Last Saturday night, I went to the opening of Swell – Future Friendly Design, an exhibit which runs all this week in the old skating rink at UBC Robson Square. It’s part of 30 Days of Sustainability, “annual celebration and affirmation of sustainability and its natural role in the world”. Raincity Studios designed the site, and I’m pretty sure Sarah Pullman’s involved in some way or other.
The exhibit itself was pretty cool, and an effective use of some underused downtown space. Here were some of the niftier items I spotted:
- A flashlight that you shake to power up and keep lit.
- A gorgeous bench made of waste wood. Price: probably a zillion dollars. That bit isn’t so sustainable.
- A non-ugly electric scooter that runs for 30 or 40 km on a charge from a regular 110/220v outlet (caution: the site has a bunch of stupid, loud Flash bits).
- ‘Paper’ plates made out of bambu.
The exhibit was on the small side. I’m sure it’s all volunteer organization, but it could easily have been two or three times as big. My other complain involves the ‘Do Not Touch’ signs everywhere. Most of the items weren’t art–they were commodities that you could buy. Yet I wasn’t allowed to shake the flashlight or pick up a bamboo plate. This is foolish, because the event is as much marketplace as it is exhibit. Apparently the future isn’t friendly to interactivity.
I also spotted what must be one of the more obscure periodicals on the planet: Solar Cooker Review. The exhibit is open until March 20, so if you’re downtown, it’s worth checking out.