Monday, October 24, 2011

Chunk Design: Musing on a sustainable practice

Will Wansey

Chunk Design is a collaborative design company in Sydney that engages in a diverse range of design, engineering and manufacturing projects. We realise that as the designers and producers of things that the decisions we make at the design and specification stage can have scaled environment and social impacts at the manufacturing and consumption stage of the products life cycle.

Many of our one off and low volume projects involve the re-use of unwanted materials. The Tooth Stool (by Hugh and Andrew) for example used recycled packaging foam that was laminated and shaped into a new form.

 Image: Tooth Stool, Chunk Design

Another way we try to reduce the negative impact of our activities is in the careful selection of suppliers and the specification of responsible products in new product developments. It is almost always possible to find a more responsible ways of archiving a certain result.

Image: Old growth Logging,  image courtesy GreenPeace 
Telapak ( ) for example promotes the responsible cultivation and harvest of Indonesian timers. Telapak's commercial timber products are not only environmentally sustainable, they are socially responsible also. They provide welfare and employment to many, and take market share away from the illegal old growth loggers. 
Designers and makers are in a unique position to support such initiatives through their design activities have a responsibility to do so wherever possible.

The British Council and LRQA are currently sponsoring Chunk's latest urban sustainability project that recycles old Honda Postie bikes into retro electric custom motorcycles (
At Chunk we do everything in our power to ensure our products are useful and desirable to the user for as long as possible. Our project involves creating a new motorcycle from an old one and hopefully will create a desirable bike that people will want to own for the long term.

 Image: Will Wansey Chunk

As product designers we are sometimes seen as being comfortable with our role in feeding consumerism's need for new products. It is after all what we are trained to do.
At Chunk however, this is not the case.

Chunk Design Website 
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