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businesses in student projects. This concept
of collaborative interdisciplinary work can
create a sustainable synergy between students, professionals, and the community.
The Pursuit of Elegance
Often, when a complicated element is
reduced to its most perfect, pure, and simplest form via design, it is regarded as elegant. The pursuit of elegance is the pursuit
of improvement and perfection, and many
elements of an elegant design are inherently sustainable. The reduction of parts,
cost, waste, and complication generally yield
favorable metrics toward sustainability, and
are often qualities of great designs as well.
Design for Disassembly,
Repurposing, and Reparability
Not only can design for disassembly reduce
a display’s footprint, it may also help
reduce its carbon footprint. Student proj-
ects that require a fixture or element to
break down for shipping, storage, disposal,
Microwaves are typically not repairable,
but bicycles are. What if the essence of the
reparability and upgradability of a bicycle
were integrated into a store and its fixtures?
The consideration of design for reparability
and upgradability may conceptually increase
the sustainability-based impact of a retail
environment, while reducing costs. Exercises
in which the components within a design are
consciously developed for reparability help
students understand the impact and responsibility of design.
With technology such as computer software and 3D printers, a student can be
completely removed from the design systems required for a piece to be produced.
Becoming immersed within the systems of a
design is beneficial to sustainability. Crafting
infers that the design is actually created and
sourced by the student, and the one-of-a-
kind nature of crafting allows students to
break the rules of how a design manifests.
A PERSONAL CHOICE
Within the retail industry, there is plenty
of room for sustainability-related values.
Whether a company is engaged in sustainability or not, many of the topics discussed
are simply good for design and for business.
Ultimately, the extent of sustainability integrated into a student’s professional career
is purely a personal choice. Eventually, each
student shall individually decide just how
their sustainability-related education will
affect their lives, and the lives of those who
experience their future designs.
Wesley Woelfel is a member of A.R.E.’s Sustainability
Council and instructs design
students as assistant
professor of design at
California State University,
Long Beach, Calif.
This popular event series combines networking and
education for retailers, store planners, and visual
merchandisers. Shoptalk is a place to talk shop and meet
fellow professionals in an informal setting. More details
A.R.E. Shoptalk Returns
This Fall to a City Near You
DALLAS AND TORON TO
CI TY SPONSOR:
TORONTO GOLD SPONSOR:
NEW YORK CI T Y SPONSOR: DALLAS CI TY SPONSOR: SEATTLE GOLD SPONSOR: sponsors as of 7/16/13