In the Eye of the Storm: Designing Culture & the Coming Age of Unsettlement

Redesigning design is the only solution Tony Fry deems possible to save our unsustainable world. In order for humanity to live on and prosper, we must change our cultural behavior. Currently, our model of production and consumption is detrimental to all human and non-human life. Instead, Fry argues the model should go from one based on production, to one based on making and destroying.

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Sustainable architect, William McDonough also agrees with this close-loop design method. McDonough’s Mirra chair, which is sold at Herman Miller Inc., is a definitive example of this design system based on extracting as much material value as possible without hurting the ecosystems involved.

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Fry’s Redirective Practice is based on acknowledging our current system’s inability to sustain the future. Democracy and capitailsm do not harbor close-loop design, therefore, Fry believes we must reconsider our political and economic systems to encompass and be sensitive towards all living things, including animals. He admits there will be difficulty in accepting this change, but also acknowledges the fact that designing for the common good will prepare us for what is to come.

Janine Benyus offers solutions for designing for the future. Biomimicry is based on the natural systems of the world. She poses questions including “how does life make the most of things? and how do these things disappear into systems?” in order to translate nature’s solutions into sustainable design solutions.

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The one thing in common that all of these designers possess is the understanding that the state of the world is irreprable. Instead of being depressed about this outlook, they have come together and challenged and lectured against the status quo. Their motivation, intelligent discourse, and concern for our world is what humanity needs in order to remain alive.

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