The Sustainable Wheel of Design by The David Report


"A product could be defined as sustainable first when it consider all ingredients of the "sustainable wheel". We always have to extend sustainability beyond materials. We have to remember to always look through the lens of humanity when we are trying to define a sustainable product."

This is the conclusion of the David Report summarising last year' DesignBoost. And while some of the 12 page report (PDF and web) is at times highfalutin, this reader was impressed with some of the thinking that was going on. Like the following quote from Satyendra Pakhale:"But I would argue whatever we produce it pollutes our environment in one-way or the other. So for me, real sustainable design is the design that people will cherish and keep it for generations to generations."

It's a discussion point dear to our heart here at TH, with both ourselves and The David Report using Brio toys (pictured above) as an example of generational design heirlooms. Some models still in production 60 years on. The notion connects with other themes the Report explores, such as the following two:

"What makes us want to keep certain objects while we throw away others without thinking? Could it be that we have greater affection for a product which we have saved up to and longed for compared to a wear and tear product we have no relation to at all?"

"One can buy a sofa for a 300 EUR and throw it out after three years, or one for 3000 EUR and keep it for thirty years. Which is more cost-effective in the long run, both for you and society? It all comes down to quality, timeless design and a sustainable economic as well as ecological way of thinking. On the other hand it is not unreasonable to challenge the need to make sofas that last for thirty years when the buyer may get tired of it after five. Is it a waste of resource to deliver too high quality?"

DesignBoost was event held in Malmö, Sweden during October - November 2007. The event arrived at the notion that sustainable design is analogous with a wheel that has as its spokes the issues of environmental influence, innovation, emotional connection, aesthetics, quality, authenticity and compatibility. ::The David Report, Issue 8, via Dexigner

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