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LSA Design Think Tank – Emerging Tools

Tool-Environment Cycle Diagram
Tool-Environment Cycle Diagram

Emerging Tools present how new technologies allow for greater ‘entanglement’ that enables new creative clusters for living and working.

London is dying.

It is not that London lacks vibrancy, or that people are leaving, but rather that its energy is misguided. The city’s illness is homogeneity, where capitalism is being favoured at the cost of London’s diverse, innovative and energetic character.

London is worth saving.

We believe that through design we can create spaces which encourage innovation and maintain diversity by fostering entanglement (where single elements thrive as a collective).

Linear to loop.

We believe that linear trajectories lead to uninspiring, homogeneous situations – socially, spatially, politically and resourcefully. Design can help shift from the linear to the close looped.

For design rigour, we needed lenses through which to frame our approaches: Policy, Infrastructure, Education.

LSA Tools
LSA Tools

We chose Cambridge Heath Road as the area to test our proposals. It is a place full of tensions; at the intersection of Tower Hamlets and Hackney there is confusing and often restrictive policies and a muddled sense of identity. There is also tension between the old light manufacture and repair industries such as iron-casting and taxi servicing and a new maker culture of fabrication laboratories and digital technology companies. 

We selected five sites in Cambridge Heath Road which we felt had potential. Re-apprenticeship network focused on underutilised spaces and a reciprocal educational models that benefits struggling industries and technologically fluent apprentices; Railway Housing acknowledges that development brings necessary capital into councils, but proposes an alternative to shift the pressure from the spaces that add to heterogeneity; Make Waste, addresses the huge amount of waste we produce by proposing de-centralised, small scale plastic recycling creating a resource for the local maker industries. The Metal Foundry re-designs the toxic process of iron sand-casting, by using algae which is an emerging bio-adhesive to replace the toxic formaldehyde binding agent. Data Pool, proposes a future method of rapid, constant evolving policy controlled by algorithms which read the day to day movements and emotions of society, creating policy which is unbiased, relevant and in a state of constant flux.

Make Waste View
Make Waste View

Ultimately, we believe that in saving and evolving the diversity of London through the means of policy, infrastructure and education, we will live in a truly democratic environment that perpetuates innovation.

Emerging Tools Led by Dave Lomax from Waugh Thistleton and George Wade from aLL Design, Emerging Tools explores designing, building and making in the 21st century. Its practice members are aLL Design, C.F. Moller, Farrells, Nex, Tate Harmer and Waugh Thistleton; and its student members are Nathaniel Amissah, Alexander Frehse, Daniel Lee, Timm-Laurens Lindstedt, Andrea Nolan and Roel Schiffers.