Materially yours

Authored by: Elvin Karana , Elisa Giaccardi , Valentina Rognoli

Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Product Design

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138910171
eBook ISBN: 9781315693309
Adobe ISBN:


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Materials embedded in products behave differently with the passing of time. This can be witnessed either as graceful ageing, or as material degradation. Some materials can appear to be ‘alive’: they can sense and respond, and change state; they can show different ‘faces’ depending on applications and circumstances; they can remain personal and appropriate over time. Materials can reflect fashions in a particular era, or they can exhibit timelessness, for example. Such experiential qualities of materials inevitably affect the way we use, and the time span we possess, everyday products. In this chapter, we propose three strategies, which focus on the potential experiences we have with and through the materials of products that last; these are: (1) embrace imperfection; (2) do it yourself; and (3) multi-situated materials. With the term ‘materially yours’, we highlight the idea of resilience thinking, in which the most responsive to change will survive. We capitalize on this thinking in all three strategies, by offering a sense of ambiguity, curiosity, flexibility and openness in material thinking in design. We further explain these new strategies with a number of illustrative cases throughout the chapter.

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