Bank of Sustainability
  Developed as part of the course Sustainable Luxury in cooperation with Saint Martins College of Art and Design. London - England.
 

Since the last century, societies around the world have been based on industrial development. Our system relies on constant growth where sustainability as concept has recently been introduced. Sustainability is a topic most people avoid, disregard or just don’t know about. It is a matter of looking after things that have value to us, but it is challenging to put a “value” on and preserve things that nobody has true ownership of, like the environment.

Trough my research I realized that sustainability is an agreement, so I decided to challenge my ideas under a participatory research. It needs from every possible stakeholder to play an important role in this change and do understand that sustainability needs everybody's commitment.

I started by defining my design brief: Encourage conversations, provoke thinking and raise curiosity to create alternatives together.

 

1. Give "value" to sustainability
I believe that people look after things that have value to them. Value can be monetary or have different meanings, furthermore things without value do not look important to majority of people. Sustainability is the case, it does apparently not have value as nobody owns it.
During my process I found the way of encouraging people to add some value to it. I created the "Bank of Sustainability". As well as banknotes that according to the dictionary are negotiable instruments, they are promissory notes made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand.
My purpose was to offer people a platform. They would have an established base to provoke their thoughts.

 

2. Challenge people thoughts
Normally in every banknote there are graphics and icons that represent the culture and history of its own country. We could say that the "best" of the country and "most representative" is shown on the currency.
I then asked people from different backgrounds, culture, age, religion and nationality about their own interpretation of sustainability. Their task was to draw their own meaning of sustainability on these banknotes. I generated an exchange of knowledge.

 

3. Discussions – people learned from each other
Some answers: "I just didn't know what to draw, during lunch I asked my colleagues about it.", "I didn't know, I gave it to my friend and this corresponds to both of us". I provoked discussions and at least for a while people asked themselves and each other about sustainability. I achieved conversations and happily raised curiosity.

 

4. Implementation
Donation Box is the implementation of the Bank of Sustainability in an open space. Johan S galleria in Helsinki, Finland is the place and New Luxury the exhibition, which from 9th to 27th of May is hosting the donation box and encouraging people to participate. Donation Box aims to foster people to donate new interpretations of sustainability. Furthermore I want to exhibit the concept in an easy and clear way that can explain itself.

 

Participation is easy and up for any audience, there are three simple steps that any person can follow. 1st Sustainability, what does it mean to you?, 2nd Draw on the banknote your own interpretation of sustainability and 3rd Donate your banknote to the bank! Sustainability needs everybody’s commitment and your contribution will help in this big change.

 

4. Conclusions
We realized that sustainability needs everybody's commitment and would be naively tackled from just one point of view. Now we need to find how to connect the right stakeholders through design tools. I strongly believe that sustainability is about sharing and at least communicating this knowledge with others. It facilitates channels for engaging people into sustainability, activate them and provoke their thinking.
This exercise is just the first step. It has opened up a new world to explore and hopefully will reach a lot of people.

© 2014 Daniel Morales Lopez