Prior to the lockdown there was a new design trade show in the pipeline for the London Design Festival in September. But unlike the majority of both established and fledgling shows that focus largely on interior aspects of our built environments during the busy design-laden period, this one was different. As the title suggests, Planted Unearthed promised to bring together leading thinkers of sustainable design and nature and offer visitors the chance to explore how we might reconnect our urban environments with nature.
But if that sounds like the kind of event that you would like to have experienced, fear not, because the shows organisers have worked hard to move it online and launched an exciting new digital forum, with a physical event planned for May next year. As the shows co-founder Deborah Spencer explains:
“While we can’t run a physical event at this time, at a time of global uncertainty, Planted Unearthed will enable us all to improve our lives today while understanding what they could look like tomorrow.”
What’s more, the organisers have taken the time to start the process of addressing how the pandemic itself may affect our economies and consumer habits, with particular emphasis upon the world of design, food, architecture and rewilding. The team includes award-winning former Sunday Times journalist Sam Peters, Stewart Dodd of River Cottage and former Design Insider Live interviewee and Biophilic Design pioneer Oliver Heath, who makes a pertinent point in light of the pandemic:
“If this pandemic has taught us anything it is that we are not the masters of nature. We need to learn the lessons and strive for more sustainable ways of living in the future.”
As such, the online world of Planted Unearthed will explore the ways in which we can reconnect with a more natural lifestyle and create a more sustainable future for the planet. The site is already brimming with news, opinion pieces, interviews and podcasts that explore the effects of urban sprawl, woodland degradation and the impact upon wildlife as well as human-centric topics such as the connections between the natural world and our mental health and well being. Once again, the pandemic and its effect upon our industries, not least the hospitality industry and its employees, is also being taken into account, as River Cottage CEO Stewart Dodd expresses:
“This is a time of seismic upheaval for the hospitality industry. Businesses across the world are looking to adapt and overcome this crisis and come out stronger on the other side. How we do that remains to be seen but we owe it to all our employees, suppliers and customers to ensure we do so.”
Even before the pandemic we faced a collective uphill challenge in greatly and swiftly reducing our impact upon the planet and it’s resources whilst looking out for the wellbeing of its inhabitants. As we look to push forward once again with that challenge, it is vital that we look to do so as a collective, with discussion, shared information and ideas and common goals in mind. So engage, join in and come together – even if that is online for the time being.