2°C Communicating Climate Change – a gallery


24 October 2015

2°C is an exhibition of 10 proposals for improving the public communication of climate change.

Initiated by Disegno magazine as part of a feature published in its ninth issue, the project invited leading designers from a range of disciplines to consider how climate change might be presented in such a way that a familiar story feels fresh and provides a new impetus to action.

The title is a reference to the forthcoming United Nations climate change conference in Paris. This summit aims to reach international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so that the earth’s temperature does not rise above 2°C, a threshold at which the effects of climate change will become catastrophic.

With a crucial need for greater public understanding of climate change, 2°C examines whether design could play a role in remedying this. Design is frequently described as problem solving, but it is clear that no single discipline will solve climate change on its own.

Instead, this exhibition aims at a more modest target: could design help trigger a shift in the way that we perceive global warming?

Marjan van Aubel
Series of natural imagery, two microscopes with material samples, 2015

Designer Marjan van Aubel’s exhibit is a series of natural materials, rock formations and floods that are seen close up. The final image is of a dye-sensitised solar cell from her 2014 project Current Table, a table with a surface that uses the sun’s energy to charge devices. The sequence reflects on the need for scientists, engineers and designers to share their discoveries, helping new technologies become more widely adopted. Use the microscopes to see the solar cells in detail, as well as one of van Aubel's own material inventions, foam porcelain.

Sam Baron
Glass mobile, candle and plant, 2015

Sam Baron, a conceptual designer and creative director of Fabrica design, created this Miró-like glass mobile as a reflection on climate change. The basic structure is a weather vane, with a candle balanced at one end and a young plant in a beaker of water at the other. It invites us to think about how energy consumption impacts upon the environment, the delicacy and fragility of the mobile suggesting a fundamental imbalance in current conditions.

The mobile was produced by Massimo Lunardon.

Universal Design Studio
Hell’s Kitchen
Cross-sectional model, 2015

Collaborating with Dr. Tara Garnett of the Food Climate Research Network, architects Universal Design Studio focused on the environmental implications of global food production. The model shows four fictional restaurants, each representing a different future scenario for livestock rearing and crop farming, such as genetically-modified cows and the return of an agrarian lifestyle. The aim is to look at common-held beliefs and assumptions surrounding food and its production.

Dominic Wilcox
Global Warming Funtime Island
Printed illustration, 2015

Global Warming Funtime Island, by designer and artist Dominic Wilcox, presents a speculative fairground in which the rides ridicule political and social failings around climate change action. Wit and irreverence are used to highlight the issues facing society as it attempts to redress climate change. While the image seems to sugar the tragic and frightening, making engagement with climate change more accessible, it also has the effect of making these issues more unnerving.

Copies of Wilcox’s artwork are available in a free poster format, which have been kindly provided by Park Communications, winner of Environmental Company of the Year at the PrintWeek 2014 Awards. The posters are printed on 110gsm Amadeus Offset 50, an FSC certified paper.

Ilona Gaynor
Warning Signs
Samsung printer and typographic prints, 2015

Designer and artist Ilona Gaynor presents a home printer that, for the duration of the exhibition, will regularly print out typographic messages that confront us with the visceral impact that climate change will have on the human body and the built environment. For Disegno’s residency, Gaynor designed a campaign that deals in horror and pessimism, rooting the communication of climate change in a bleak reality that she believes is inescapable.

Less is More
Glass-fronted fridge and contents with branding, 2015
An installation of a fridge represents architect Mies van der Rohe’s dictum of “less is more”, as adapted by industrial design practice PearsonLloyd. The studio’s message is designed to promote a better, richer way of life aimed at less acquisition, less waste and less expenditure of energy. By engaging and challenging people to live according to this simple principle, PearsonLloyd believes that we can protect our lives, humanity and life on earth.

Neri & Hu
Collage, 2015

Architecture and design studio Neri & Hu reflects on climate change together with the rapid demolition of sections of its home city Shanghai. The result is a collaged image of a dystopian Shanghai, behind which runs a dense screen of disturbing facts about pollution. Neri & Hu’s image reflects on how the future of our built environment is inalienably linked to the progression of climate change.

Maria Blaisse
Flexible Bamboo Oloid Structure 
Bamboo lattice structure, painted black, 2008

Inspired by naturalist Viktor Schauberger’s book Living Energies, fashion designer and architect Maria Blaisse has thought about how humans might interact more carefully with nature. Blaisse believes that climate change is caused by a fundamental disconnect with the world around us. She presents this model of an oloid structure, a highly flexible form drawn from nature. When worn, its manipulations around the body and capacity for transformation stress the need for an integrated view of humanity and the natural world.

Parsons & Charlesworth
Future Climate Histories
Mock-up of a book, 2015

Future Climate Histories, by design studio Parsons & Charlesworth, is a fictional book that blends scientific fact with stories. Set in the future, it tells of like-minded people who sought to change the course of climate change by establishing new cultural practices and rituals. Seizing the power of storytelling, and the ability of folklore to be passed down through generations, the book shows methods for developing new stories and ways of thinking about climate change, hopefully triggering accompanying shifts in behaviour.