Tuesday afternoon at Design Miami/, Whitewall and Lexus held the first two panels in a series of conversations, continuing an ongoing partnership of discussions surrounding art, design, and culture entitled “Lexus Art Series: Art & Innovation Talks by Whitewall.” The discussions inaugurated the new Talks Theater space at the fair, designed in an open setting with wooden platforms and cushion blocks for seating and staging.
At 4:30 p.m., the series kicked off with “Sustainability: The Interdisciplinary Challenge,” by Waris Ahlwalia, Founder of House of Waris and Ambassador of Elephant Family; Magdalena Sartori, Chief Creative Officer of The Assemblage; and Paloma Teppa, Founder of Plant The Future. The topic was sustainability challenges, predictions, and preparations for a better future, and how rethinking our relationship to the environment and its longevity could change the existence of humanity. Participants shared how sustainability became a primary concern in their personal and professional lives, and how they are addressing its impact on the environment.
“Sustainability became important for me as part of a much bigger process of spiritual awakening,” said Sartori. “As I went through my own journey of understanding that I was never going to be fulfilled—externally being told that happiness comes from materials, and the gathering of material wealth—I realized that we’re looking for something deeper. Through that, I reconnected to the planet as a whole and to all the other species.”
The group also addressed their concerns about climate change and how it can be addressed. “My concern for sustainability is always present, and creativity followed that,” said Ahlwalia. “The creative practice, and the many different fields I’ve fallen into—I act, I design, I write, I build, I make—have been slowly, more and more each year, focused in looking through that lens; that ethos of sustainability and what that means today. It’s interdisciplinary, but it’s also about the intersectionality of it.”
The speakers pointed out that to make real change, every person and industry must make daily choices about how they spend their time, money, and energy, and what they eat, do, and feel.
“I understand that things do not fulfill feelings,” said Teppa. “So, sustainability is a procreation of my own body. It’s so apart of myself—plants, the planet, animals. How can we not be sustainable? How can it be possible to think as a designer to do things for people that are not biodegradable? They can interact the same way we need to fulfill our soul. Sustainability is something we need to be very aware[of]; to understand that it’s part of our DNA.”