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Climate emergency: towards a sustainable future – POSTPONED

Postponed until further noticePhoto showing a small tree encapsulated in a half-broken 'globe' representing Earth

About this event

We are in a state of climate emergency. The need to take action and reduce our carbon footprint is more urgent and more immediate than ever. We need to work towards sustainability by creating and consuming less; our businesses need to understand the full scope of their environmental impacts; we need to ensure that products make better use of fewer resources.

This event explores how ‘green thinking’ can be applied to wayfinding design and manufacturing processes and the lifecycle of products. The evening’s speakers include Mark Lightfoot from Modulex providing insights into the company’s approach. We will also hear from Adele Orcajada from MaterialDriven about ‘future proofing’ and the types of materials and innovation that can provide the toolkit for better and more environmentally sustainable architecture, urban environments, wayfinding, and smarter products. Nick Hughes from UCL will introduce two important framing concepts, ‘the circular economy’ and resource management hierarchy, for understanding resource efficiency.  Practical examples of how such principles can be implemented will also be explored, including cases involving materials and production, energy efficiency, power and lighting, and ‘ecodesign’ principles to reduce waste and extend life.

A range of materials and projects will be discussed within the presentations to illustrate how architecture and design are making this change.

About our speakers

Nick Hughes is Researcher at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. He has a PhD in energy policy from Imperial College London. His areas of interest are low carbon energy and sustainable resource use, implications for society and policy solutions. He has engaged with topics including renewable energy innovation policy, electricity networks, land use and resource governance, resource efficiency and circular economy policies. He is also interested in longer-term future trajectories of sustainable transitions, considering political as well as social and technological dynamics.

University College London (UCL) was founded in 1826 in Bloomsbury, in the heart of London. From 2005, the Institute has branded itself as UCL (rather than University College London) and has used the strapline “London’s Global University”. It is one of London’s leading multidisciplinary academic institutions, with more than 42,000 students from 150 different countries. In 2002 a planned merger with Imperial was successfully defeated, with the body of Jeremy Bentham (regarded as the inspiration behind the founding of the College) brought back onto public display to defend UCL. Renowned for its academic excellence, 29 Nobel Laureates have been based at UCL, including Rabindranath Tagore (1913 Literature), Otto Hahn (1944 Physics) and Francis Crick (1962 Physiology of Medicine).

Mark Lightfoot is Managing Director of Modulex UK. He is passionate about design, the user experience and building a better urban environment. In 1992 he graduated with a 1st class honours degree from the University of the Arts London. Since then he has worked continuously in design, latterly with more of a focus on business development and sales. Previously based in Malta as a Modulex Group partner, Mark has been involved in notable projects including wayfinding and signage solutions for the Malta Parliament Scheme, Radisson Blu Resort Golden Sands and St James Hospital, as well as branding for Sparkasse Bank Malta plc.

Modulex have been present in the UK market since 1979. The Denmark-based parent company was founded in 1963 by the LEGO Group. Modulex operate as a global network with a presence in more than 300 cities across 45 countries. With a focus on visual communication solutions within the built environment, Modulex provide one-stop project management, supply and installation to clients around the world. Their cross-sector experience, global vision and local reach enable them to handle projects of any size and complexity.

Adele Orcajada is a Partner in MaterialDriven. Adele has been a material researcher, librarian and curator since 2014, having worked for HMKM and The SCIN Gallery, before becoming involved at MaterialDriven, where she continues to explore material innovation with brands and institutions. A Central Saint Martins graduate, Adele has a background as a fashion accessories designer and product developer, sourcing materials and transforming them into products for high street fashion brands as well as fair trade initiatives. She has lectured at fashion and design schools in Spain and the UK, including Accademia del Lusso, Royal College of Arts and Ravensbourne. Adele also regularly contributes to Fashion Revolution’s Open Studio and The Maiyet Collective’s series at Harvey Nichols and The Festival of Making. Her talks are on cutting edge topics such as material innovation, sustainability and circular economy. Her essay on regenerative design will be included in the soon-to-be-published Slow Fashion to Save Minds by Laundry Arts Service.

MaterialDriven is a design agency and materials library launched in 2016 and based in London and Dallas. Their expertise lies in locating and sourcing innovative materials, as well as understanding their applications, and impact across industries. This collection serves as the basis for projects and connections that Adele and her partner Purva Chawla enable between the developers of new materials and those seeking to learn about and apply them. Leveraging their skills as both designers and materials experts, MaterialDriven provide market intelligence, sourcing, design, and the end to end delivery of products and experiences. Their work covers consulting, curation and education. The agency’s clients range from fast-moving consumer goods companies to architectural studios, fashion brands, museums, trade events and universities.

Register for this event

This talk is free for SDS members and £25 for non-members.

If this is your first SDS talk/event, you can request a special ‘taster ticket’ @£10 (payable by invoice or on the door by prior arrangement with the SDS administrator).

To register and confirm your place, please email our administrator Kate at

All tickets include nibbles, soft drinks, beer and wine.

Doors open for networking, nibbles and drink at 6:00pm with the talk starting at 6.30pm.

Please note: This event will be livestreamed and available to SDS members via our SDS Live Facebook account.


The Gallery, Alan Baxter Ltd, 75 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ


19 Mar 2020

Price : £25.00

Already a member? See details above for booking details.