Sustainability is a very important brand value of imondi. We want to use this topic to understand how designers apply the concept and application of sustainability in design. Our colleague Emanuele visited Gensler's designer Michael Green and had a conversation on this topic.
imondi: Your company has done many beautiful projects in China in the pastyears, can you tell us a little more about how Gensler approachessustainability in their projects?
Gensler: Gensler has a global dedicated team doing researches about sustainability andby the cooperation of all the teams around the world we are able to find newsustainable materials to use in our projects and make them more sustainable.
imondi: Where do you take yourinspiration from, are the products you select part of the process?
Gensler: Sometimes we start from a look and feel and then generate a story or we startwith a story and then think about what materials could support that story whiletrying to be as sustainable as possible. So sometimes are the materials inspiring us and sometimes is our own creativity.
imondi: Are you aware of theenvironmental impact of your design? Does it influence your design and materialchoices?
Gensler: Design has a huge impact on the environment, that's why we are actively pushingour clients to be as sustainable as they can, but sometimes is a struggle. Wealso try to convince our client to reuse some of their waste materials in theirproject.
imondi: How do you find materials?
Gensler: Most of the time by looking at our library! XD
Then we check the story of that material considering cost, production process,carbon footprint, installation process and all aspects related tosustainability.
imondi: How hard is to find sustainable material in China?
Gensler: It’s quite hard because most of the supplier don’t have the certifications ordo not want to spend the necessary money to get them. And most of the time evenif we pick a sustainable material the GC would swap it out for somethingcheaper and totally different.
imondi: How often do you use reclaimed or sustainable materials in your project? Is it by client request orby your personal belief and drive?
Gensler: In our projects we always try to use reclaimed or sustainable materials; sometimes is us pushing the clients and sometimes is by client request. Depending on the project, we use different reclaimed materials working on athree steps process: reduce, reuse, recycle.
imondi: Do you have any suggestions for designer or end users who'd want to be more sustainable in their projects?
Gensler: You just got to try! It might sound silly, but you just have to do it. Becauseonce you do one step for the rest of the project you're going to think “Oh, that step was easy, I can do that for everything else!”; so just take one step at a time. It can do a huge difference.
Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with 48 locations and more than 6,000 professionals networked across Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the Americas. Founded in 1965, the firm serves more than 3,500 active clients in virtually every industry. Gensler designers strive to make the places people live, work, and play more inspiring, more resilient, and more impactful.