Last Thursday 9th February we celebrated the first cycle of #BRIGHTalks in our Princesa showroom, an event where we could talk about the new paradigm of sustainability. Pepa Casado, founder of Futurea; Àlex Jiménez, designer of Nutcreatives; and Mar López, Chief Design & Sustainability Officer of Faro Barcelona, were able to chat with more than fifty design professionals who came to this meeting.
Here are some of the conclusions we were able to draw:
Life-centred design, not just people-centred design
"We need to move beyond the user-centred design paradigm to look not just at people, but at all life".
During the session, new ways of addressing sustainability in design were discussed. Under the concept of 'life-centered design' it was questioned whether the user-centered paradigm could be partly responsible for the environmental problems we are facing. Àlex Jiménez, founder of Nutcreatives, a studio specializing in sustainable design, said: "The paradigm shift from user-centred design to life-centered design demands responsibility from all parties involved. Users will have to consider different ways of using products, and companies will have to rethink the way they relate to their customers. Only a concerted effort by all will ensure a longer life for the products we use".
As Pepa Casado, founder of Futurea, explained very well, this new way of looking at sustainability is undoubtedly accelerated by the specific context, "the end of abundance is going to be a transcendental moment. This is a moment in which design must be a tool for change, as it is in our hands to learn from the mistakes of the past, and that the time of crisis we live in does not end up replicating consumption models that are harmful to the environment".
This is precisely the approach to sustainability that Faro Barcelona is developing, as explained by Mar López, Chief Design & Sustainability Officer of the brand. "In a world where zero consumption seems impossible, the aim is to find a balance. Our aim is to produce in a more conscious way, improving our processes and products. If we're going to keep doing what we do, let's at least do it well".
Is there reason to be optimistic about sustainability?
One of the conclusions that emerged around the debate on the question of where sustainability stands and whether we are on time was optimism.
This is how Àlex Jiménez put it: "in design there are still reasons to be optimistic. We must learn to read the moment in which we find ourselves in order to do things well, because there is no alternative. We have to make this transformation, we can't afford to pay the price of not changing the way we do things".
This transformation has been embraced by the professional sector and certainly by some companies who have made a serious commitment, rather than treating it merely as a marketing exercise. This is the case at Faro Barcelona, where sustainability forms part of our business strategy when it comes to producing designs that have a lower environmental impact. "Environmental awareness is a fact and is increasingly internalized when it comes to design. You no longer need to specify in a briefing that the product has to be sustainable, which of course it is, but it is a value that is taken for granted," explains Mar López.
Is design a tool for change?
As Pepa Casado stated: "Design is demonstrating through paradigms such as 'designed to last' that comfort and respect for the environment can go hand in hand, that being sustainable does not mean giving up everything, but changing what we understand by quality of life to put at the centre, not only all people, but all living beings and nature".
For his part, Àlex Jiménez believes that "we cannot be sure that the future of the environment will be perfect, but it will be better. We know the outcome, but the path is very difficult to determine. That is why I believe that the efforts that many companies and organisations are making to ensure a better future should be valued and taken into consideration as a strategic vision of the paradigm shift that we need to set in motion".
Undoubtedly, the role of industry in Spain will be crucial, but this way of conceiving design has already infiltrated it, as Mar López explains: "environmental awareness is a fact and is increasingly internalized when it comes to design".
With this meeting, Faro Barcelona brings professionals closer to the concept of life-centered design in the first edition of BRIGHTalks.
For this event we had the collaboration of the Kombuchas brand Komvida, a commitment to a healthy and 100% ecological drink.
The BRIGHTalks cycle is a meeting promoted by Faro Barcelona and curated by Futurea. A series of thematic meetings with creatives from the sector where new design narratives are explored through conversations in which different professionals share ideas with the aim of inspiring and illuminating visions of new and better futures.
What lights you up? See you at our next session “Hotels that inspire” on 27 April 2023.