Speculation and sustainability

Discursive digital design
2019 Digital prototyping

In a four-week project, students in the first year Digital Prototyping course engaged with the UN Sustainability Goals and notions of speculative design, discursive design and design fiction.

The goal was to generate knowledge in and through a speculative design approach, utilising digital materials and prototyping techniques around a chosen theme of sustainable development. People outside the design process were also engaged with, to evaluate how the designed artifacts were “working” as discursive design.

Students were asked to avoid:

  • One-liners: projects which hinge on a simplistic or superficial perspective of sustainability
  • Black Mirror rejects: dramatic, dystopian futures lacking subtlety or openness for questioning/interpretation
  • A better mousetrap: the concepts and artifacts produced in the design work are not supposed to embody a solution
Greta: A little sound leads to great action
Aziza Bahadiddinova, Andrei Băjeu, Mounika Damera, Kim Sundnér, Simon Ulvsand

Greta's physical form
Greta's physical form

Greta proposes a shoulder-mounted audio shroud which gives constant audio feedback on the sustainability impact of products around you. Reflecting that sustainability is multi-dimensional and individuals care about different factors, an app allows the user to change a filter. For example, distinguishing products by how far away they were produced, their total carbon footprint and so on.

Fariborz Ghardir, Monica Posmaesi, Denisa Bucuroiu, Weronika Wierzba, Cathrine Jarting

Strawmore recasts cheap, disposable plastic straws as luxury goods. Straws bought for conspicuous consumption and collecting and made of exotic materials. Physical mock-ups were made alongside an online shopping experience.