Vitra’s turn to sustainability

The Oudolf Garden at the Vitra Campus, Weil am Rhein.

I’ve written about Vitra’s turn to sustainability at Metropolis magazine, and the resulting piece looks at the new Oudolf Garden, just opened at the Vitra Campus, and at a more comprehensive set of steps the company is taking to effectively become more sustainable – in their practice and within the organization. Below an excerpt; the full piece is up at Metropolis!

“The attention given to the planning and execution of the Oudolf garden, however, signals a significant change of course. While its planning dates to the pre-pandemic times, the garden was planted in May 2020, when most of the world came to a standstill. In total, 32,000 perennial plants of 114 species were planted in small pots. When the garden was unveiled to the public one year later, they had matured to give way to a dazzling early summer landscape, a complex mix of perennial varieties of varying colors and fragrances. The various colors and textures changed over the course of the following months, and in typical Oudolf fashion, the garden continues to evolve and transform with the seasons. Its maintenance will now become a constant; and the gardening team will be complemented by a few beehives at the edge of the garden, looked after by two company employees that double as trained apiculturists. We might be looking at a future when Vitra honey becomes a reality.”

Driving the Human: Seven Prototypes for Eco-social Renewal

Earlier this year I joined the team of the Driving the Human initiative as the program coordinator. Driving the Human is a catalyst for experimentation, shaping sustainable and collective futures that combine science, technology, and the arts in a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach. Running from 2020-2023, the project is jointly led by four partner institutions – acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, Forecast, the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe – and relies on the expert knowledge and skills of their combined networks.

Throughout 2023, the community of participants, experts, and the larger audience that Driving the Human brings together will explore diverse phenomena such as the social impact of global warming, energy cycles and technology-driven disruptions, the impact of collective decision making, and contemporary processes of exchanging values and objects.

The results of these explorations will be shared and communicated over the project’s three-year duration, and will deploy strategies for action in the form of physical experiences, with a strong individual and collective impact. Ultimately, they will create tools that enable new ways of envisioning and inhabiting the world.

I’m excited to be part of such an ambitious initiative and I invite you to learn more about the project and partners at the Driving the Human website, Instagram and Facebook channels.