Architecture Design Fashion

British Council

Show menu Follow us on Instagram

Saudi Design Week: Charlie Paton

Cucumbers being planted in our seawater-cooled shade house © Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

© Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

Cucumbers being planted in our seawater-cooled shade house
Seawater Greenhouse site in Berbera, Somaliland © Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

© Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

Seawater Greenhouse site in Berbera, Somaliland
Evaporators soaked with seawater provide cooling for the shade house and beyond. Just like putting a wet towel over your head © Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

© Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

Evaporators soaked with seawater provide cooling for the shade house and beyond. Just like putting a wet towel over your head
Cool, humid air extends beyond the greenhouse and allows melons to be grown outside © Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

© Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

Cool, humid air extends beyond the greenhouse and allows melons to be grown outside
The by-product, concentrated salty brine, is processed in to sea salt. Zero waste! © Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

© Seawater Greenhouse Ltd

The by-product, concentrated salty brine, is processed in to sea salt. Zero waste!
Charlie Paton

Charlie Paton

9 October 2018
by Charlie Paton

For Saudi Design Week 2018, the British Council KSA has partnered with the annual festival and are supporting five UK-based designers to participate in activities in both Riyadh and Eastern Province. This partnership forms a part of the Culture and Sport Programme. We caught up with one of the five participating designers Charlie Paton to find out more about his practice. 

Please tell us about your work. What is the primary issue or challenge you’re exploring at the moment? 

I run Seawater Greenhouse Ltd, a design/engineering company that focusses on using sea water to enable agriculture in hot, arid coastal regions. The process involves using sea water for evaporative cooling, and we are finding great opportunities for combining this process with conventional desalination, to use the reject brine that is normally pumped back into the sea. This can be toxic to marine life, and it is now a serious environmental issue in both the Red Sea and the Gulf. 

Lack of fresh water is a major challenge in KSA, and without fresh water, you can’t grow crops – or indeed survive.  Powering desalination with renewable energy, growing food, trees and making salt as part of the value chain offers huge environmental and economic benefits.

Why are you interested in going to Saudi Arabia, why does the Saudi design scene interest you? 

As in most countries, the management of fresh water and waste water treatment are largely managed by centralised state run and state subsidised enterprises, who generally shy away from innovation.  However, they are both fundamental to life, health and the environment.  Combining the emerging technologies of renewable energy, desalination, evaporative cooling and the management of salts and minerals are all design engineering issues.  The Kingdom has recently embarked on an ambitious 2030 vision to steer the economy away from oil.  This will have a major impact on and provide an amazing opportunity for young design engineers.

What are you hoping to explore or discover on your trip? What is your workshop going to focus on?

I propose to physically demonstrate how easy it is to make fresh water from sea water, and hope to inspire young designers with how the water cycle works, as well as illustrate how much of our inspiration comes from centuries old Islamic architecture – from qanats, wind catchers and Bedouin tents. At Seawater Greenhouse we combine these technologies with a new twist on practicality and economy of performance.

What do you hope to gain from the trip?

An inspired and engaged audience.

Why are international opportunities important for your practice?

As our primary focus is on the provision of fresh water and making best use of sea water to enable restorative agriculture, all of our focus is on international opportunities and applications.

Category
News

Location
Saudi Arabia

Tags
Saudi Design Week