Designers have a key role in the transition to a sustainable plastics society. But too often they have limited knowledge of plastics as a material, and are unsure of how to use it. STEPS and Form/Design Center in Malmö have come together to start a new collaboration to increase knowledge, highlight research, and to encourage new and creative design approaches.
– We wanted to reach out to a target group that is really important for a sustainable plastics transition. Design is absolutely central to improve functionality, product life and recycling. But currently, there is a knowledge gap when it comes to working with plastics. At the same time there is also a negative debate surrounding plastics, which can be detrimental to developing new ideas, says STEPS coordinator Johanna Generosi.
A first workshop has already been organised. It took place at Form/Design Center in June. The aim was to give invited designers an introduction to plastics as a material, and to highlight some key plastics challenges. Stine Madsen and Baozhong Zhang, researhers in STEPS, and invited designers spoke at the event. .
– It was a great mix to have both researches and designers there. The talks complimented each other well, and we hope that the participants left with new knowledge and some inspiring ideas. What we really want to convey is that plastics is very versatile, and to give people a first introduction to the material.
Over the coming months, STEPS and Form/Design Center will organise further workshops. They will focus on industry, recycling and design to highlight the role of design in plastics production and waste management.
Running alongside the collaboration is a course module coordinated by Form/Design Center and STEPS for industrial students at LTH, Lund University. During the autumn, students will learn more about plastics, and produce a project based on STEPS discussion brief which outlines five pathways to a more sustainable plastics society.
The overall ambition is that the collaboration will result in an exhibition where both designers and students’ work is showcased at Form/Design Center in May 2020. The exhibition is timed to coincide with STEPS international conference and Southern Sweden Design Days.