Constellation 6/8 – Redirective Practice

  • de-materialisation – good word

replace products with services concieve

support products with services

long life products

Redirective Practice

The future of the debate

  • efficiency needs to give way to slower consumption
  • About taking the way we conceive  (design) things and value them and changing it as it’s unsustainable
  • How do we decouple ourselves from this system and find and alternative way to meet the wants and needs we have

Products embody an unsustainable system/paradigm – we need to change the nature of products to reflect a sustainable society.

The theory goes that by changing individual products one at a time we can alter the system within which they exist.

Tony Fry

  • Designs currently helping to ‘defuture’ us – literally taking the future away from us by removing the future resources we will need to advance.
  • Designed objects and products aren’t just in themselves using resources and creating waste, but are influencing the consumers behaviour to make us wasteful and this is far more impactful than the products themselves Design Designs (1999)
  • ‘We design our world while our world acts back on us and designs us’ (Wills, A.2007)
  • Promoting sustainable behaviours through designed objects.

– automatic kettle can be turned on and forgotten about over and over wasting energy

-simple whistle kettle is loud and constant, forcing you to turn it off and/or use it

Stuart Walkeryoutube



In this lecture we explored the notion that if something needs to change in our level of consumption, perhaps streamlining products and reducing their impact is not the only or even best way to reduce our consumption. The lecture centered around the idea that products have the power to change how we think. As we build new products that make tasks easier we view those tasks with less importance or significance and may actually increase our consumption. An example given was a kettle. The majority of people own a kettle which will automatically turn off once the water has boiled, this means we can lave it to  do the task and focus on other things. This can result in us forgetting about the brew we about to make until the water has cooled sufficiently that the kettle needs boiling again, this is highly wasteful as a kettle consumes huge amounts of energy during the boiling process. An older style kettle with a whistle will draw your attention and be annoying until you turn it off, making you aware it’s ready for use. Thus the second boiling is unnecessary.

The way we view consumer products must change in order for our consumption to drop. The onus must be on us, not the products we build to be less impactful. By changing individual products one at a time, we can alter the system within which they exist. The whistle kettle changes the behavior of the consumer.


Author: David Rothwell

I am a Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan School of Art and Design If you like any of my work, have feedback (good or bad) or would like to get in touch, please do

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