For the final project of the semester in studio, we get to do practically whatever we want! I’m finishing out a short project from junior year that I think could be an awesome product, and not just a cool concept – the eco-friendly spoonfork utensil with seed packaging. While I’ve been doing extensive research on my different material options (which has been pretty fun, actually) I remembered that when I was in junior high all of my science fair projects were SUPER enviro-friendly. I went to state with the project that I made a natural fruit fly repellent for – because fruit flies destroy so much of the produce crop before it even gets to a grocery store.
I believe that as designers we have the ability to ensure that products are inherently green, and that we should make “being green” something that’s real, not simply another annoying trend that people don’t actually pay more for. Being green doesn’t have to be expensive; just smarter than the traditional resources and manufacturing processes. Even going the extra step to make everything in a product the same material for ease of recycling is a small step to something great. Or simply making a more expensive product that will last a long time, with the notion that the guts of it might have to be replaced and recycled more often.
I’ve been reading about PLA, the corn plastic made from lactic acid, and it’s competitively priced with PET products except that it biodegrades, and won’t take up as much space in a landfill! We’ve come a long way from Bakelight, so let’s not just stop here.
I’m a big proponent of “green” design and material considerations, but I don’t think I need to brand myself that way as a designer because I feel like it looks cheap, trendy, and crafty.
As a designer, I aim to make products that do at least three things:
1. take materials and processes into consideration to create something of high quality at a reasonable price
2. something that solves a problem, not just looks pretty or puts a band-aid over the problem
3. makes an emotional connection of some kind with the user, ensuring it’s success and happiness in the home 🙂
There is a big gap between Ikea and West Elm; there’s got to be some sort of market in between for different materials and new ideas to flourish.