When reviewing design on a daily basis it's very easy to get tunnel vision. We may focus on "want" rather than "need." We may confuse "pretty" with "necessary." Thanksgiving is a holiday of reflection – let's take a look at how some designers are using their skills to help those in need.
Project H Design, founded by Emily Pilloton in 2008, was result of Ms. Pilloton's disillusionment and frustration with the business of architecture and design. Tired of using her skills to design inconsequential items such as nailhead trim, Ms. Pilloton decided to focus on how she could partner her valuable skills with projects that would empower communities and individuals.
Project H Design is a non-profit agency focusing on the potential for design to improve human life. Over 300 designers worldwide are divided into nine chapters working on multiple projects. The first chapter was San Francisco and was established as a type of volunteer design firm, not just a social networking club. Designers are fully engaged in working on projects that offer viable design solutions to problems affecting the disenfranchised. One such design is the Learning Landscape (see photo image above). The Learning Landscape is a grid-based playground structure designed to teach math at the elementary level. The grid utilizes the body through movement and the mind through competition - making math fun for kids. This system can be used in any country (math being a universal language) and can be adapted to various skill levels. A full scope of their current and past projects can be seen on their website.
This Spring Project H Design will embark on the Design Revolution Road Show, a traveling pop-up exhibition that will visit 16 design schools across the United States. There are also future plans for Studio H, a design/build program in a rural North Carolina public high school.
If you are a designer, or even interested in getting involved in Project H Design, visit their website to learn more about their organization .
Project H Book: Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People
Image: (c) Project H Design