Tuesday 12 May, 2009

Real Design for Low Income People


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$2.00 LED Light Fixture

Based on many conversations in the developing world I have concluded that poor people don’t want junk.  They don’t want a recycled pop can nailed to their ceilings to be their only source of electric light.  They want things that look good, just like everyone else.  In fact it’s really strange to think of them as “them” or different in some way.  Poor people are people who don’t have much money.

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative has the results of our first project working with Designers and Design Students (we often work with Engineers and Engineering students).  The photos that accompany this post are proof that designers have a lot to offer low income people and that real design doesn’t have to cost a lot, in fact real design may be cheaper than you could imagine.

The photos here are from our Flickr Photostream are of lights designed by:

design lead by gregorysung -  gregory polletta / sung jang with students from the school of the art institute of chicago’s designed objects dept. – Duy Ngo, Will Capellaro, Wonjun Lee, John Kinstler, Gabriel Hargrove.

These folks really put a lot of thought into what a light is, how it functions and how to make something really cool without spending a lot of money.  Moreover they designed the lights so that they can be built in the country where they are going to be used.  Designer Lights = Local Jobs!

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Local Wood LED Light

Note the cool diffuser – it’s a recycled water bottle cap.  Used here it looks great, you would never guess it was recycled.  The translucent bottle cap diffuses the harsh LED light without absorbing too many photons. The light is on a cord so that it can be relocated to different parts of the room.  We could cluster several of these to make a “chandelier” in the center of a room + have long enough cords so that the lights could reach all parts of a single room house.

Designer are very cool.

The possibilities are endless.


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