╳ Less Is More

“Designers are best suited to methods of making that apply to specific and localised contexts. I believe design is about exploring the social and natural opportunities around us, taking advantage of every situation by connecting human activities with environmental principles”.
Ariane Prin

The work of young French designer Ariane Prin covers a number of disciplines: product design, graphic design and art installations. It also ranges from practical improvements and everyday solutions to more abstract concepts. Believing that a piece of design is always ‘richer’ when paired with something outside the design world, Ms Prin has, in her short design career, taken advantage of the opportunity to work with Japanese craftsmen, bakers, hairdressers, acrobats, biologists and is currently working with engineers in environmental technology from the Imperial College of London.

The ‘From Here For Here’ project, featured in our article, encompasses two main issues: firstly the creation of useful products specific to a site from the waste generated there; and secondly the legitimacy of creating new objects by retaining the enjoyment of ‘making’ without the guilt. Believing that designers should be aware of product ‘life-cycle’ from resources, to fabrication, the energy used, the financial and social aspects, the distribution, the end-life and the locality, or in other words ‘Cradle to Cradle’ principles, Ariane Prin has factored in all these criteria throughout her design process to re-create the most humble of design tools: the pencil.

Noting in her thesis that the RCA includes 22 departments, all of them having different types of waste, there was therefore much opportunity to glean potential from that waste, and when combined, re-introduce to daily life a useful object that reflects the identity of the place involved. Accordingly, in this case, the pencil acts as an emblem for an art school.

Imagining a system, based on useful products Ms Prin chose the Royal College of Art as the location to demonstrate her beliefs. Using on-site waste as the raw material for the production of pencils, for a local pencil factory, to supply drawing tools to present and future students, the art school’s waste (from various departments) was not discarded, but rather recycled into something useful, hence doing ‘more’ with ‘less’.

This really is a clever project, and one which demonstrates self-reliant production that can engender an on-site mini economy.

To learn more about Ariane Prin's work follow this link.

╳  Images (top to bottom)

Beautiful pencils manufactured from 'waste' materials

Pencil 'Co-extruder'

Wood dust from the Wood Workshop

Graphite from the Glass Department