This industrial engagement, data gathering exhibition and lecture at the head quarters of global lifestyle and sportswear brand PUMA curated a range of methodological approaches to systematically generating and exploiting 'meaningful materials'. It continues the strand of work that Tanya and I have sustained, relating to material language and meaning initiated with Lucite International (‘In Love In Lucite’, winner of the Business Design Association award for Design Effectiveness with Elmwood 1999), Marriage of Materials (winner of Crafts Council and 100% Design Award, 2002) and Sole Searching (ongoing).
Data was gathered from the audience of designers and marketeers from leading fashion, apparel and product design brands as part of the PUMA Sustainable Design Collective group and series developed by IF:Lab colleague Jonathan Chapman.
The exhibition required participants to assess the ten methodological approaches that were presented via a range of physical and digital objects and material samples accompanied by 'material stories' placed within modern cultural contexts. The audience graded the materials in terms of their meaning, value and applicability to their industry and / or discipline, resulting in new research to be applied to their industrial concerns as global product development brands.
The research and data was disseminated via a specific report for WGSN (the worlds largest trend forecasting company with subscribers from leading brands such as Apple, Nike and Walmart). PUMA filmed the event and accompanying lecture and broadcast it at their global design summits and design and marketing offices internationally and the methods contributed to PUMA's 50 ways to do sustainable design, brand tools. The research was also presented at The Making Futures Conference (2013) and Poetics and Praxis - Research Through Design (2013).
The research forms a lexicon of material vocabularies which in turn are the basis for a multi-disciplinary design education module and methodological approaches that can be applied to a range of contexts in the promotion more sustainable materials and in mediating ethical issues, sustainability and material science through product design.