This article will be a bit different from the rest. I realized I have never talked about myself and the reasons behind this trip. Why am I doing this? Why did I leave for four months to meet designers? Why am I always talking about sustainability? Why am I sharing all of this, with all of you?
Let me introduce myself. My name is Victor DUGUET, I am a French industrial designer and for three years I have been working as a freelancer. During this time, I have worked for a range of companies – from start-ups to multinationals. I had the opportunity to excel in product design, my main focus, but also in interior design, UX/UI design, graphic design and CAD. Getting the opportunity to work in many different areas helped me find what I wanted to specialize in.
In 2014, I had a very memorable teacher, David L’hote. He sparked a change in my thinking, particularly towards sustainability. I became very interested in the subject and discovered that a significant proportion of the population is unaware or ambivalent about sustainability. I found this dishearteneing. As a result, I wanted to create a design studio that would specialize in sustainable design. I must note, this doesn’t mean I only want to work in projects based around sustainability – just that I want to create products that have less negative impact on the planet. To do this, I have to explore sustainable design right? I asked myself, where is the best place to do it and how can I achieve it?
Well, by doing my job. Getting into the field, trying to understand how design studios work all around the world and how some of them are bringing sustainability into every project they do like Locus Research.
To gain a wider perspective, I wanted to visit a number of different countries. This also allows me to discover new cultures. I am currently in New Zealand. I’m going next in Australia, Canada, Sweden and I’ll finish my trip in Danemark. About New Zealand, the Maori culture is particularly interesting for many reasons. The Maori people lived closely with nature, never taking more than they needed to. This is an early example of sustainable living. Why don’t we do the same?
There are similar parallels with the aboriginal people of Australia. So far, I am really pleased with my journey. I have talked with organizations like Resident, Locus Research and Sam KEBBELL – an architect trying to introduce more sustainability to New Zealand buildings. He explained how the architectural process works here in NZ. Costs to build a house are already high and incorporating a sustainability aspect increase it by about 10% to 20%. Sam KEBBEL is trying to include sustainability in the brief of every building. It’s not always successful, but the principle is admirable. The New Zealand government appears to be committed to sustainability, but in reality, it’s deceiving. The actual requirements for a building to be classified as sustainable are too low, instead it has been employed more as a marketing strategy.
It is our duty to try and change this way of thinking. We need to start thinking about our planet. I’m not suggesting stopping production, rather producing in a smarter way – the right way. Designers are at the forefront of production and so have the opportunity and really the obligation to commit to sustainable design.This is why I’m sharing my journey with you. Individually, I can only contribute so much, but by sharing these articles with you, the reader, I’m hoping to encourage a collective interest in sustainability. I know I’m not the only one pursuing this, but the more we are, the better.