The Design charity has two defining ‘objects’: First, we are committed to the design and build of transformative environments for charitable causes. Secondly, as part of our educational role, we are pledged to research these environments and to publish the results for the benefit of all.
What we do
In practice this has meant the creation of a series of sponsored environments for Charities , particularly Emmaus the homeless Charity, Kids Company, who care for disadvantaged children in inner-city London and Surf Survivors, who help ‘survivors’ cope with the aftermath of Rwandan genocide (see our ‘Environments’ section for further details)
In the latter case, our charitable interests have assumed a global scope reaching into the heart of the strife ridden African continent with the establishment of ‘The Promised Land’ initiative.
Current Case Studies and Projects
A Community Garden for Ernest Dence
Our design for a new community garden for Ernest Dence is inspired by the maritime history of Greenwich and the Victorian activity of plant collecting. The garden features an interactive glasshouse that contains a community managed garden and a quiet area filled with natural sculpture. Our seek and collect game for mobile phones – ‘Plant Hunters’ – extends the digital elements of the garden into Greenwich and beyond, and uses gamification to encourage younger members of the community to engage with the natural world.
The Promised Land Trust
Soon to achieve charitable status in its own right, ‘The Promised Land Trust’ find its roots in ‘The Promised Land Garden’ which won a gold medal and best in show at Tatton Flower Show, 2011. Noted for its ‘sense of feeling’ by judges and public alike, the garden prompted tears as well as enormous generosity in the hearts of all who visited it. The garden boasted constant queues and collected £2,000 in donations during the course of its week long exhibition. Needless to say, these donations have provided invaluable seed money for the nascent charity enabling it to establish a personalized program of help designed to target needy groups in rural Uganda, specifically orphan-led families living in the epicenter of the aids epidemic.
The Design Charity is currently planning a series of environmental works designed to keep the charitable spotlight on ‘The Promised Land’ Initiative commencing with a digital installation in a prominent retail outlet in central London towards the end of 2012.
The Diabetes Compliance Study
As part of Professor Joan Taylors development of an artificial pancreas at De Montfort University, this project is charged with the task of providing a transformative environment for participants in the ‘Diabetes Compliance Study’. As the title suggest the environment is designed to inspire ‘compliance’, in practice, it will empower participants to manifest their own ideal ‘dreamscape’ whilst at the same time providing essential biofeedback for their struggle against diabetes.
Digital connectivity is provided for the participants in the proposed lab environment in the form of an ‘Ipad’ tree. Symbolizing the hybridization of high technology and nature, the ‘Ipad’ tree is, in fact, depicted as a series of branches which the viewer is left to assume forms part of a much larger entity as it appears to penetrate the very structure of the building itself.
This observation perhaps presages the extension of these concepts into the wider public realm with an exhibition of related works at the nearby Phoenix Art Centre. Here it is hoped that public interaction with the ‘Ipad’ tree will result in the projection of virtual/natural environments on to the canyon like walls of this building’s inner courtyard.
Chaumont-sur-Loire: ‘A Digital playground’
This is the design Charities entry for the International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire. The festival provides the perfect stage to broadcast the research work and findings of the Charity to a international audience. This year the design team were particularly inspired by the festival’s theme, “Garden of Sensations – Contemporary Synaesthesia” which they felt offered an opportunity to focus on the sensory input of a given environment and question whether this could be manipulated and even augmented by the application of digital technology. Our submission has resulted in the creation of a stunning digital playground which the team feels has particular application for the disabled. We will therefore be looking for an appropriate permanent home for this garden concept.
An exciting new project!
The Design charity has been commissioned to design the extensive 12 acre grounds of a Balajii Hindu temple in Birmingham .
This is an opportunity to develop spiritual and conceptual meaning systems in this symbolic environment. It will be designed to embrace multi faith groups as well as the local community.
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