Japan Relief: Designs to Inspire
Kelly Cooper has begun writing for the immensely popular and culturally relevent publication Dwell, a favorite here at Pigeonholed. She’s just getting started but has already managed to put some excellent work under her belt. Since Kelly is a friend, we’ve decided to share the work she’s done. Have a read and let us know what you think in the comments below. Be sure to check out Kelly’s work on the Dwell siteat http://www.dwell.com/people/kelly-cooper.html
Japan Relief: Designs to Inspire
By Kelly Cooper
One of the most devastating crises to hit Japan in over 60 years, the March earthquake and tsunami left the country shocked, traumatized and distressed. Though the disaster was horrific, camaraderie among those affected and remote blossomed. Responding through strikingly innovative efforts, bands of designers and architects are channeling their creativity into a tool for relief. And with our September issue focusing on Japanese design, we thought we’d take a peek at who’s helping out. Here, we outline five of our favorite causes.
In times of need, art has proven to be a powerful force. In Rise for Japan’s case, it represents cameraderie—a relationship between two countries. Partnering with Milton Glaser (the hand behind the “I ♥ NY” logo) and Architecture for Humanity, a band of New York-based designers conceptualized an idea for a poster campaign that reflected both collaboration and growth between Japan and the U.S.. Founder and Creative Director Fernando Castro said the designers wanted the poster to be about hope and to represent the relief efforts that are happening in Japan.
“We included the element of trees that have been so symbolic between Japan and the U.S. It’s been a symbol of their friendship,” Castro said. “We gave those ideas to Milton Glaser and he came back with the logo.”
Posters are available for purchase on the Rise for Japan at http://www.riseforjapan.org/. All proceeds benefit Architecture for Humanity’s rebuilding efforts in Japan.
Like Rise for Japan, Ventilate is also raising awareness and funding through graphic design. Founded by Toronto-based designer Michael Brown, Ventilate Japan is a poster campaign that not only aims to garner funds for the Red Cross, but also remind us of the severity of the quake and the consequences of mother nature’s destruction—from ongoing nuclear threats to medical expenses.
With 20 unique designs from independent artists, it’s hard not to help. Check out the posters at http://www.ventilatejapan.ca/.
While some relief efforts stem from creativity, others are rooted in efficiency and quickness—at least that’s where architect Shigeru Ban’s principles lie. For Japan, Shigeru Ban is doing what he does best: build—for a cause, that is. He is a notable regular in building simple structures for relief efforts, such as post-civil-war Rwanda emergency shelters in 1998 and units for the homeless after the Haitian earthquake in 2010. The common denominator? Paper tubes. He uses new and recycled tubes for their ease of assembly, strength, and inexpensive price tag. So far, he’s set up over 1,800 individual partitions for homeless Japanese families all funded by donations.
See his work and donate at his website at http://www.shigerubanarchitects.com/SBA_NEWS/SBA_van.htm.
Another project designed with practicality in mind is the Ex-Container Project, which utilizes ISO shipping container formats to design compact and efficient temporary housing. Redesigning the frames from the actual containers and eliminating the parts unsuitable for housing, the designers at Ex-Container are constructing sturdy and stackable houses, complete with a bathroom, toilet, and living room. And get this: the houses can be converted to permanent houses once the two-year limit of temporary housing is up.
Follow their Twitter for updates on implementation or donate to the project at http://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=ex_container.
Japanese Red Cross Society
Want to donate directly? The Japanese Red Cross Society is accepting donations via PayPal and bank account deposits until September 30, 2011.
Kelly Cooper is a senior Graphic Communications major at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. As an intern at Dwell, she is taking notes about the ins and outs of the magazine industry. When not in the office (she’s on a draining 3-day work week), she can be found discovering her inner foodie around town or playing Ultimate Frisbee in Berkeley. Check out Kelly’s blog at http://digitalfrankenstein.org/