change. On the other hand, there are also designers solving environmental problems through beautiful art and design.
<Lee Jun-seo, CEO of Ecojun Company, Sweeping Top Three Global Design Competitions >
In early June, Ecojun Company won a grand slam by receiving the top three global design awards, the 2012 Red Dot Design Award, the 2013 IF Award, and the 2013 IDEA award.
Their submission the “Original Green Cup” is a product that embodies Ecojun Company’s vision of keeping the environment in mind through a product’s lifespan, from production to disposal. Made of eco-friendly biodegradable materials such as corn starch, the cup does not contain environmental hormones or harmful fumes even when hot water is poured in it or when incinerated.
One huge difference between existing eco-friendly cups and the “Original Green Cup” is its v-shaped crack. This crack in the rim of the cup was made in deep consideration of the user. Inspired by the fact that more and more people are using tea bags, the v-shaped crack was made to hold the tea bag string to prevent it from falling into the cup. This cup embodies the hope that the use of disposable cups will decrease and the conviction to provide an alternative. It is also the embodiment of CEO Lee’s thoughtful consideration for the environment and the future.
Another product from Ecojun Company is named “1+1=0.” This is a notebook made from recycled paper. You can tear pages out of this notebook and after all the pages are torn out, the spine of the book can be used as a business card holder. Scrap paper and a business card holder come together to show there is nothing wasted. The name of this product resembles the word “Oh,” which can be seen as an exclamation of surprise that it’s not simply a notebook but an eco-friendly design idea.
CEO Lee commented, “Everyone is looking for different ways to solve environmental issues. If we consider these issues more carefully, we can preserve our environment for the next generation. Ecojun Company designs for the next generation. Our creative efforts to deal with the ethics, philosophies, and issues of design are difficult and tiresome. However, Ecojun Company creates a bond between people by focusing on one value, making the issue clear, and sending a message.”
<Green Designer, Professor Yoon Hoseop>
There is one person who believes that every day of the year are Earth Days. Sometimes, he paints dolphins with eco-friendly paint while sitting on the side of the road in Insadong. He is Yun Ho-seop, professor emeritus at Kookmin University. Professor Yun, who taught Ecojun Company’s CEO Lee Jun-seo, is more widely known as a green designer than a professor. His philosophy lies in creating “design that takes both humans and nature into consideration.” He believes that the role and responsibility of design are to conserve natural resources and reduce harmful effects on humans and nature.
The paint used on signboards is often not biodegradable, and thus is harmful to the environment. Designers are creating a simpler arrow in order to use less paint and reduce its environmental impact.
Professor Yun said he started painting pictures on t-shirts when he realized that he had over 60 shirts in his closet. He decided that the industrial structure of this time, which encourages mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal, has caused the environmental issues we face today. Since then, he has been putting on a performance of painting dolphins, trees, and leaves on old t-shirts to turn them into new clothes.
Another one of his famous masterpieces is a calendar. Calendars usually take a long time to decompose because of the amount of pages and bright colored inks. On Professor Yun’s calendar, the pages are a third of the size of normal calendar pages, the spiral binding has been removed, and only eco-friendly black ink was used. Also, Sundays and holidays have been left blank for the user to fill in.
Responding to a question about solving environmental problems, Professor Yun answered, “Art cannot solve the whole problem, but it can do its small part in some areas. The more serious a problem is, the more fun and effective art can be in sending the message out. Art is looking at a worm-eaten leaf and thinking of the beautiful sacrifice made as nature intended, instead of thinking that it’s an unpleasant sight. You are not just filling your head with knowledge, but actually producing sincerity that moves and touches people.”
Design makes people want to buy a certain product and changes the way people think. When people begin to use design not simply as a marketing tool but as an environmental tool, they will help people to think of the environment whenever they purchase an item. Items designed by Professor Yun and Ecojun Company’s CEO Lee Jun-seo are not produced simply for the profit but to take a step towards resolving environmental problems. We look forward to how much their products will change the world for the next generation.