Carlos Alberto Montana Hoyos and Dr.Takahito Saiki | Kobe Design University, Japan
The environmental and social problems that the current industrial production methods have generated in society are today well known. Furthermore, mass media and the process of globalization have influenced greatly our current lifestyles and way of thinking. Within this context, the role of industrial design (ID) in society is quite important and deals with diverse long-term responsibilities that should be taught at an early stage to design students. The education of ID must constantly be redefined to address the new challenges faced by today’s designers. However, the problems originated by the industrial society cannot be solved with the same industrial thinking paradigms of the system that generated them. As such, alternative Design for Sustainability (DfS) teaching models and methods need to be developed, tested, evaluated, and refined to cater to the new challenges of design education.
The main objective of this paper is to describe and discuss a proposal for a teaching method for DfS, based on the integration of biomimicry, human needs analysis and ecodesign analysis tools. In order to develop this method, a substantial literature review included diverse Ecodesign education methods, such as the Okala Curriculum (White, St. Pierre, & Belletire, 2003). Also a number of relevant papers and books in education for sustainability and sustainable design (Birkeland, 2002; Manzini, 2006; Marinova & McGrath, 2004; Ramirez, 2004) were reviewed. Concurrently, a review of bio-inspired design literature (Benyus, 1997; Dollens, 2005) and many discussions with researchers in related design fields, provided evidence that a bio-inspired design approach that integrated the human (social), environmental and economic aspects of DfS, was worthy of further exploration. For this purpose, significant study cases from different disciplines (engineering, materials research, nanotechnology, architecture) were discussed in congresses or meetings at Kobe University (Japan), Georgia Tech University (USA), and Los Andes University (Colombia), among others. Also a close collaboration with the Biomimicry Institute provided up to date information about a relevant range of teaching strategies and state of the art case studies of biomimic design in various disciplines.