Design for a greener planet with Effie Cooke
Landscape Architect, Botanical Watercolour Artist + dear friend of The Daily Bar
For those lucky enough to live in this picturesque part of the world, Byron Bay, there is an innate love and appreciation for our natural environment. This comes with a sense of obligation to make our world a greener, more environmentally sustainable place.
So how do we translate this sense of commitment to the planet into designing our cities and urbanised areas? We sat down with Landscape Architect and Botanical Artist Effie Cooke, to discuss design for a greener planet.
~ How do you see Landscape Architects shaping our world greener?
In a world so changed by human hands, public design has to be driven by the acknowledgment of how vulnerable our environment is to the impacts of climate change and urbanisation. I think it's important to realise that at this point ‘nature’ is what we make it.
As designers of environmental and cultural systems we are in a position where we can bring together related professions and collaboratively respond to ecological and social challenges.
Landscape Architects have the capability to conceptualise and create places that inspire interaction, and cultivate an appreciation for the surrounding natural landscape. The importance of designing these experiences becomes more critical as people become increasingly disconnected with their environment.
"Landscape Architects have the capability to conceptualise and create places that inspire interaction, and cultivate an appreciation for the surrounding natural landscape."
~ What drew you to Landscape Architecture originally?
I was lucky to have a love and fascination for the natural landscape instilled in me by my family and growing up on the coast. I think this along with my love for painting and drawing made me think that studying Landscape Architecture might just be the perfect combination of the two. There have definitely been times where my design practice hasn’t lived up to this ideal but since moving to Byron Bay 18 months ago I think I’m getting closer to finding the balance.~ Do you think your design background influences your art?
I think the two are continually evolving alongside and influencing each other. I am endlessly learning new details about the landscapes around me through my design work, which fuel my love and awe for Australia’s native flora and give me direction in my art practice.
I have definitely noticed developing an attention to detail through design has influenced my botanical artworks, sometimes I find myself being frustratingly particular!
~ Turning a hobby into a business can sometimes take the joy out of said hobby, have you run into this yet? How have you combat it?
For sure, setting up the business end of things to be able to sell my artwork has meant some long tedious hours of website design and sourcing sustainable packaging, which was painful at times. Having deadlines to complete artworks is a sure way of making it feel more like a chore. When art and design starts to feel like its all too consuming I usually turn to my most recent love affair, surfing! There is honestly no better way to start/ finish or break up a working day! Its something I do just for me because it makes me really, really happy.
"When art and design starts to feel like its too all- consuming I usually turn to my most recent love affair, surfing!"
~ Bigger picture, what’s the green dream? What’s a greener planet look like to you?
The green dream, wow! It’s hard to not go off on a long philosophical tangent here, but to have a society that works as a constructive part of nature. A society that is collectively aware that sustainable practice needs to be at the core of everything we do, and has the capacity to achieve it.