– If you have 17 minutes check this talk on design by to Philippe Starck:

– If you haven’t got  much time watch it from minute 11:50

– If you don’t have more than a couple of minutes, here is part of what he said:

“Usually, in life I think my job is absolutely useless. I mean, I feel useless…

If we look from far, we see our line of evolution. This line of evolution is clearly positive. From far this line looks very smooth. But if you take a lens this line is  /////// like that. It’s made of light and shadow. We can say light is civilization, shadow is barbarian. And it’s very important to know where we are…

When barbarian is back, forget the beautiful chairs,  forget the beautiful hotel, forget design, even (I’m sorry to say) forget art. Forget all that. There is priority, there is urgency…

That’s why today I’m so ashamed to make this job. That’s why I’m here to try to do it the best possible. But I know that even I do it the best possible… it’s nothing. Because it’s no the right time…”

What are we going to do?

At the beginning of November heavy rains left nearly 200 dead, dozens of people missing and about 14,000 refugees in El Salvador. As usual, the rural and poorest areas were the most affected. It’s estimated that at least 2,000 houses, 25 health centers and 37 bridges were damaged. The government thinks that the damage to the national infrastructure could reach US$1,000 millions.

The areas affected produce at least 40% of the basic crops.

I’m Salvadoran, graphic designer by profession and don’t think this is the moment to forget about design. Nor the one to continue with our daily lives as if nothing happened.

A lot of people lost everything in El Salvador early this month, they need immediate help and will need help to re-build their homes. I think this is an opportunity to do something that will make a difference in the long run. It could be through a design competition, multi-disciplinary collaborations, events to raise funds, etc. Whatever works.

El Salvador, although small, can’t carry on behaving like if it’s got nothing to do with global warming. Why not develop a prototype of a self-sufficient and environmentally friendly house to rebuilt so many towns and provinces that were damaged?

Alternative construction methods are already been used in the region, from  recycled containers and tyre houses (earthships) to earth bags used as bricks:

House made of recycled containers in Costa Rica:

Tyre houses built in Nicaragua and  Guatemala:

The flow kitchen uses the water dripping after washing the dishes to water herbs, has a compost unit and a clay cooling fridge unit:

A solar kitchen (also known as Kyoto Box) will work in El Salvador most of the year:

If you want to help us make a difference please contact us at hi@designedbygoodpeople.com. You might want to share some knowledge, an idea or point us to useful sources, all is welcome.

Flood resources:

Video by Spanish embassy in El Salvador (in Spanish)

Article on Local newspaper (in Spanish)

Article on the CNN website (in English)

Article on the BBC website (in English)

Eyewitness accounts on the BBC website (in English)