Here I will reflect on what I have learned in these expanded practice sessions. For me I have found it really eye opening learning how important it is as designers to understand sustainable design. We have a lot of influence over our planet and as a designer you can dramatically reduce carbon foot prints and waste, as well as use your design to make a stand against global warming.
In my own practice I have always loved to use ready-mades and re-cycled materials, I feel a lot more connected to the materials if they have been something before I use them. New materials have no soul or emotional connection. In year 1 I recycled an old Gladstone bag. The bag had marks and stains from the previous owner and even still smelt of medicine. I feel connected to this piece and will probably keep it for a long time, maybe even pass it on. There is something quite beautiful about using old materials in new ways. In year 2 I have already used only existing materials for my projects, I have used scrap paper, old jewellery and second hand clothes (just to name a few). I usually approach projects in quite a sensitive and thoughtful way, and using ready-mades helps me translate this in final pieces.
After taking this module and learning so much about sustainable design I will always make sure my design process handles sustainability. I have learned that it is vital to use product design cycle analysis to help you stay aware of how your product is produced and the kind of people who are working in the cycle. I have also realised that you can learn from other company’s mistakes.
Doing the workshop with existing product and analysing their sustainability, opened my eyes to how products and business plans can be altered slightly to help the environment. I worked with analysing Apple and found that their products are usually kept or thrown away when broken, even though they have harmful chemicals inside and a lot of working raw material. I redesigned Apple so they offer a service where you can return your product for a price and they will use the old components to make a new product, this resolves the issue of waste, and allows Apple to use a closed cycle system for their products.
Analysing my material journey to university also helped me to visually pick out where I was going wrong, and the type of products I come into contact with every day that could be better. Most of my belongings where cheap but I do grow attachment to things very quickly. I have a plastic plate that my family bought me when I first left home, it was cheap and only meant to last me my first year, but it is now 3 years old and I have no intention of throwing it away anytime soon. This attachment I make with inanimate objects means I have collected a lot of junk over the years but I intend to keep them for the forceable future.
This awareness of your everyday objects is the most important thing I have learnt doing this module. It has meant that I analyse my belongings and have a better understanding of there life cycle. I will be more aware of how I look after them and how I dispose of them. In the future I will continue my practice with a conscience of sustainability and how I as a designer can affect the environment with how I design my products This module has really opened my eyes to how important my design strategy can be in helping the earth.