In July 2012 the Interface carpet tile factory in New South Wales was destroyed by fire. Interface is known internationally as one of the success stories of applying ecological thinking to the manufacturing process. Famously, after reading Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce, Interface president and founder Ray Anderson remade his business. He made changes to each component of the manufacturing process, from dyes to binding agents to fibres, seeking to make the business non-polluting and self-sustaining. They have committed to eliminate all negative effects of their business on the environment by 2020. Perhaps the most visible aspect of this is that the back of each Interface carpet tile is imprinted with a phone number for recycling and replacement.
In this studio, we will propose possibilities for a new factory and associated offices for Interface southwest of Sydney in Minto, New South Wales. Interface will be represented at select studio activities of the studio, and will provide opportunities for consultation.
We will explore issues of ecology vis-à-vis health and well-being in the workplace, through the principles of Edward O. Wilson’s biophilia, Janine Benyus’s biomimicry and Frederick Kiesler’s biotechnique. We will explore issues of environmental phenomena, bodily sensation, and the role buildings might play in responding to both. To what extent are buildings bodies? To what extent are they living? How can biology play a role in determining how we build in the future?
Key to this consideration of building performance and well-being will be a probing of building components. Could windows clean the air? Could walls connect us to the outdoors? Could a ceiling emit scents? Could a courtyard amplify sounds? Could a factory be a garden? Will we be building with information-infused soffits and electricity- channeling atria? Will we be designing pollution- absorbing roofs and humidifying columns?
We will do this within the context of questions concerning the future of manufacturing in Australia, and its unique challenges and opportunities.
A studio with: Dr John Stanislav Sadar + Interface + guests