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Breaking free from the unsustainable now

Grout, Ian and Kajzer, Ingrid (2003) Breaking free from the unsustainable now. Designjournalen, 10 (1). pp. 36-45. ISSN 1400-8963

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Abstract

This paper challenges the traditional concept of 'the product' in our contemporary addictive consumer society and embarks on an interdisciplinary journey to design a way to break free from what we argue is the unsustainable now. This may be achieved by taking the product's perspective and placing it in a wider sustainable context where deeper aspects of value, meaning and use can be explored. By utilising ecological system dynamics including; adaptability, interconnectedness, rhythm and flexibility we seek to move beyond mechanistic design approaches and embrace a deeper and more ecological view of sustainable design. We provide initial research findings from an experimental sustainable product design project in which these concepts are embedded and explored and we conclude by speculating on forward strategies aimed at furthering change and action for designers and educators moving towards a truly sustainable society.