This industrial engagement, data gathering exhibition, lecture and conference contribution presents methodological approaches / tools to generating 'meaningful waste materials'. It continues the strand of work that Nick Gant and I have sustained for over a decade, 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, 2004) and Sole Searching, (ongoing). The project aims to ascend the value of waste materials through the exploitation of their inherent material narratives which in turn facilitate consumer awareness of material issues and authenticate their sustainable products through material language and stories.
Data was gathered from the audience of designers and marketeers from leading fashion, apparel and product design brands (Adidas, IDEO, Philips, Dragon Rouge) as part of the PUMA Sustainable Design Collective group and series developed by UOB and IF:Lab colleague Jonathan Chapman.
The exhibition required participants to assess the 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 waste materials in terms of their meaning, value and applicability to their industry and / or discipline.
The research 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.
The research forms a lexicon of 'valuable' waste material vocabularies which in turn form part of a design education modules 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.