Slow Design, a paradigm shift in design philosophy


This paper discusses the economic models which drive design, the role of the designers, the existing design paradigm and its legacy. New paradigms are sought in education and design practice. Design professionals were challenged over thirty years ago with a new paradigm called 'Design for Need'. Yet little has changed and, despite the development of a new models to consider the full gamut of human needs, many designers still favour solutions which celebrate their, often, egocentric visions rather sustainable solutions. Design hovers in an ideological vacuum and designers wear the mantle of stylists to the powerful. So it is opportune to examine a new design paradigm, 'slow design'. Slow design celebrates the culture of largo; slow design is beautiful; slow design is about well-being; slow design is sustainable; slow design is durable; slow design is pluralistic. Slow design offers fresh, innovative and creative opportunities for designers.

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    Preview · Article · Dec 2006 · Journal of Cleaner Production
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    ABSTRACT: It has been argued in recent years that Western economies need to increase their resource productivity by 90% over the next 50 years. This is a radical aim. This paper draws on design for sustainability (DfS) thinking to scope interventions that encourage greater levels of resource productivity through reconfiguring concepts of growth and well-being within organisational strategies, structures, systems, processes and outputs. Based on research from a UK EPSRC funded project Design Dialogues (2005-2008), this paper links together sustainable design and innovation literatures and dialogue-based primary research that together inform the development of an approach to innovation for sustainability. The emphasis on sustainable innovation is to understand what is designed (the outputs of business) and why (the inputs: the values, beliefs, visions and objectives) within a context of ecological limits. The foundations of this approach are introduced here in order to demonstrate the potential to provoke a new way of thinking about longer-term organisational innovation through making explicit the intrinsic connections between natural and human capitals. This paper explores the need to think differently in order to create sustainability and presents the outcome of this research: a methodology for innovation for sustainability.
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