Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wilma van Boxtel: Musing on a sustainable practice

Deseos Design – Dutch Design Down Under

Deseos design wants to design and develop producible, attractive and functional products for commercial success and make the world around us better at the same time by introducing sustainability. With innovation, creativity and systematically working we can create extra value for our clients. 


Deseos Design combines an extensive experience in European industrial design with the knowledge of Australian resources.
Being the o2WA liaison since 2007 I take my work very seriously especially the impact on the environment. o2 is a global network for sustainable designers.  I am a freelance product designer and it’s my duty to inform my clients about the possibilities to improve their product in a sustainable way. During the design process I design to minimize materials and standardize production methods.  I work paperless with the best digital programs available and I cycle everywhere, my clients are used to me coming in in my cycle gear with a helmet in hand and the memory stick in the other hand.
One example is the use of EST, Engineered Solid Timber, instead of the full solid local hardwoods like Jarrah and Marri. EST board has a 4mm outer layer of hardwood and a centre of plantation pine which makes it still solid wood but you use less of the precious hardwoods which are getting scarcer by the day. Another advantage is that the wood stays straight even if you use mitered edges like I did in the Space range. 


Another example is the Zeopod, a pouf made from biodegradable plastic. Zelfo is a plastic made from industrial hemp and therefore very strong and natural. I sourced all materials consciously, the textile is GECA certified wool from Sustainable Living Fabrics and the foam is also GECA certified. I had thought about using a natural material for the pouf but I opted for sustainable produced foam instead because of sit comfort and durance.
As a sustainable designer you continuously have to weigh your options and improve your knowledge about materials and production methods. There are not many products which are 100% safe and good for the environment but important is to make the right choice in the right situation. If you know for example that a product is going to be used for a very long time and will become a heirloom you can safely use beautiful timbers but if you know it will only be used for a couple of years you look at it in a different way. Here comes reduce, reuse and recycle. Design cradle to cradle so the materials stay in the loop. 

I teach sustainable design at Curtin University and the best compliment I had was a student telling me he didn’t want to use any virgin material in his whole future design career as there were so many materials available which already had been used but still in perfect order to reuse. I believe in a sustainable future!

Deseos Design website 
02 Global website
Sustainability stories link
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