Ali is a London-based writer, editor, and consultant who specializes in design and architecture. Previously the interiors editor at WGSN, where she helped to build and launch its lifestyle and interiors service, Ali has regularly contributed to titles such as
Dezeen, Wallpaper, and Elle Decoration for more than a decade. Ali Morris's Articles How Design Can Reframe Ocean Plastic as a Resource, Not Waste According to a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, a full garbage truck’s worth of plastic flows into our oceans almost every minute. While efforts to remove the so-called “ocean plastic” from the water or collect it from coastlines are urgent and important, they don’t solve the underlying problem of what to do with the material once it’s procured. Meet Keiko Kuroshima, Japan’s First Female Soy Sauce Sommelier Japan is home to only a handful of soy sauce sommeliers—certified inspectors who regularly visit breweries and report on their products—and Keiko Kuroshima is the first and only woman, so far, to earn the title. She was born and raised in Shodoshima, an island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea that has been a major soy sauce production hub for centuries, thanks in part to its flourishing salt and shipping industries and close proximity to trading ports, where manufacturers could easily obtain soybeans and wheat to make the condiment, and export it to surrounding areas. (During the Meiji era, in the second half of the 19th century, Kuroshima says the area was home to as many as 400 breweries; around 20 remain today.) A New Children’s Book Combines Colors and Smells to Profound Effect Olfactive expert Dawn Goldworm believes that just as children begin to learn colors, they should also be educated on scents—and make meaningful, emotional connections between the two. Goldworm has synesthesia, a condition in which normally separate senses mingle together involuntarily; sounds may conjure vivid colors, or touch may trigger a distinct taste. Spending her career putting her rare abilities to use, developing fragrances for such international brands and celebrities as Valentino, Harrods, and Lady Gaga, she has now brought her interest in sensory education to life in the form of The Smell of a Rainbow (Dial Books), a scented board book, out this summer, that teaches children how to talk about smell using color. Connecting all her research to date and providing tools for kids to better understand and articulate their emotions, the book features seven evocative fragrances that relate to the stripes of the rainbow. Introducing Case, the Canadian Brand Creating a Circular System for Takeout Containers For many diners, using “biodegradable” or “compostable” takeout containers is one way of doing their part in protecting the planet. But such serviceware, made from plants including bamboo, corn, and sugarcane pulp, often don’t break down in a backyard composting bin and require special conditions to degrade. The Canadian company Case has a better solution: a circular system for food receptacles. This British Nonprofit Provides a Lifeline to People Who’ve Lost Their Sense of Smell After catching a virus on an airplane nine years ago, Chrissi Kelly lost her sense of smell. To cope, she began smell training, a therapy that involves repeatedly sniffing potent odors as a means to stimulate the olfactory cortex, the part of our brains responsible for processing and perceiving scents. The little-known technique, first described in a research paper by a team of German experts in 2009, paired with the lack of resources available to help people with olfactory deprivation, intrigued Kelly. She dove into more scientific research about smell loss, and soon developed her own smell training kits and the companion Snif app, both available via AbScent, a British nonprofit she founded in 2018 that’s overseen by an advisory board of leading doctors and scholars. With Darning, Celia Pym Brings the Stories of Clothes to Life Recent studies attest to what the crafters among us have known for a long time: that the rhythmic, repetitive nature of knitting, crocheting, and needlework makes people feel happier and more relaxed. For London-based textile artist Celia Pym, working with her hands is more than a stress-relieving pastime—it’s instinctive. She grew up in a family where repairing damaged textiles was a practical part of everyday life; since 2007, darning has been her primary focus. In Japan, a Competition Transforms Truck Beds Into Garden Beds As the world adapts to pandemic life, we’ve seen creativity heroically emerge, in nearly every sector, amid limitations. One big idea to sprout from restrictions, started in 2016, that’s perfectly suited for this moment: Japan’s annual Kei Truck Garden Contest in Osaka, which brings nature closer to city-dwellers in the form of compact, foliage-filled creations. (The date for this year’s event has yet to be announced.) Yukitsuri, a Sculptural Japanese Gardening Tradition, Is a Wonder to Behold Those visiting Japan’s beloved gardens during the winter might be struck by the sight of trees confined within mysterious cone-shaped structures. Existing somewhere between art and scaffolding, yukitsuri—the term for these intriguing rope webs—is a traditional Japanese gardening technique intended to protect trees’ long branches from bending and breaking under the weight of snow. Workers construct the dramatic enclosures in teams, tying a bamboo or wood pole to each tree’s trunk, then suspending straw ropes from the top and tying them to ends of individual branches. The New Book “Designers Against Coronavirus” Is a Powerhouse of Positivity Design can be a powerful tool in times of crisis, when creativity is a crucial element for survival. At the start of the Covid-19 outbreak last year, the team at the Milanese design studio Carosello Lab found themselves confined to their homes, pondering what they could do to help. In an effort to encourage people to express themselves and inspire others, they asked artists on Instagram to send their personal interpretations of the public health emergency—and in less than two weeks, received more than 2,000 submissions from around the world. The studio published a selection of them in a digital archive titled Designers Against Coronavirus, and in the fall, took the project a step further by documenting 272 of the works in a book of the same name. Nearly all the resources to publish it, from the paper to securing the copyright for each image, were donated, and the entire proceeds will benefit the Italian Red Cross, the book’s exclusive retailer.