Despite the widely agreed importance of the topic Sustainability in Art and Design for our global economy and ecology, and the concurrent urgency for us to understand and design according to sustainable principles, this subject is often taught in an information-based…
Despite the widely agreed importance of the topic Sustainability in Art and Design for our global economy and ecology, and the concurrent urgency for us to understand and design according to sustainable principles, this subject is often taught in an information-based rather than experiential manner. By restricting the teaching of sustainable design to the communication of the subject via figures, graphs and energy consumption diagrams there is a tendency to amalgamate sustainable technologies into an object or design that is ultimately ‘augmented’ by green technology rather than designed ‘green’.
The course objective is to create an active engagement with the real world of global manufacturing and fabrication technologies. It takes a holistic approach that includes an understanding of design processes in relation to the manufacturing, material and transportation necessities that are most relevant to contemporary sustainable design. Instead of teaching information abstractly, the proposed teaching method asks you, the students to develop a design project in accordance with principles of sustainability that are engrained right from the beginning and taught as being an intrinsic part of the methodology of the design process. It further enables you to document and showcase the development of your projects using a web-based interactive platform that allows wider dissemination.
Such dissemination and the associated evaluation and validation of results that it affords can accelerate the creation of IP leading to possibilities for knowledge transfer in today’s readily availability of CNC and maker facilities world wide. This method has the potential to change the traditional ways in which design is taught, produced and ultimately thaught about and designed.
As a starting point we will look in depth into an example of this type of game-changing design also known as flat-pack designs. This design and manufacturing method changed the ecological and economical reality of furniture design, leading to more sustainable design, prototyping, production and consumption.
The key question for you as students of this course is how much more holistic and discovery-enriched would teaching and learning become when student’s projects are experiential and based around the sustainability foci of materiality, logistics, fabrication and production processes?
To answer this, we will establish a real-world fabrication pipeline connecting the classroom to local manufacturing complexes. You will not only design yet as well translate your initial design prototypes into CAD (Computer Aided Design) data that is manufactured at 1:1 scale. This allows to engage with the negotiation, tooling conversion and management of a their projects by visiting production facilities in Hong Kong. This discovery based learning engages you in the processes surrounding the translation of ideas to manufactured objects.
Secondly, we established a web platform – 1to1prototypes.com. that will serve as our main form of communication outside the classroom. This website becomes a web-based knowledge platform to maintain and enrich the course beyond its first year and supports the development of the course, specifically extending it beyond the confines of the academic environment, to a global audience. This web-based platform will you the opportunity to curate and showcase your designs in an interactive customizable format, showing creation, documentation and optimization of the design prototypes using CNC manufacturing. In accordance with the discovery enriched curriculum this promotes local and global advancements, and enhances professional practice in the design of sustainable manufacturing.
The course aims to establish an applied innovative design methodology in the framework of Sustainability, through embedding 1:1 scaled industrial production, its development through CAD/CAM systems, catalogue and documentation. The course engages you in real life design and manufacturing process of prototypes. A web-platform promotes your works and leads to IP and knowledge transfer through designs that are developed for CNC cutting of sheet material such as plywood.
The course will gradually develop a series of models for furniture items including but not exclusive to chairs, tables, lamps, shelving systems and other design products. We will start with analogue paper models using cardboard and modeling tools. We will later translate the designs into digital models to create first prototypes using lasercutting. In a second step we will be creating the data for full CNC milling in full actual scale. Lastly we will document the work professionally and showcase the results in a small exhibition and the developed web platform 1to1prototypes.com.
The outcome is a continuous growing platform of realised design projects in the area of CNC optimised translations from analogue, hand-crafted paper based artefacts to digital designs.