Ramia Mazé (ed) (2013) SWITCH! Design and everyday energy ecologies. Stockholm: Interactive Institute Swedish ICT. ISBN (Print) 9789198092400 ISBN (E-book): 9789198092417



"There is no single answer to the question of how people should live nor any silver bullet to solve current ecological problems – and yet, we must seek new ways to think and act in light of emerging environmental challenges. Given the power of design to influence consumer and societal values, its role must be questioned and renewed in relation to current problematics of mass-production and (over)consumption. Switch! develops design artifacts and methods to influence perceptions and values around energy use in everyday life. Within the collaborative design research program, a conceptual and practical inquiry focused on critical interventions into sustainable design discourse." (back cover text)

Evading design genres of greenwashing and eco-horror, future utopias and dystopias, the authors of this book attempt to raise more fundamental questions. We ask, for example, how does design mediate people’s access to nature and control over resources? What kinds of futures – or who’s – do we assume, desire and determine by design? How are environmental experiences, risks and values made visible in everyday life? These questions were explored in a series of collaborative and experimental design processes carried out since 2008 by an international team of designers, artists, architects, computer and social scientists at the Interactive Institute in Sweden. Collectively authored, the book is a highly visual and reflective presentation of these processes.

SWITCH! Design and everyday energy ecologies is edited by Ramia Mazé, with contributors Martin Avila, Jenny Bergström, Loove Broms, John Carpenter, Brendon Clark, Karin Ehrnberger, Alberto Frigo, Aude Messager, Johan Redström, Thomas Thwaites, Anna Vallgårda, Başar Önal, maoworks (Tobi Schneidler, Tom Ballhatchet and Solon Sasson), Olivia Jeczmyk and Bildinstitutet. Published by the Interactive Institute, the book is designed by Martin Frostner and Lisa Olausson at Medium.

The book is published and distributed in a sustainable way. A limited print-run of the book is available through Antenne Books and Amazon.com, and an electronic version is widely available.

Table of contents

Ramia Mazé, Aude Messager, Thomas Thwaites, and Başar Önal, 'Energy Futures’, 6-44. Energy Futures draws on futures studies to develop critical designs for transitioning sub/urban cultures to far-future scenarios, staged as a participatory event with experts and decision-makers

Martin Avila, John Carpenter, and Ramia Mazé, ‘3Ecologies’, 45-80. 3Ecologies develops interactive visualizations of the ecological complexity of product lifecycles — and makes tangible the futures produced by choices made design and consumption.

Tobi Schneidler, Tom Ballhatchet, Solon Sasson, and Ramia Mazé, ‘Green Memes’, 81-100. As an interface for sharing and learning about energy consumption, Green Memes turns the ‘hard data’ from smart grids into ‘soft power’ within social networks and local sites.

Jenny Bergström, Brendon Clark, Alberto Frigo, Ramia Mazé, Johan Redström, and Anna Vallgårda, ‘Telltale’, 101-132. Accompanying transitions in energy consumption within families, Telltale is a piece of furniture that collects traces of energy (mis)use through surface and structural (de)formation.

Loove Broms, Karin Ehrnberger, and Ramia Mazé, ‘Ab|Norm’, 133-158. In a series of design sketches used as props in participatory workshops, Ab|Norm queries norms of energy design and use in the public realm.

Jenny Bergström, Ramia Mazé, Johan Redström, Anna Vallgårda, Olivia Jeczmyk, and Bildinstitutet. ‘Symbiots’, 159-200. Symbiots speculates on competition for limited resources, portraying an alternative natural order in localities through fine art photography and discussions with neighborhood residents.

Ramia Mazé and Johan Redström, ‘Explanation’, 201-223. The contexts and motivations for this work are discussed in the Explanation, along with the research themes ‘energy ecologies’ and ‘critical practices’. The project set-up and contributors are also described.

Image (above)
Photo by Antenne Books

More about the book
Book webpage with information about how to order
Press release


See also

/ Projects / Switch!