Today we had our final presentations and I was amazed at some of the students work, especially Tim’s and Tom’s. I tried to keep my presentation as short and sweet as possible, but still I think I delivered the points I wanted to get across. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy summer!
Once I revisited my laminates and started working with them again, they continued to behave in the same way. I had to think of a new plan of attack and fast for I had very little time left to finish the final model. So I decided to incorporate a new inner box that all the panels could then be glued to, and made out of the same material. This turned out to be a success as a new supply of 5 min epoxy glue was available. Once I had the frame work there is was time to put it all together and start on the finishing sanding. This all went smoothly apart from the same glue started to seep out as I sanded. The solution to this was to let it set again then hand sand it. All in all the final product came out a little below my usual standards but for the time I had and considered the problems I encountered I’m happy with the result.
So I have spent a whole day in the workshop and all started off to plan, I had all the materials, measurements and machines I needed to start the shell of my planter. After I had cut all my pieces of sign board they were ready to glue, but there wasn’t any 5min epoxy left. This was the glue that I had used in my experiments and I knew it worked well. So I had to substitute it for different glue (poly something), this was suggested by the technicians. Once that was glued I started to sand and all the laminates started to separate. This was the kind of hump I was expecting so I decided to leave it in the press over night.
Now that I have my final idea its time to start planning the actual making of the product. I only have a week and two of these days a can’t be in the workshop so It is going to be tight cause it’s almost definite that something will end up going wrong. So I will have to make all the time I have in the workshop count. I have a pretty clear idea of how its all going to work out, but through other experiences I’m ready for possible diversion of this plan.
Planned obsolescence is one of the biggest problems involved in our modern consumerism culture, but at the same time it’s what holds the our economies together.
the economic ideology of planned obsolescence is one that has been active since the start of mass production in a push to encourage a faster turnover of goods and a higher consumption rate, thus increasing profits of the manufacturer. Have you ever wondered why products you own break or become outmoded? It’s because they have been designed to fail.
Designing to fail is no new concept it has been a tactic of companies since the industrial movement and the introduction of mass production. One of the earliest examples of planned product obsolescence is the light bulb, a product we are constantly changing. There has been a worldwide conspiracy that lightbulbs were restricted to only 1000 hours for decades and decades. This very well planned business plan was one of the company Phoebus, Who had strict manufacturing regulations that controlled the majority of light build manufacturers in the world. These strict regulations were informed by the company through heavy fines to any manufacturer that produced a product of higher quality than set. This meant that eventually bulbs went from lasting an average of 2500 hours to just 1000, increasing the turnover of product but also more than doubling the amount of waste produced. Although this was great fora struggling economy at the time it is a very big sustainability problem which we are only now seeing to become priority.
Planned obsolescence has been a utopian ideology that many people of the last century have seen as great solution to feed our economy, and from that perspective it is! But there are underlying factors and ethics that flaw this utopian concept. The worlds resources are being stripped at a rate that it cannot keep up with and the amount of waste that is being produced is beyond disgusting. It’s a really hard situation we have gotten ourselves into. We are at a point where we rely on this constant flow of consumer goods, that is only possible through planned obsolescence. If there was no planned obsolescence there would be millions of people unemployed and the economy would plummet, so maybe a slow and gradual turn to sustainability is the answer but then again its almost going to be impossible. If we can start with designers that are thinking in a way that is sustainable and quality driven then I think maybe, just maybe we have a chance.
Planned obsolescence. The objective of designing a product in a way that encourages premature replacement, whether the product is been out moded or has just been designed of poor quality on purpose. Its a serious environmental problem and its only getting bigger. In North America, 100 million cell phones and 300 million personal computers are discarded each year, and only 20,000 televisions are refurbished each year while 20 million are sold. (Joseph Guiltinan Journal of Business Ethics (2009) 89:19–28). With constant developments in technology and materials we are seeing rapid changes in products especially in the last decade. Products are being discarded almost instantly as our culture of consumerism tells us we must have the latest. What is it that makes us want to discard perfectly good products into obsolescence for something only slightly better in performance or appearance.
Extreme advances in not only Technology but in the skill and knowledge of todays industrial designers have enabled companies to start developing and produce products in almost every category of durable goods. The nature of the materials that are often required and the rapid pace of product upgrading have resulted in negative environmental consequences for consumers and society.(cf. Calcott and Walls, 2005). Industrial designers and engineers of these products encourage this persistent replacement of products through the incorporation of new and enticing features, styles and materials. These constant new benefits being incorporated into these products is initially instigated by companies and firms marketing team who advertise the additional value these frequent upgrades. Upgrades that are impossible to incorporate into existing products, due the materials and components incorporated by the designers and engineers. Thus in turn reducing the recyclability of the product and forcing it into obsolescence.
Don’t get me wrong, advances in technology and new innovation is good to a certain extent. But some of these advances may not always be worth the cost to the individual consumers nor to society. For example when these goods are being designed and engineered in product development for intentional demise they are only creating ongoing cost to the consumer and the environment, yet we still buy them. We as consumers have been over the years have been ‘psychologically conditioned’ (2009) to believe that the products we currently own have been diminished or outmoded, only because of a new version or development that could be as small as slightly faster processor in our cell phone or computer. Offering frequent product ‘‘upgrades’’ while touting minor or illusory beneﬁt improvements might be considered a wasteful and potentially misleading practice (cf. Giaretta, 2005).
In conclusion planned obsolescence is driven by technological advancement and skillful engineers and designers, under the push of companies and their marketing teams to put out the newest and best. We all like to have the latest gadgets, and it definitely proves a certain social status, and these companies are making billions by our mindless co-operation. It’s only costing us and our environment.
So society has found it’s self in a bit of a pickle as the world slowly gets stripped of resources as a result of consumerism. We are all part of it, and it is definitely part of us. We are culturally program med to consume and most of us aren’t even conscious of it. How can we turn consuming into something pleasant and sustainable? We need to start from the top and slowly change the processes and values of companies manufacturing these products and also the designers who design these products to last a minimal amount of time.
As designers in NZ I think we are lucky that there rare so many examples of good quality sustainable design. But parts of the world aren’t so lucky, as commercial greed drives a lot of the design overseas. How do we as designers push sustainability through our designs? Quality! If we are using quality materials and processes that will last the rate of consumption will reduced as the products we design will last longer. Not only should our products shout quality, but everything right down to packaging and advertising. If everything is included into the product and everything can be treasured it will reduce the amount of crap we throw away.
Another aspect of these designs driven by the commercial world is trends after trends after trends. As a designer I want to be able to produce work that is timeless, because good design is design that stands the test of time. If more people design with this in mind more consumers will appreciate it. With the ever increasing waste we are producing as a planet, re-using materials is slowly becoming an essential part of sustainable design which is really exciting to see, and I for one am very exciting about giving this a go myself in our latest ‘Material Re-use Project’.
So my aim for this project will be to incorporate all the values I have discussed into a all round sustainable treasure. Something that is timeless, clean and desirable. If we can all get behind these exciting movements of sustainable design I think we can slowly change the attitudes of not only designers and the commercial world, but the attitudes of consumerism in todays society.