Sustainable Lifetime – Week 4

During the session today we recapped the different types of obsolescence that we learnt about last week. These were Psychological, Economical, Component failure (physical) & Technological. We gave short presentations in groups each talking about a certain object we had researched and obsolescence category it would fall into. This was really useful test my knowledge and understanding of last week.

We moved on to look at product lifetime research and performance economy. Optimising the utilisation of products components and materials. Product Life extension strategies should be thinking about this throughout the designing process of the product. Not just thinking about the sustainability factor at the end. This is a hierarchy system with the 4R’s Reuse, repair, recondition & recycle. The further down the system you go the more energy that is required in that process.

We spoke about products that are design to be emotionally durable. Things that we make relationships with over time. According to Chapman there are 5 main principles; narrative, consciousness, attachment, fiction and surface. We talked about surface mainly, thinking about materials as they are most important to emotionally durable design.

Consumer  behaviours was something that we continually talked about throughout the session. We can design sustainable products and services but they have limited time if consumer behaviour remains unchanged. This is a big issue when it comes to designing sustainably, we can continue to make these products but unless behaviour changes then we will remain in this cycle that doesn’t work.

In relation to this we discussed Tony Fry who talks about defuture, this idea that design up until now is defuturing us, taking away our future. We aren’t designing for the future we are just designing for the now. “We design our world while our world acts back on us and designs us” (Wills, A. 2007).


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