Common Ground with Milo McLoughlin–Greening

I am a designer and maker who is interested in developing vernacular design methodologies to create social bonds within communities. I believe that focusing on socially engaged grass roots projects is the key to unlocking the system change needed for a more sustainable way of living.

Within this framework I am excited by experimenting with decentralised manufacturing processes, both traditional and digital.

Above all I care about ensuring that design is a fun and enjoyable part of life.

Designer. Maker. Researcher – Milo McLoughlin–Greening

Milton Keynes Arts Centre is pleased to announce our forthcoming collaboration, and third instalment of Common Ground 2018 with recent Royal College of Art MA graduate and emerging designer Milo McLoughlin–Greening. Milo is currently carrying out site research in Milton Keynes, before meeting with our local communities to design and deliver a three month programme of workshops, professional development sessions, family workshops, evening salons and supper clubs across October to December 2018.

We were first introduced to Milo by our recent Headland collaborator and friend Youngsook Choi of RARA collective, whom has been following Milo's work, specifically Collecting Commonswhich has become the starting point for our work with Milo. 

Collecting Commons focuses on how the design of a physical object can be used as a way to develop social bonds within a community. Based in Clapton (North East London, UK) the project proposesed a new role for the designer, as a community collaborator. A process was developed for the collection of materials through door-to-door conversations and an invitation to local residents to engage with others in their neighbourhood.

The collected material was paired with local making processes through the production of a backyard furnace for sand casting and the use of a local making co-op to construct a table that has played a central role in local events. 

Contributors were invited to become participants. All guests were equal and were gathered around an object which they have contributed towards. These meetings were enjoyable forums for conversation and have become springboards for community development in the Clapton area.

The Collecting Commons project sits within in a new framework for design, borrowing from Social Design and Vernacular Architecture methodologies to explore an area coined Socio-Vernacular Design. 

Social design is a discipline which is growing in strength, as we question the role of the designer in today’s society and look for ways in which design can be used as a tool to bring about social change. This project looks to Ezio Manzini’s ideas about how the role of trained designer becomes that of a connector and facilitator within communities. Vernacular Architecture is a style which has roots in traditional craft utilizing available materials to cater for local needs, this is something that is gaining a contemporary resurgence as our ideas about the value of resources change. This project is an exercise in this new Socio-vernacular framework, focusing on both local material use and social development.