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Subject:

Re: Design, theory, marketing and environment

From:

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Date:

Thu, 7 Sep 2000 09:19:43 -0400

Content-Type:

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text/plain (73 lines)



Chris, Norm and Ken,

Thanks for the emails, I am going to take some time to read about Adam Smith and
catch up on where green design has got to as well. I am aware of the work of
Yorrick Benjamin (UN effort), who was already vocal at the RCA, so I have some
idea of the issues.  I read through Bob Este's very thought provoking email and
it is concurs with the overall bleak picture we are facing. -

"I think re-thinking design, however slightly, may well increase our
chances of survival (although it may also be too late -- the outcomes
are uncertain)."

The angst prevalent in my earlier two emails is a result of having worked in a
place that espoused green design and yet did exactly the opposite. After firing
off the emails and driving home I thought about my local supermarket - what was
in it that was green, and I sadly came to the conclusion - very little. Barbecue
charcoal?

Philippe Starck's SABA TV was a step in the right direction and I have seen it
available for purchase in a chain store in France, (amazing). The iMAC is the
antithesis of green - maybe we should call it 'brown' design, with obvious
connotation.

The product is beautiful, really beautiful. But, it is designed with intended
obsolescence. It will date, together with 'translucency' as an idea very
quickly, just as those green and brown bathroom's did in the eighties.
Translucency requires top quality 'new', unrecycled plastic - it has also
spawned so much copying - all in the same vein. How much eco damage? It has made
most PCs so dated overnight that society is now trashing older technology in
greater numbers.

   We could try as designers to minimise the use of all plastics - metals,
   glass, leather, ceramics and wood are really beautiful, they often age so
   well too.
   We could 'd-Design' objects - instead of the 'next' CD player - the 'last' CD
   player.
   We could design for five to ten years (sixth of a person's average life) not
   'this year' only.
   We could design objects that can be fixed or re-used or simply last until
   re-cycling - my main issues.

The Maglite torch is durable and time independant, as is the Landrover (70%
still on road?). They are not green in how they function but in how they are.

These points must exist in manifestos elsewhere, but I am trying to act by them
in my own small way.

Finally, seeing a young person with the Nike logo as a tattoo speaks volumes
about what we are facing as a society. Both Rockefeller and Marx held similar
views about the final result of un-restrained capitalism.

We are teaching designers to actively fuel this monster.

Help, if there is a wave of revolution and academic sentiment - now is the time.

Glenn













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