Reintroducing Materials for Sustainable Design provides instrumental theory and practical guidance to bring materials back into a central role in the design process and education.
To create designs that are sustainable and respond to current environmental, economic and cultural concerns, practitioners and educators require a clear framework for materials use in design and product manufacturing. While much has been written about sustainable design over the last two decades, outlining systems of sustainability and product criteria, to design for material circularity requires a detailed understanding of the physical matter that constitutes products. Designers must not just know of materials but know how to manipulate them and work with them creatively. This book responds to the gap by offering a way to acquire the material knowledge necessary to design physical objects for sustainability. It reinforces the key role and responsibility of designers and encourages designers to take back control over the ideation and manufacturing process. Finally, it discusses the educational practice involved and the potential implications for design education following implementation, addressing didactics, facilities and expertise.
This guide is a must-read for designers, educators and researchers engaged in sustainable product design and materials.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Sustainability and making 2. Materials in design education 3. The material dialogue in craft 4. Reintroducing materials into a contemporary design process 5. Implications for design education 6. Sustainable design: knowing how
Mette Bak-Andersen is a Danish designer and researcher. She was educated as a designer in Barcelona and holds a PhD from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design. Since 2008 she has explored ways to bring back materials into the design process, both in her design practice and in educational projects with design students, as well as in her doctoral research. In 2013 she founded the Material Design Lab at Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, which she directed until 2018.
This book unveils the systemic challenges in the world of design, a discipline directly entangled with the current ecological crisis and social disenfranchisement. Our current material ecology is threatening the equilibrium that makes life possible on this planet, and the deep reflection in this book gives hope to the discipline and the practice. Design education requires a much-needed update on sustainable values, in addition to new digital tools for design, to achieve the purpose to nurture all life on this planet, not only human, and this means changing our material ecology." – Tomas Diez Ladera, Director of Fab Lab Barcelona, and the Master in Design for Emergent Futures at IAAC
"Design movements evolve over time. The last 150 years have seen the Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus, Pop, Modernism, Postmodernism and more. Each has influenced product design and architecture. And each has had it chosen set of materials – woods, leathers, metals, ceramic, glass, concrete, plastics – that have shaped the sense and feel of the object created with them.
The digital age has provided unprecedented access to information and to modelling tools. Much engineering and design teaching now centres around them. This greatly-widened horizon stimulates innovation, but its sheer scale has tended to cloud the close relationship that designers, in the past, had with their materials, replacing intimacy with a few by a passing acquaintance with many.
This book is a wake-up call, an appeal to educators to bring closeness to materials back into a central role in the design process and education. It is timely: the current concern for the well-being of present and future generations requires that materials be chosen in ways that are better informed about the environmental consequences of their use than at present. And at a human level, the materials of the products that surround us, if well chosen, bring an aesthetic satisfaction that is life-enhancing." – Mike Ashby, Emeritus Professor of Materials, University of Cambridge, UK
"This book is a must-read for anyone interested in how materiality can be brought back into the center of design education" - Mark Miodownik, Director of Institute of Making, University College London, UK