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By Russ Cooper
It’s a sure sign spring has truly sprung when students get their greenness growing at the annual design conference, Salon international du design d’intérieur de Montréal (SIDIM).
Every year, Concordia design and computation arts students put forth their brave new ideas for eco-design at the show (see Journal, June 14, 2007). This year, 12 Concordia students were among the group of 30 from the design schools of UQÀM and UdeM displaying their work along side numerous design industry professionals at Place Bonaventure, May 27 to 29.
“Eco-design is all about the philosophy of designing objects, the built environment and services to comply with the principles of economic, social and ecological sustainability. It can be applied in many fields but in our case, its through industrial design,” said part-time Computer Arts instructor Jeremy Petrus, the first time instructor of DART 448 – the Ecology and 3D Design class.
The DART 448 course, oriented towards the construction of functional prototypes to be presented at SIDIM, incorporates strategies including design for disassembly, recuperation, recycling and lifecycle analysis. The real challenge, states Petrus, is to incorporate all the possible layers of sustainability together.
“There are so many design strategies to apply in any project, but the goal is always to minimize environmentally destructive impacts on the natural world,” he says.
Petrus, who also teaches industrial design at UdeM and is a freelance designer, coordinated the student projects for all three schools for the SIDIM show.
“It’s not always about recycling materials; it’s about intention,” says Petrus, stating that an object built with strength, durability and timelessness in mind – something that will last for many years – is just as worthy of the eco-design label as objects putting forward the ethos of energy efficiency or reusing materials.
“The projects make one think about the way we live, dispose, reuse, recycle, buy, dispose... and that’s an important part of the show; to make people think further than aesthetics and consumption.
“We certainly hope this exercise will bring their design skills, as well as the future of design, to another level.”