As a young designer, Emily Pilloton was frustrated by the design world’s scarcity of meaningful work. Even environmentally conscious design was not enough. “At graduate school, people were starting to talk more about sustainability, but I felt it lacked a human factor,” she said. “Can we really call $5,000 bamboo coffee tables sustainable?” Convinced of the power of teaching design to change the world, at age 26 Pilloton founded Project H to help develop effective design solutions for people who need it most.
Her book Design Revolution features products like the Hippo Water Roller, a rolling barrel with handle that eases water transport; AdSpecs, adjustable liquid-filled eyeglasses; and Learning Landscapes, low-cost playgrounds that mesh math skills and physical activity.
In February 2009, Pilloton and her Project H partner Matthew Miller began working in Bertie County, North Carolina, the poorest and most rural county in the state, to develop and start teaching design-build curriculum for high-school kids, called Studio H. In August 2010 they began teaching their first class of 13 students.
Earlier this year, Pilloton and Miller released the movie, If You Build It, that chronicles their trip to Bertie County to start teaching design to the kids. Check out the TED Talk below and then follow Emily and Project H Design on Twitter – https://twitter.com/ProjectHDesign
All images copyright Project H Design.