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Alex Steffen, 9 Oct 04

Front is a Swedish design firm which, while not particularly green, is neobiological in some odd ways, and bright as a flash-bang grenade. As an article in ID puts it,

"The team entrusts its work to haphazard proceedings: gravitational effects, explosion patterns, and even, in its first projects, undomesticated animals. The Front website explains: "We asked animals to help us. 'Sure we'll help you out,' they answered. 'Make something nice,' we told them. And so they did." Indeed. When the rats got done chomping through vast bolts of white wallpaper, Front was left with a delicate lacy pattern that allowed old paper or paint to show through. Other partnerships with reptiles and bugs resulted in household objects that feel at home with the wall covering. A tube of clay squeezed by a boa constrictor became a textured wall-hanger for hats and jackets; a fly's path around a light bulb (recorded by a stop-motion camera) produced a tubular lampshade dizzy with life; beetles' tracks across a piece of wood yielded an intricately carved table.

"...Front's "Design By" series brought back nature in force. After detonating dynamite sticks buried in a winter landscape for Design by Explosion, the group translated the resulting crater into a mold for a wonderfully soft lounge chair. When displayed, the white mound of a seat is set against a slow-motion film of the 0.4-second blast that created it. Design by Mechanics is a table supplied with artificial intelligence and mechanical legs; turn it on, and in its first few days of life it acts like a stumbling Bambi while it learns to stand, balance itself, and toddle across the room. [Their] Design by Gravity floor lamp employs a motion sensor to "wake up" from its standard reclining position when it detects someone in the room."

Why can't more conventional green design be this wildly innovative, this weird, this fun? It can. Just wait until the generation of green designers now emerging get their hands on fab labs, get all biomimimetic, using new materials and better understandings the principles of green design. Bright green living isn't about just about organic cotton futons, raw wood furniture and bicycles anymore...

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