art + design + style + ideas + junk

Designs for living: he’s the real Ng

In exhibition, graphic design on 11 June 2009 at 3:10 am


There’s a ton of talent on show in this year’s Design Now!, the annual touring exhibition of graduate student designers in six categories: design for the body, the home, the built environment, communication, studio production and industry.

Catching Kollektor’s eye was a set of booklets by Eric Ng, a visual communications graduate from the University of Technology, Sydney.

The seven booklets are based on ideas from “A Sustainable Everyday” by Ezio Manzini, a pioneer of the “slow design” movement and professor of industrial design at Milan Polytechnic. (A slideshow of Manzini’s presentation is below.)

Manzini encourages designers to play a role in creating a sustainable future by rethinking our distorted relationship with the environment at the macro level.


Ng’s work, called Scenarios of a Sustainable Future, rises to Manzini’s challenge. He takes aspects of everyday life like getting up, dressing and eating, and illustrates how they could increase our well-being if we shake off our materialism.

Ng says, “The ideas of industrial ecology and rethinking ideas of ‘product = well-being’ are big ideas, which in turn changes our everyday life. This is quite important since it’s a change from our present view of sustainability, were we believe turning off lights can save the planet.”

His graphic style is minimal and elegant, with the futuristic appeal of international signage we learned to understand after Otl Aicher’s cool, geometric pictograms for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

The pages in Ng’s booklets are divided horizontally, so his “stories” can be read in many different ways. He offers the images but it is up to the reader to bring the narrative together as they want and as it makes sense in their own life.

It’s an almost entirely visual demonstration of Manzini’s ideas executed with storybook simplicity and clarity and with deceptive ease – an amazing achievement.

Design Now! is at Object Gallery in Sydney until 21 June, and Melbourne Museum from 14 August to 22 November.

You can see Eric Ng’s portfolio and other work at

Photos courtesy the artist and Object Gallery.

This is a slideshow presentation of ideas in Ezio Manzini’s “A Sustainable Everyday”. 


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