3 March 2011
Is it possible for business and sustainable design to happily co-exist? Can designers make a difference to environmental outcomes and still deliver products with mass market appeal? According to the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) – Australia’s only multi-disciplinary professional design body – the answer is a resounding yes.
In conjunction with Sustainability Victoria and WSP Environment and Energy, the DIA has just released two professional Practice Notes for its members that detail a range of ways designers can achieve better environmental outcomes – while still keeping their business clients happy.
The two Sustainable Design Practice Notes are focused on Textile Design and Temporary Design respectively, and are part of a comprehensive collection that the DIA makes available to all its professional members.
Joanne Cys LFDIA, Immediate National President of the DIA, said that design professionals were uniquely positioned to drive a business-oriented environmental approach.
‘While many challenges still confront designers on the extent to which they can have a significant influence, there are numerous opportunities and solutions that are appropriate to project type and scale,’ she said.
‘There is also a growing body of knowledge and guidance from environment agencies, research institutions, industry associations and the design community itself.
‘Some of the most significant EcoDesign activity around the world is to be found in textile design and production,’ she explained.
‘When it comes to analysing total environmental impacts, it may be wrong to assume that natural fibres such as cotton and wool are automatically superior to synthetic fibres.
‘The key to better understanding environmental impacts and sustainable design principles for any product is to examine the complete life cycle, not just parts of it.’
In similar fashion, Ms Cys said that while much effort and environmental thinking has been applied to traditional sectors such as manufacturing, mining and agriculture, areas such as temporary design installations remained relatively untouched by environmental imperatives.
‘Museums, galleries, performance venues and trade shows are now recognising the significance of sustainable operations, content and subject matter,’ she claimed.
‘Whatever the project, careful choices about specifying materials and “cleaner” production methods at the start of any design project will help minimise undesirable environmental impacts.’
The Temporary Design Practice Note covers topics including: Environmental problems and impacts How to minimise non-renewable materials Avoiding over-engineering Using eco-improved materials Designing for re-use and minimal waste.
The Textile Design Practice Note includes topics such as: Textile environmental impacts Materials strategies Costs and benefits of natural vs synthetic fibres Material selection Pattern-making and garment construction.
The two new Sustainable Design Practice Notes are available now as pdf downloads http://www.design.org.au/practice_notes for professional DIA members, or may be purchased by non – members via the DIA National Office on 1300 888 056.
The Design Institute of Australia – Australia’s only professional, multi-disciplinary design organisation – has been actively improving the community and status of designers since 1947. The organisation promotes the value of design and designers to industry, business, government and the community. The DIA provides a vibrant networking base on a state, national and international level. Through its international affiliations, the DIA links its members with designers in over 40 countries. www.design.org.au