Lani Willow Campbell (she/her)
Interior and spatial designer whose practice draws from interests in compact modular living and sustainability; the mass waste created in daily life and the subsequent need for action concerning climate change. Her current work explores solutions to this within the circular economy – primarily how to communicate the importance of engaging the community through designing bridging concepts including bio-design residencies and maker spaces.
The impact material choices can have on the future is undoubtedly significant. Integrating both design and ecology into one practice creates immense potential for change; design has the capacity to alter the world as we know it, and a new breed of designers are reimagining traditional processes and creating new ones with sustainability and social welfare at their centre. My concept, Phyto, is a multi-generational platform from which to stimulate the mind about our place as human beings within the context of the natural world, a place to consider our position and, ultimately, our responsibility globally. Phyto offers a space to come and learn about the alternative uses of plant waste and how we can benefit from these products in our day-to-day life; how the impact of using them, rather than wasting them, can affect the future of the planet. Phyto explores the role of designers and how they affect lifestyles, with a primary focus on plant waste and sustainability.
The site, Bellgrove Cattle Market, was originally a space for trading, sorting, and packaging meat. Initially, the cattle trade was quite a sustainable practice; the animal was butchered for meat from nose to tail and then placed in minimal packaging. The waste created was then recycled into other objects such as leather and broth. The abattoir was abandoned as new linear farming, and slaughter processes came into practice moving away from the original less wasteful model. I intend to recreate a cyclical ethos focusing on the needs of today. My concept splits the site into six zones, the garden, eatery, design residence, maker space, exhibition space and retail store. The movement through the spaces reflects the circularity of waste, each area leading to the next in physical terms, following the evolution of the waste by-products in the process.
The central garden is the starting and endpoint of the circularity concept. Its purpose is to showcase edible and non-edible plants that produce food and raw materials, creating the critical by-product waste. The centric tubular trellis is a natural reception designed to provide a place for tranquillity when first arriving at the centre. Sheltered corridors neatly intersect, leading to further points of discovery. This open green space contains a mix of indigenous and climate-appropriate flora and fauna to be viewed from ground level and elevated pathways, offering a controlled flow through the area with different focus/learning points en route culminating at a suspended viewpoint across the vista.
The eatery is a space to convene to socialise and eat locally sourced plant-based food and drinks. Somewhere to connect with fiends and family and meet other curious minds in a warm and welcoming atlosphere. Running as a six-month kitchen residency will allow a fresh team of innovators to showcase their waste based menus and create another form of revenue, simultaneously creating employment opportunities for the local community and the design residents. The eatery will offer a tangible way to experience products produced in the centre’s circular system.
The residency programmes will support artists and designers as they focus on a single creative project. It is a full-time, structured programme that provides residents with a space, innovative tools, and access to leaders in the fields of waste, sustainability, and design. The design residencies will explore particular bio-materials development, waste/sustainability research, community projects, etc. The spaces will enable concentration and experimentation while also being open to the public to peek in from a distance.
Each resident is given a modular pod made of waste-based sustainable building materials, containing a workspace on the ground floor and a residential studio on the upper floor. The pods are designed as private retreats with individual courtyards, allowing a place for contemplation and innovation in solace. This is a place to quietly develop ideas alone, in contrast to the industrial-scale communal workshop studios where conversation and critique are welcomed.
The carriage provides a multi-functional meeting room in motion. Set on tracks reflecting the past of the building and the functioning train line below ground, this space can move from inside the residency to an outdoor platform in the external surrounding land. Its design is significant because it reflects the historical method in which goods entered and left the building. Seen as a light moving part placed in a heavy structure, its transience helps to convey the fact that there are no fixed boundaries to the space, further conveying the theme of modularity circularity.
The maker spaces are zones for people of all ages to learn how various forms of waste can be recycled with a focus on communal learning and education through experience. The indoor spaces comprise of kids and adults areas with sinks, stoves and work surfaces for hands on participation. They allow visitors to be involved in activities such as cooking with food waste, minimal waste cooking, using food waste to grow your vegetables/fruit, and waste-based dye sessions. Serving as research laboratories and areas for open discussion with experts, the maker spaces are also available for design residents to hold practical workshops related to their ongoing projects.
The exhibition building is a permanent blank space that can house events and video-based showings as well as seminars. It is a neutral large open space for outside creatives and the design residents to come and showcase their work. Below this area is an exterior show space surrounded by garden plants and adjoined to the retail store.
The retail space is a well-curated, design-led, affordable store that promotes the circular economy at home. It contains books, homeware, toys, seeds, and merchandise suitable for all ages, promoting information related to minimising waste. The store is also a place for the design residents to promote and sell their goods. With the spirit of a gallery of information, it is there to encourage visitors to take some of the ideas and concepts of Phyto home.