“I think we’ve got a bit of a crisis in the design industry” says Caroline … – Dezeen

The conversation of sustainability is at the forefront of design but there is “still a long way to go” said designer Caroline Till at the Materials of Tomorrow symposium during 3 Days of Design.

Researcher and designer Till began her keynote speech at the Materials of Tomorrow symposium, which was hosted by furniture brand IKEA’s research lab Space10, by focusing on how human activity has depleted the Earth’s resources.

“We are finally becoming aware of the damage caused by the current systems of design and manufacturing consumption to people and planet alike,” said Till, who is the co-founder of research agency FranklinTill.

“The acceleration of human changes are inextricably linked to earth system changes,” she continued. “Historically, geopolitical dominance by the West – a potent combination of geopolitical issues, colonialism and capitalism – has led to this issue of depletion.”

She emphasised the importance of progression and of moving away from the concept of sustainability toward design that is restorative.

“By definition, sustainability is about maintaining the status quo and we’ve gone past being able to do that,” Till said. “Circularity is great, because it’s about leaving no trace.”

“But the conversation has started to shift towards regeneration: putting back better, restoring, replenishing,” she added.

“Personally, I think we’ve got a bit of a crisis in the design industry. We use these terms, but what do they mean? What is the definition of regenerative and who has the right to use it?”

“There is an incredible amount of material innovation that is happening, not just on a composition level but on a systems and service level,” said Till.

It is important to not think of waste as waste, but as a resource, according to Till.

“Even three to five years ago, the idea of something being made from waste would have been thought of as less valuable. Now if a material has a past life it’s aspirational,” she said.

“I think the fashion industry is forging the way of making repair aspirational, having that sense of story and narrative. And we’re starting to see it now within interiors as well.”

For Till, there must be a shift in the perception of materials before substantial change can happen, moving away from rigid structures of materials being categorised as “good” or “bad”.

“We need to start talking and thinking about materials as systems. They are not inanimate objects, they exist as always evolving, flowing dynamic systems,” Till added.

“I think we often have this quite binary perspective that natural materials are good and technical synthetic materials are bad,” she said.

“And that’s not the case. If we understand the systems in which they exist then they can have the most impact.”

Source: Dezeen

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