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Substance:Sustainable Design Through Positive Users/Object Relationships(2009)

Directed by Robert Charest, 97pp.


The work of contemporary designers has increasingly come under scrutiny for its apparent disconnect with affairs of the greater human condition and status. This disconnect is evidenced in the design and development of products and materials that endanger the natural resources on which we depend, as well as the intentionally short lifespan of these products in the name of profit generation. Given the history of product design and its intended purpose of commodity, design scholars have suggested that a massive change within the practice and vision of design must occur in order to prevent the continued misuse of resources, and to reverse the apparent lack of connection between users and objects which has inevitably led to excessive disposal and waste. This thesis is an exploration of design process and material re-use, and examines the capacity of the designer to experiment with and embed within a product the physical, emotional and philosophical attributes that might strengthen the user/object connection. Given the timeframe of the exploration, a method for verifying the successful implementation of these traits was not developed. However, the opportunity to experiment with and consider these traits has led to the development of a prototype of sustainable furnishings, which has provided valuable feedback for future work.

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