Sustainable design: Nature Conservancy launches Design for a Living World

Uttering the phrase “green design” can evoke images of mud-plastered huts and clothes that just scream “itchy”… all bathed in a faint whiff of patchouli. A new project from the Nature Conservancy attempts to banish such sensations, and demonstrate that beauty and function can exist hand-in-hand with sustainability.

Design for a Living World, an exhibition of objects designed from sustainable materials, opened at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York on May 13th. Featuring work from ten renowned designers, including Ted Muehling, Hella Jongerius, and Isaac Mizrahi, the exhibit attempts to illustrate that “designers and consumers can reshape our materials economy and help advance a global conservation ethic by choosing sustainable materials that support, rather than deplete, endangered places.”

Design for a Living World runs through January 4, 2010 at the Cooper-Hewitt.

Image: New York jewelry designer Ted Muehling looks at ivory palm nuts in a carving hut on the Micronesian island of Pohnpei. Credit: Ami Vitale