Sustainable design is based on human-centered design strategy from systemic perspective, with the key goal of balancing economic, environmental and socio-cultural aspects in the creation of concepts, products and systems in the long term. The key aim is to establish the multifaceted qualities of objects, processes, services and their systems in whole life cycles and to create new ways for linking environmental life cycle considerations with material development. The holistic system approach focuses on design of alternative sustainable production and consumption models by closing material cycles including both forward and backward flows in integrated supply chains, creating alternative scenarios of product use and dematerialization of systems in the ways that meet consumer needs in a less resource intensive way.

The role of designer is to act as a visual interpreter and facilitator of interaction between the various actors, actions and effects of the system and to support the trans disciplinary process of collaboration by creating new ways to define problems, build knowledge, communicate and create solutions with and for new categories of stakeholders. The exploitation of the methods of explorative prototyping and concept design are essential to generate new design-driven activities, ideas for the cellulose ecosystem and to create the foundations for product opportunities. Early phase prototyping provide new insights not only into the material’s properties, but as well into the more holistic understanding of potential limits and benefits of cellulosic materials and their properties regarding on the intrinsic technological characteristics, perceptual and associative properties that can have a great effect to the feasibility of the novel cellulosic materials.

Exploration and tinkering with the materials in CHEMARTS lab.
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New fibers from dyed waste textiles and unexploited natural materials by Eugenia Smirnova & Zhen Zeng. Photo: Eeva Suorlahti
Cover photo: Maija Järviniemi