Open University Podcast: Design and Sustainability

Open University Podcast: Design and Sustainability

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Emily Han
Oct 15, 2009

Is your "green" chair truly sustainable? What makes something totally beautiful or secretly ugly? A series of podcasts from Open University aims to educate designers and consumers about these and other key issues in product design.

The series, called Design and Sustainability, consists of seven episodes:

• The five principles in design project work
• Incorporating sustainability in product design
• The designer's role in sustainable development
• The history of a chair
• The five principles of sustainability
• Testing standards
• Consumer product testing

The course falls under OU's Engineering and Technology section and, we'll be honest, the videos are a bit dry as they're produced for educational, not entertainment, purposes. You won't find gorgeous cinematography or graphics here. However, they are still fascinating and thought-provoking for consumers as well as those in the design industry.

We found "The history of a chair" episode particularly interesting. Lecturer Edwin Datschefski introduces stimulating concepts like "hidden ugliness," "total beauty," and how to ensure that the entire lifecycle of a product is elegant. Other episodes show us the design of consumer products like televisions and dishwashers.

So many products are labeled "green" or "sustainable" these days, and this podcast offers a helpful framework for thinking about all aspects of true sustainability, including materials, energy, safety, efficiency, and social impact.

Watch or download the episodes:
Open University: Design and Sustainability

Also check out:
Edwin Datschefski's BioThinking: Product Design

Related: Biothinking's Top 40 Greenest Products

(Image: Flickr member queercatkitten licensed under Creative Commons)

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