Developing guidelines and product examples
Hans Wissner, I/IDSA
Stuart Walker, I/IDSA
This paper looks at the relationships that exist among 1) the notion of the ‘authentic’ object, 2) the principles of sustainable development, and 3) product design, with a particular focus on furniture design. The main argument of this discussion is that when product design addresses the economic, environmental and social considerations of sustainability in a meaningful and responsible manner, then the design process and the designed product will be authentic.
Firstly, ‘authenticity’ is explored in terms of self-awareness, self-reflection and personal responsibility. These three, it is argued, constitute the cornerstones of a contemporary understanding of authenticity. In turn, sustainability is examined with particular reference to its implications for the design and manufacture of material goods, and the economic, ecological and social ramifications are discussed. From these two explorations a set of succinct guidelines for the designer is developed.
The second part of this paper is the application of the theoretical discussion by direct engagement in the design process. A number of furniture pieces are explored, leading to a presentation of ‘product as metaphor’ which, through physical design, symbolizes the integration of materials and techniques, across various scales of production, that must become reconciled if ‘sustainable product design’ is to be achieved in ways that are progressive, feasible, enriching and ‘authentic’.
Lastly, the insights gained from the theoretical discussion and the exploratory design process come together in the design of a series of lighting products that are considered to be authentic representations of sustainable product design.