| Sustainable Principles and Practices

Icon Source: Entypo.

Icon Source: Entypo.

To start off the second assignment for our Collaborative Design Research class, we were asked to look at all the process PDFs for the first assignment and find three sustainable principles and practices that would be relevant to implement in the second assignment.

What was interesting in each process PDF was how sustainability was described and understood. For some, sustainability implied making objects useful without harming the future, by having a certain mindfulness to waste and an empathy towards nature and future (Infinity). Sustainability can also be seen as being a demonstration for the well-being of others, respect for the Earth and an understanding of how connected everything it (Nomad). Other people are more pessimistic, as they see sustainability as an overwhelming phenomenon, how the negative aspects human activities (especially industrialization) are having on the environment (Horse With Blinders On). However, what was recurrent in all the PDFs was the social and cultural aspects that should also be considered in every sustainable creative process.



Designers are creators of the new (Something Blurred). This seems like a very powerful statement, but in fact designers have the responsibility over the choices they make in their design process. They are the ones who can change consumers’ habits by designing for people’s true needs instead of focusing on people’s wants. This can be quite a challenge, but there is a need to make people realize what is at stake and question whether the way we do things is the best way to do it. This is why designers have to research very thoroughly about the subject they are focusing on, and rethink every step in their thinking process in order to make the right choices and the most sustainable decisions for consumers and the world around them. This is a principle that needs to be implemented in the brainstorming stage of the second assignment (and even every other project) to be able to achieve innovative sustainable works.



Another recurring principle in the majority of the concepts presented in class was the dual purpose of the project. Indeed, I found it very interesting how the objects that were created for the first assignment were both an aesthetic piece and a practical item. by doing so, designers are able to present awareness through the meaning of the object and as the same time present it as a visually beautiful piece. Therefore, consumers will be more interested in the content if the container is more appealing to their eyes. And if designers want to take a step further towards sustainability, their work should be visually captivating as well as being beneficial to the environment (Positive Littering). I find that this aesthetic dimension should be included in every project, to highlight the creative character of the designer.



We cannot speak of sustainability without mentioning the product life cycle. The life cycle of a product include material extraction, manufacturing and production, transportation, use and reuse, and finally disposal and recycling. It is mostly in this last step that designers need to work on, in order to make consumers not want to dispose of their objects. In fact, the ultimate challenge of the designer is to create an fully designed, whole product that will defy the notion of time, and be intangible, indefinite and infinite (Infinity). Designers should strive towards the next big thing in sustainability, which is to practice a design that focuses on refusing, reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering the product in order to extend the life cycle of the product (Blank Slate). What would be ideal would be to create a product that is infinite, a product that defies its own life expectancy.



As part of our preliminary research was to brainstorm on a production question for the second assignment. This was a challenge since I still do not know the precise subject on what my future team will be working on, but here are a couple preliminary production questions:

“How could one extract design and sustainability principles from the past and apply them to the creation of something sustainably responsible that would answer people’s needs rather than people’s wants ?”

” How could a designer tell to consumers that just like designers who have responsibility over over the choices they make in their design process, consumers actually do have a responsibility over technology ?”



Projects cited:

  • Infinity, by Louise Heng, Eliza Nguyen, Mylinh Nguyen and Melanie Palapuz.
  • Blank Slate, by Laurence Baril, Bruno Lariviere, Melissa Noack, Julia Panchyzhna and Sarah Pilgrim.
  • Something Blurred, by  John Bigsby, Celeste Nakai, Véronique Pelletier and Paula Youwakim.
  • Positive Littering, by Sydney Cornett, Oliver Houston, Cameron Morse, and Sandy Spink.
  • Horse With Blinders On, by Alex Pelchat-White, Anne Dehn, Chloe Belisle and Tatev Yesayan.
  • Nomad, by Gustavo Lopez, Eric Mackay, Daniel Martinez and Steven Steffen.

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