Garbage and pollution are not mere accidents. On the contrary, in a linear economy like ours, waste is primarily projected and, therefore, a design flaw.
According to Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the decisions we make when designing a product, system or service determine 80% of its environmental impact.
This statistic compromises the planet and the economy in a world with finite resources.
As discussed in our article here, a circular approach to the economy draws on Nature to reverse the linear logic of extracting resources, making goods, consuming them and discarding them.In Nature, there is no waste, pollution or landfills; everything flows. Organisms grow, die and return to the soil. Then the cycle starts over and is completely circular. The “leftovers” of one species become food or resource for other species.
Nature’s cyclical model demonstrates in practice terms that it is possible to keep resources in use for as long as possible, reuse them and reintroduce them to regenerate different ecosystems. With its practical approach and principles, the circular economy has helped designers and architects worldwide t to incorporate Nature’s teachings and mechanisms into their projects.
In this article, we share three very different examples illustrating one of the circular economy principles: “Designing out waste and pollution.”
CIRCULAR DESIGN PROJECTS
by Stefan Diez for Magis
COSTUME modular sofa system consists of one unit that can be interlocked in various arrangements or extended with armrests or a pouffe. The wide range of configurations makes the sofa ready to respond to changing conditions and preferences efficiently.
All its components can be dismantled and replaced, improving its adaptability to different users and spaces and ultimately expanding its lifespan. COSTUME key component is a 4mm thin structure made from recycled and recyclable Polypropylene. Thanks to the elastic loops hooked into the bottom. The sofa can be dressed and undressed anytime for washing or replacement.
COSTUME also includes embedded pocket springs to ensure comfort while minimizing ecologically problematic synthetic foam use.
by Marjan van Aube
Sunne Light is a self-powered solar light that captures, stores and produces light indoors. When hung in front of a window, Sunne will naturally harvest energy from the sun and store it in its integrated battery. As the evening gets darker, Sunne’s light will start to glow.
Sunne’s curvy shape provides a larger surface area that allows maximum solar cells. The solar side of Sunne contains SunPower Solar cells that charge during the day to power the light at night. Sunne can be switched on and off by touch or using an app.
Designer Marjan van Aube developed Sunne’s solar panels in collaboration with ECN.TNO, one of Europe’s most advanced energy research centres, tests its solar cells under various light conditions at the Eindhoven University of Technology.
With Sunne light and forward-thinking, Marjan aims to update solar energy, bringing together science and stunning design. She challenges other designers, architects and brands to create products and buildings that can generate their own energy, making solar power accessible everywhere!
Honext board is a sustainable and healthy alternative to traditional partitioning and cladding made of cellulosic waste. They are lighter than common dividing materials, easy to install, free from toxic additives, fire retardant, sound and thermal insulation, and waterproof and moisture resistant.
After years of use, honext boards can be reintroduced to the industrial cycle and used again to generate new boards for a wide range of construction and design applications. We hope to see more organisations embracing circular materials before it is too late!
The boards are designed to have zero environmental impact and aim to partner with paper mills worldwide to produce panels locally.
The 03 examples presented here exemplify how different sectors – furniture, lighting and construction – have been incorporating a circular approach to eliminate or drastically reduce waste and pollution. And once again, we can confirm that garbage is indeed a human invention, a design flaw and an economic and social project. But never a mere accident.
*ph credits: Courtesy of Magis/Sunne Light/Honext panel