Sustainability: A Broken Record

11 min read 12.12.2022 News

We celebrated the launch of our first in a series of CUBE™ original productions, titled ‘Sustainability: A Broken Record’, with an exclusive screening and live panel discussion hosted at the Barbican Centre, London.


An iconic venue for film festivals and movie screenings, including Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio, and having recently welcomed actor and director Idris Elba and designer Tinker Hatfield, the Grade II listed building, situated in the heart of London, provided the perfect backdrop for our launch event.

After welcoming and connecting with guests from across the design industry - some new and many familiar faces, we celebrated the launch of Sustainability: A Broken Record with an exclusive screening, followed by a live panel discussion, held in collaboration with NEWH and supported by Commercial Interiors UK.

Hosted by CUBE™ Co-Founder and CEO, James Hakesley, the panel featured an impressive lineup of cast, crew and industry experts.

Owen Riseley, Lead Producer at CUBE™ was joined by Jeremy Grove, Managing Director and Head of Design at Sibley Grove, Rachel Hoolahan, Architect and Sustainability Coordinator at Orms, and Richard Naylor, Group Sustainable Development Director at Hypnos Beds.

Barbican Drinks Reception
Barbican Networking Drinks Reception
Panel Discussion

Sustainability: A Broken Record

Uniting architects, designers and manufacturers through an honest and dynamic conversation, ‘Sustainability: A Broken Record’ explores how we can manage the relationship between people and our planet, unearthing the secrets to a more substantial impact, and discovering how powerful decisions can move us forward towards a nourishing future.

Delving into the true meaning of sustainability; a term we hear so much, but often without substance, the short documentary shines a spotlight on an important and urgent topic within the industry.

James Hakesley, Executive Producer, explained: “CUBE has become well embedded within the design and architecture community, and sustainability is a buzzword which we hear all too often. But it’s one that comes with so many caveats.

“Our first in a series of original productions captures an honest and powerful conversation, to engage audiences, provoke conversation and inspire critical change.”

A Broken Record

Playing on the title’s reference to a record, the production is organised into two halves. The A-side highlights the challenges the industry is facing, while the B-side focuses on solutions, relationships, and asks the tough questions; ‘What does it mean to be sustainable?’, and ‘Is sustainability really enough?’.

Owen Riseley, Director and Editor, added: “Sustainability is built around fear and facts, but clearly, the truth isn’t enough.

“We set out to create a film that inspires, and that is centred around understanding our relationship with this subject, rather than trying to scaremonger.

“By approaching the documentary in this way, we buck the trend of how content today is addressing sustainability, and broaden our reach as to who we inspire.”

Closing the live panel discussion on Monday evening, Owen explained that “by looking at the relationships we have with each other and ourselves, we can influence the relationship we have with the planet.”.

Featuring industry leaders, the mini documentary takes its audience on an intimate journey and into the lives of its subjects, prompting its viewers to consider more substantial attitudes, behaviours and consumer habits.

Jeremy Grove, Sibley Grove
Jeremy Grove, Sibley Grove

Jeremy Grove, Managing Director and Head of Design at Sibley Grove, sets the tone by explaining that “there’s still a general lack of understanding of what it means to be better environmentally”.

He explains: “Sustainability is incredibly misleading and there’s a lot of people who want to do good things but they’re being misled by products that aren’t actually solving the problem.”.

Nico Rensch Wunderhaus
Nico Rensch Wunderhaus

Nico Rensch, Architect and Founder of Wunderhaus, welcomes us into Wunderhaus; a product in the form of a house that can produce net more energy than it consumes, and the only net energy positive capable housing product in the UK.

Nico explains: “We tried to create a product that has all the virtues of a product, but in the form of a house.

“We’re living in the 21st century and our houses perform so poorly in a time when we have an acute climate crisis and a massive energy crisis. It’s just not acceptable.”.

Rachel Hoolahan, Orms
Rachel Hoolahan, Orms

Rachel Hoolahan, Architect and Sustainability Coordinator at Orms, explains that we have to adapt as humans, and challenges us to “think about how you, as an individual, can make an impact in this world.”.

Rachel says: “As an industry, we’re facing an enormous challenge in figuring out how we can design high quality spaces for our society, without sacrificing the land and lives of others. Sometimes, it feels like we are playing a broken record, but equally, we can see this repetition as a positive starting point.

“As the documentary demonstrates, we as an industry need to be a collective voice, calling for greater change and collaborating to make sure it happens. The real question is, do we have enough time to do it?”

Simone Suss, Suss Studios
Simone Suss, Suss Studios

Throughout the documentary, Simone Suss, Founder of Studio Suss, shows us around one of their recent projects; a 13,000 sq ft house in Greater London, showcasing how sustainability has been incorporated in an invisible way.

Simone explains that she has always been conscious about trying to do good, and questions, “If not me, then who? And if not now, then when?”.

John Miller, MARK Product
John Miller, MARK Product

John Miller, Furniture Designer and Director at MARK Product, invites us into his workshop, explaining how he grew up surrounded by his father’s tools.

Here, we explore the evolution of design, the importance of relationships and the transformation that we must go through, with John explaining: “It needs to be articulated as a new adventure”.

So, where do we go from here? Are you ready to join us on this new adventure? Watch the full documentary here, and join in the conversation!