In an age of the easily consumed and the easily discarded there is a deepening responsibility on the designer to fully understand how and why products are created – and what creates an enduring design. Emotional attachment, repairable products and personalisation are all areas which can create products that people want to keep, but what about the vast swathes of products that are destined for landfill? Can they be rescued, repaired and rejuvenated into products with a second life?
Upcycling is no longer solely a design buzz word, with new products proudly displaying their previous lives on their altered and repurposed sleeves. And it was this in mind that Product Design Course leader Diane Simpson-Little developed a brief with the Brighton and Hove branch of the charity Emmaus, to create a series of new, saleable products from the huge quantities of donated goods.
As well as products that can be immediately resold, there are lots of items which are amassed by charities that have little resale value, so the challenge for the first year Product Designers was to identify these opportunities and create new products that could be replicated for resale either by Emmaus, or in a DIY format by their customers.
After a visit to the Portslade based Emmaus to collect a range of dontated goods ripe for reinvention, the designers set about developing their own products, using simple and low cost construction methods.
A big variety of products were created, from a chair – repaired, repainted and covered with vintage maps, to vinyl record topped tables and display stands and lights featuring Chinese hats, old music sheets and kilner jars and even playing cards and water bottles. All the new products utilised items easily found in charity shops across the UK and added value to the individual components that they were constructed from.
As well as their products, the designers have also created a ‘how to’ sheet, showing other prospective upcyclers how to replicate the products themselves – all of which are due to be shown at Emmaus in the near future…
watch this space for the dates, which will be revealed on CbU soon…