A day for reflection & dreaming & coming together in peace.
From all of us at Wert&Co., wishing you a festive holiday season.
In following our tradition of donating to a deserving cause at year’s end, we are contributing to UNICEF. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work, and other efforts in support of the world’s children, through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization.
The Great Wall of China will have some competition when Africa’s Great Green Wall project comes to fruition. Once completed it will be the largest man-made structure on Earth and a new Wonder of the World. The project, backed by more than 20 African nations, received funding this week by world leaders and heads of international agencies at COP21–with $4 billion pledged over the next five years. The Wall aims to restore land and plant a 8,000km line of plants and trees across the entire African continent with the goal of providing food, jobs and a future for the millions of people who live in a region on the frontline of climate change.
A virtual reality film–Growing a World Wonder–by Venturethree (who recently branded the project) producer Al Maxwell and VR specialists Apache has recently launched, telling the story of a young Senegalese girl and her family who have been given hope by the prospect of this Great Green Wall.
At Wert&Co., we had the honor of hosting an evening event in support of the non-profit Kids4Peace at our Duane Street office. “Kids4Peace is a grassroots interfaith youth movement dedicated to ending conflict and inspiring hope in Jerusalem and other divided societies around the world.” In addition to discussion about the organization’s plans for growth, we also heard from Yousef Bashir who shared his personal journey from Gaza to his recent graduation from Brandeis University (Masters Conflict and Coexistence). Thanks to all those who attended, and see the Kids4Peace website to participate in a $50,000 Challenge Grant (Donation), made even more timely by recent, sobering, world events.
Now in it’s fourth year, the Cooper Hewitt’s Design in the Classroom program, has kicked off a new initiative and fundraising drive. The program, which puts design thinking and learning into classes K-12 thru workshops, started in NYC and five other cities. Now the program is set to be introduced nationwide. With four regional trainings, the hope is to have the impact grow exponentially. Kids use common materials to build a prototype that solves a design problem and learn that design thinking can be used to solve problems faced in daily life. Utilizing critical thinking, visual literacy, teamwork and problem solving this early introduction to the power of design is one we can all support.
Launched May 1st – with 145 countries participating, 184 days of events, and over 20 million visitors expected – Expo Milano explores the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” The New York Times recently examined the feast of architectural styles at the worlds fair, which, James Biber architect of the American Pavilion described as an “identity parade.” His design, “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the People” includes a vertical farm – a 7,200 square-foot crop wall growing 42 varieties of vegetables, grains and herbs – and a boardwalk from repurposed Coney Island wood.
Wert&Co.’s founders recently travelled to the state of Chiapas Mexico, spending time in the deeply beautiful Mayan culture. Known for it’s colorful and intricate clothing and textile design, there was much visual delight — but on a deeper level it was also rich in learnings about the complexity within societies. For more imagery follow Judy’s instagram.
Evidence is piling up on the power of time off, not simply to disengage from our plugged in 24/7 lifestyle, but as a way to unleash creative thinking. In a radical fashion, designer Stefan Sagmeister takes an extended sabbatical every seven years which he discussed in a popular TED talk about his motivations and the ideas that flow back into his work as a result.
108 eighth-grade students at REALM Charter School in Berkeley, CA took charge of their own library and designed X-Space. The activity was part of the school’s Studio H initiative, an in-school curriculum that encourages students to build socially-engaged projects. Yearning for a place to study, relax, and learn, the students conceived X-Space as a warm and welcoming place for discovering “X.” The library has specially designed X-shaped stackable “STAX” that were made with plywood and CNC technology. To help fund books, construction materials, lighting, fixtures and technology donate to Studio H’s Kickstarter until March 27.
Image via Project H