Redesign Design

For the last few years, there has been increasing conversation on sustainable ways of production and circular economy, yet when one tries to design and promote such a product to their client, they are often met with disbelief and rejection. Even when a designer sets out to create sustainable products through contemporary methods as a test to themselves, they are faced with questions of waste vs appearance, time vs final quality and many others. Is it fiction, for small design teams to practice sustainable making from the drawing board to the final product?


In this product series, the process of creating corporate gifts for the guests of the Cyprus University of Technology, was examined as an ideal opportunity to explore "acrobatic" modes of creation. A series of prototypes were made inspired from the university logo, each bringing out a different set of social commentary regarding perceptions of making.  A desk organizer made of stainless steel and reclaimed wood from demolition sites, copper lights with led's made in a country which does not recycle copper, brass rulers attached to waste beech/ walnut, vases from leftover construction beams holding discarded test tubes from vanilla pod packages...


Social commentary and questioning:


- Would you choose to gift one of these desk organizers on behalf of your company?

- Would you feel less appreciated if it was given to you as a gift?

- Is it ethical to use animal glue?

- Can a maker promise large quantities or ensure to serve size preferences if they are only working with upcycled packaging and construction offcuts?

- Is it ok to say that you are making a vase and therefore serving the largely unsustainable florist market, or should it be called "a container for cuttings taking root"?

- Would the western corporate world accept the obvious yet invevitable imperfections as worthy of more value or less?

- Is the machinery we operate equipped to serve humanity in a sustainable manner?


This is a work-in-progress leading towards the composition of a guide for sustainable making, through presentations, expert contributions, exhibitions, and round table discussions. The project was exhibited at WIP 2023 | Modes of Creation under the “Care” category, where the makers were invited to lead a round table discussion posing a very basic question: What is sustainable design


It will also be presented at the Fifth International Conference on Semiotics of Culture and Visual Communication where the study will focus on exploring how big an obsacle the Anthropocene becomes, in our efforts as makers to practise sustainable making.


The project, under development with the invaluable contribution of Konstantina Achilleos and Tuomas Venäläinen (Dio Dio Collective) aims towards the development of a sustainable practise meter. It's very first version can be found here.

Materials used: