Sustainable Design Approaches Using Waste Furniture Materials for Design Practitioners.

Lee, Sua (2019) Sustainable Design Approaches Using Waste Furniture Materials for Design Practitioners. Doctoral thesis, Buckinghamshire New University (Awarded by Coventry University).

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Sustainability has become one of the core concerns of 21st century designers and makers. However, it is still evident that not every designer considers a choice of sustainable materials, manufacturing methods, afterlife or second use of their designs for furniture and other products unless the client, brief, customer or user demands it. This research stemmed from a curiosity of the recycling practices of domestic households in England, the author’s country of residence, and investigates how designers can make use of post-consumer waste. The lack of established research for practice-based design practice with waste materials for designers has led to the development of a naturalistic approach within this work which is both craft-based and commercially focused. The central aim of the study is to explore how designs are sustainably approached in the commercial context of young furniture design companies in the UK, and to propose a set of practical guidance through design outcomes to help young entrepreneurs to deal with environmental issues via design and waste material reuse. This study functions as an articulation of the research journey that provides a discursive platform for dialogue and review, facilitating new insights into creative practice that contributes to new knowledge by efficiently crafting objects in a commercial context using discarded materials. This then proves that this form of waste can be adaptable and practicable as a main material for upcycling into commercial products in repeatable batch production runs. Primary research, including design exhibitions and interviews in order to inform the debate on environmental issues concerning furniture and products design, has formed a significant platform for a series of design and make responses. In addition, surveys have been conducted so as to compile the appropriate statistics and practical case studies of furniture and products produced through environmentally sensitive methods have been carried out. The primary case study for this will be Furniture Magpies,1 a furniture design and making company which the author co-founded as a member of the cooperative enterprise. As this research is practically driven, the final result has been demonstrated not only in this document but also through the production of a furniture and product collection to help gain a practised understanding of reusing elements of furniture waste as a primary material source and make creative connections through a structured process of reflection and discussion on practice. This work may inspire designers and makers to reconsider the use of waste materials in their practice, to discover the beauty and usefulness of these materials, and through a structured design process using the guidelines make attractive commercial products, raise awareness of material reuse, and make a positive impact on the environment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Design using waste material, Upcycle, Sustainable design practice. Waste reuse design
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2019 12:17
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2019 12:17

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