Spring brings bees, and another Creative Breakfast to kick off a sunny Wednesday. This time we were joined by Kate Christman, one of the founders and designers behind wildlife-centred product design whizzes Green&Blue.
Cradling coffee, we heard about Green&Blue’s journey from designers at Dyson to solitary bee champions (the unsung heroes of the bee world, which actually pollinate a third of all our food). Developing the Bee Brick to combat the decline in solitary bee populations has led Kate and her team to collaborate and engage with university labs, the Eden Project, the Soil Association, artists and government bigwigs; a real case of cross-pollination through design.
In true Creative Breakfast tradition, here are just three of the things we’ll be taking away with us, alongside a Bee Brick of our very own:
Kate talked about the joy of giving in to your inner obsessive, and being a mini expert. Becoming solitary bee super-fans gave Green&Blue the drive to create a product that works, by diving into research, working through thousands of prototypes, and seeking out expert collaborations. With a design philosophy where form follows function, we saw that digging deep leads to beautiful outcomes.
Find the right stories to tell
As Green&Blue gear up to launch the Green&Blue Foundation and a solitary bee awareness week (2–8 July 2018), Kate talked about finding the right things to shout about, and remembering to keep the spotlight on the important bits: from sustainable manufacturing practices, to the flighty critters at the heart of the matter.
Working closely with The University of Exeter’s Environment & Sustainability Institute and seeing the ways in which scientists collaborate openly and freely across institutions showed Kate a completely different way of working, away from IP-centred design culture. With a bigger picture at the heart of its conception, working on the Bee Brick means being open to collaboration and communication – whether co-operating with global construction companies, or entertaining politicians… it’s worth it for the sake of the bees!
Thanks so much to Kate bringing a buzz to the office. Keep an eye out for events and announcements surrounding Solitary Bee Week this summer.