Have Your Sustainable Life and Eat It, Too: London Design Duo Makes Waves

Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Entrepreneurship, Green

Designed Good is launching a week-long series on modern design that makes home living more sustainable – with a touch of the unexpected.

In a city they describe as the “European heart of design,” two designers are creating products at the intersection of modern life and utter classic cool. Black+Blum (otherwise known as Martin Black and David Blum) are the creators of the hot pot bbq and the thermo-pot, two products that we think make sustainable living more accessible.

Martin and Dan met while they were studying product design at the same university. Their partnership is a classic story of collaboration: “We did many group products together and quickly worked out that the end designs were always better when we both had an input,” they said.

Now they’ve built their own company together, and their products themselves are the perfect example of what design can accomplish. They think of design as a tool for problem solving. “Life has so many products that we interact with every day, but which are in some minor (or major) way annoying,” they said. “Because the human being is so good at adapting to make bad design work, they are not always easy to identify.”

Black+Blum talks openly about how London influences their work as a melting pot of cultures. The relationship between cultural diversity and enterprise is not only vibrant, but inspirational for these designers who are, in some ways, building a movement through their products. “London is also a creative hub in terms of the number of different businesses in this field that are based here and we are constantly being exposed to all these creative elements,” they said.

Products like the hot pot bbq and thermo-pot demonstrate how good products can reduce waste and make us think more about sustainable food movements and low-carbon-footprint living.

Plus, they show that the Path to Green Citizenship (something we made up) can be lighthearted. The hot-pot bbq is a place to grill your kebab – and grow the herbs to season it, too. It’s a barbecue concealed inside a terracotta pot, with space to grow real herbs on the top. It takes local cooking to a whole other level – by adding herbs literally grown on top of your kitchen appliance – without the maintenance.

“We strongly believe that if an item functions well, then people will enjoy using it and keep it around,” wrote Martin and Dan, the designers behind hot-pot bbq makers Black+Blum.

What if sustainability functioned well? The environmental movement is definitely a movement worth keeping around – but we should also enjoy participating in it.

Katy Gathright

Katy Gathright is the co-founder of Designed Good, a new community that curates the best in design and social good. They hand-select and sell clothing, accessories, gear, gadgets, and artwork and tell the stories of how each product is designed for social good. She graduated from Williams College in 2012 and is most excited about engaging other millennials in the idea of great design for social change.

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