I really enjoyed my chosen elective of Sustainable Design. The series of lectures really opened my eyes to the amount of work designers are performing to help promote and encourage sustainability. The lectures taught me not only about the problems within our current environment, but also the solutions that creative’s are coming up with to help solve them. TED’s Ten strategies revealed different methods of how change can be made. The ten strategies also helped me section each design and designer into different categories on what and the reasons why for their designs.
Learning about environmental issues around the world really fascinated me, as well as learning about design solutions for them. This elective revealed to me the vast amount of creativity and energy there is behind the sustainable design industry. I had no idea before hand how alive and relevant it is to our every day lives. When thinking about my own designs now, I am much more conscious of the implications and consequences of certain design choices. In the future, I hope to design sustainably, for a customer that is aware of their environmental impact and desire to change it.
The system of a blog helped me keep all my research findings and thoughts in a clarified format.
Throughout the elective I have become more and more interested in the social side of sustainable design. Design that improves the welfare of those who help make the products really inspires me. I hope that my designs can benefit people in that way someday too. On one of our very first lectures we learnt about the designer Florie Salnot. Salnot is a designer who created a method of making beautifully delicate and unique jewelry using plastic bottles from Saharawi. These pieces are created by women from refugee camps in the desert, giving them financial independence since living in exile. I love the simplicity of taking something that once was rubbish like a plastic bottle and turning it into a treasured object that changes people’s lives. By thinking of alternative uses for unwanted objects, the environment as well as the people within it can be saved.
Before I studied sustainable design in any depth, I thought that sustainable design was less beautiful because the aesthetics had to be sacrificed due to the production. This elective opened my eyes to the stunning sustainable designs across the world. A design company that really stood out to me aesthetically was Studio Swine. They married the idea of sustainably and beauty perfectly in lots of their products. Their ‘Hair Glasses’ is an example of unique and beautiful. Not only this, being made from human hair, the product is biodegradable and therefore sustainable too. There is so much more value in sustainable products than just aesthetics, the story behind them adds to their physical appearance. If something is made with consideration to the environment and the people within it, in my eyes it makes the product so much more valuable.
Sustainable design to me is about working with what is available and exploring the different possibilities to the solutions of design we have today. Our environment is in continuous change therefore our design solutions need constantly changing too. It’s exciting to have had the opportunity to explore what sustainable designers are currently researching and creating. Design is an integral part of our environments future, which is an exciting prospect yet a huge responsibility for designers around the world.