31 March 2008

The end of consumer culture?

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Hugh Graham asks some serious questions about the role designers in promoting consumer culture, in a wider context of sustainability.

“Should designers work toward the end of aspirational consumer culture? Can the design industry, broadly defined, reposition and reinvent itself to provide value and sustainability while still creating desire?” […]

“It occurs to me that there needs to be a new paradigm of consumption, one that will work for business, community, and environment. I don’t know what form this new paradigm will take, but I believe it has something to do with learning to appreciate the real value of things and their place in our world.

Designers have an opportunity to engage in this paradigm shift. Part of the story lies in creating products that have intrinsic and lasting value, products that I like to call artisanal. And part of the story lies in better communicating the value of the artisanal. I believe that designers have an ethical duty to work toward the end of disposable culture. Of course, this isn’t going to happen overnight, and it’s not going to happen in vacuum. But it is going to happen, whether we choose to be a part of the process or not. Better to engage the future rather than have it thrust upon us.”

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(via Niti Bhan on Core77)

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