Green Map and SA designs feature at Cooper Hewitt Museum

4:Secs condom applicator

Green Map System is a featured project on display as part of the prestigious Cooper Hewitt Museum's National Design Triennial in New York. The theme of the triennial exhibition is “Why Design Now?” and explores the work of designers addressing human and environmental problems across many fields of design.

The triennial is global in reach for the first time, reflecting the connectedness of design practices and the need for international cooperation to solve the world's problems. Projects and designs span many fields including architecture, product design, fashion, graphics, new media and landscape design.

The Triennial series seeks out and presents the most innovative forward-thinking designs at the centre of contemporary culture from the previous three years and spans 134 projects from 44 countries.

The curatorial team chose the designers by group consensus and also collected nominations from the public via their website. Energy, mobility, community, materials, prosperity, health, communication and simplicity are the themes beneath which designs are grouped.

South Africa is represented in the Health theme by Dot Dot Dot Ex Why Zed Design (…xyz), which produced the 4 Secs condom applicator which is aimed at reducing sexually transmitted diseases as the condom can be applied in 4 seconds.

The first version of the applicator used “hooks” which tore the condom’s latex if used incorrectly. Generation II houses the condom in a moulded channel that prevents tension. …xyz also devised thoughtful packaging and suggestive product branding to help attract young consumers.

...XYZ have also created the Snuzu Halo baby monitor which prevents SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Instead of the typical under-mattress monitor, this small, portable vital-sign device clips to a baby’s diaper for use not only when sleeping in the crib, but also in transit or anywhere the baby sleeps. Incorporating the latest sensing technology, Snuzu Halo tracks the baby’s breathing; if breathing stops, the monitor sounds an alarm and vibrates, stimulating the baby into consciousness whilst alerting you.

…xyz and MTLS have also created a modular traffic-light system which is claimed to be the world’s safest configurable traffic light. A traffic-light pole consisting of stackable tubular plastic or polymer sections held in place with a tensioned cable, the system is designed to collapse if a car collides with it, minimizing vehicle damage and passenger injury. The system requires little maintenance and has low replacement costs. Due to its modularity, MTLS can be repaired quickly and retrofitted with new developments in LED technologies, wireless communication, and advancements in traffic monitoring.

There are numerous other green designs on display such as Solé Power Tiles, solar panel tiles that are barrel shaped so that they fit in with existing roof tiles. They are made from lightweight plastic moulded together with a flexible silicon cell. The technology within the cell is cadmium-free, non-toxic and can be safely recycled.

Or what about the Power Aware cord, which signals the amount of energy that you are using, even if the appliance is on standby mode. This cord was designed by the Interactive Institute in Sweden.

Nature has inspired many of the innovations including Solar Lilies, designed by the Scottish firm ZM Architecture. These are biomimetic solar collectors whose form is modeled on the plant that inspires their name. Initially conceptualized for the River Clyde in Glasgow, the solar lily pads take advantage of open and underused space along waterways to convert solar energy to grid electricity. Circular discs made from steel and recycled rubber float on rivers. The discs are mounted with motorized solar arrays that rotate to track the sun throughout the day, angling themselves for maximum exposure to gather the sunlight that is intensified by the water. The giant Solar Lilies range in diameter from fifteen to forty-five feet, with “stems” tethered to the river bed for easy manoeuvrability.

Coverings Etc has expanded its offering of stone and mosaic wall and floor panels to include eco-friendly materials such as postconsumer recycled aluminum and glass in its ECOverings line. Bio-Luminum, the most recent product, uses reclaimed aircraft parts retrieved from abandoned military sites. The parts are melted into blocks and sliced to create a lightweight, utilitarian tile. Bio-Glass is cradle-to-cradle silver certified and manufactured in Europe from recycled stemware and wine, water, and beer bottles. Its colors, which include jade, malachite, fossil amber, aquamarine, and white diamond, derive directly from the bottles themselves. Bio-Glass can be used for countertops as well as vertical walls, while Bio-Luminum can be used for walls and other surface treatments.

Eco-Cem is a blend of 80% cement and 20% cellulose fiber. By increasing the fly ash (a byproduct of the coal industry) content in the cement, Eco-Cem panels are lighter in weight and more durable in application. The cement content is 50% post-industry fly ash, while the cellulose fiber is recycled newspaper. Cement production accounts for almost 6% of human-generated carbon emissions, so reducing the amount of cement and increasing the percentage of postindustrial fly ash can make both a stronger material and reduce the carbon footprint.

The exhibition is on display at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City, till the 9th of January 2011.