RHIZOME IS india's first MULTIDISCIPLINARY SUSTAINABILITY DESIGN studio WORKING AT THE INTERSECTION OF CRAFT, DESIGN AND SUSTAINABILITY
Rhizome was founded in 2009 by Dr. Rebecca Reubens to look at sustainability from a more holistic and developing country perspective. Rhizome believes that design can simultaneously be commercially-viable and positively impact sustainability.
Sustainability is a compound picture made up of lots of beautifully complex, wicked and non-negotiable pieces which our designs work to integrate. We look beyond single individual factors—such as the user, the market and production lines—to an integrated design brief.
Our designs are developed in collaboratively with a cross section of actors,including communities. This helps us look at all the pieces of the sustainability jig-saw—economic, social, cultural, and ecological—to design sustainable products with underpinning production to consumption systems.
About Rebecca Reubens...
Dr. Rebecca Reubens trained formally as an industrial designer at the National Institute of Design in India. She now works at the intersection of design, craft and sustainability. A large part of her work has been in the development sector, where she has worked with multi-governmental institutions, governments, NGOs, SMEs and communities in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Bamboo and rattan are her core areas of expertise. She stayed with the subject for seven years, while coordinating the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan’s Global Marketing Initiative forAsia, Africa and Latin America.
Her PhD at the Delft University of Technology, focused on the links between sustainability, design, craft and development. She continues to be linked to academia through visiting-faculty assignments at design schools in India, including NID, CEPT and IICD.
Her passion is working hands-on with SMEs to collaboratively create products that contemporize tradition.
Rebecca Reubens is the author of the book, Bamboo: From Green Design to Sustainable Design. She is a world bamboo ambassador for the World Bamboo Organization.
Click here to view Rebecca Reubens’ LinkedIn profile.
The studio's name comes from the botanical term for the underground plant stems of plants like bamboo. In plants, each rhizome sends down roots or sends up shoots, and links itself to other rhizomes. This metaphor resonates with what design needs to be-a growing network, flexible enough to be anchored, to leap into the future, or to do both simultaneously.
Deleuze and Guattari describe the principles of a rhizome best in A Thousand Plateaus:
Principles of connection and heterogeneity: Any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be.
Principles of multiplicity: It is only when the multiple is effectively treated as substantive 'multiplicity' that it ceases to have any relation to the One.
Principles of asignifying rupture: A rhizome may be broken, but it will start up again on one of its own lines, or on a new line.
Principles of cartography and decalcomania: A rhizome is not amenable to any structural or generative model it is a 'map and not a tracing'.
We strive to imbibe the properties of a rhizome and design products and systems that are socially, culturally, ecologically and economically interlinked and yet independent; that are sustainable both as elements, and as part of a larger system.