What Gives You Hope for a Sustainable Future?

Dance Shoes, designed by Company, © Aamu Song & Johan Olin

Jared Green, editor of the blog The Dirt, asked eighty of today’s most innovative architects, urban planners, landscape architects, journalists, artists, and environmental leaders the same question:

What gives you the hope that a sustainable future is possible?

In this excerpt of Jared Green’s book Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World, BIG founder Bjarke Ingels offers one of the eighty ideas.

Car Shoes, designed by Company, © Aamu Song & Johan Olin

A Finnish-Korean firm called Company travels to places with a rich industrial heritage — Belgium, Germany, South Korea, Russia, Finland — and works with the local craftspeople to create new products in a contemporary way while demonstrating the skills of the industrial traditions.

Metal Bag designed by Company, © Aamu Song & Johan Olin

Company designs these incredibly charming products. One is called “Car Shoes,” made in Busan, South Korea. The shoes look like race cars: one shoe has the race car driver Michael Schumacher and the other has the driver Kimi Raikkonen. As you walk, it looks as if they are racing each other.

Another is called the “Winter Tie,” which was created with an old Finnish manufacturer. It’s a hybrid between a scarf and a tie.

Winter Tie, designed by Company, © Aamu Song & Johan Olin

There’s a very nice pair of felt shoes called “Dance Shoes,” also from Finland. They are made for a father. On top of his shoe, there’s a much smaller shoe made for his daughter, a place for her when they are dancing together.

Company collaborated in South Korea with craftspeople to create “Noodle Shoes,” a pair of sneakers whose laces sit on top like noodles, a curly ornament. They are selling quite well. The “Bibimbag,” named after the famous spicy Korean dish, “keeps all your ingredients separate.”

There’s a very nice bag from Bavaria, a region famous for sausages and leather products. Company went into a leather factory and collaborated with the factory workers to create the incredibly feminine and elegant “Metal Bag,” which is made out of the chain mail used in butcher’s gloves.

Rather than apply a universal approach, these products are about taking the time and care to discover local conditions. Company looks at each situation, culture, and climate in a specific way and tries to evolve or invent an approach that gets the maximum amount of impact out of available resources. It’s about creating designs tailored to local cultures.

Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World by Jared Green is available from:

Barnes & Noble
Your local bookshop

Bjarke Ingels is the founding partner of the architecture and urban design firm BIG.

Jared Green writes about cities and design for numerous publications. He is Senior Communications Manager, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and is editor of the organization’s blog The Dirt.

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