Monday, 16 April 2018

Say No To Plastic, Better By Design

Today we’re welcoming design students from the Brighton MET College as they install their No To Plastic exhibition.

A few weeks ago we invited students from the design department along to Brighton Toy and Model Museum to look at old fashioned design and manufacturing. It was noticed that in the ‘Make Do and Mend’ era toys weren’t made of plastic, but metal, wood, fabric, even paper. Children would be encouraged buy toys such as Meccano to make their own toys, half the fun being the construction of the object itself.

MET, design, display, sustainability, reuse, recycling,
So while we’re increasingly conscious of the need to reduce the amount of plastic we use, especially single use plastic, we are also realising the need to use sustainable and re-usable materials for the things we manufacture. It’s often observed that many things made in times gone by were built to last while today we often talk about ‘built-in obsolescence’, a process by which consumer durables are made with materials which will wear out or fail after a certain period, creating a need to replace the product which, if made of durable materials, would last far longer.

Better Design Improves the Environment

When they do fail, many of these goods end up in landfill or in the environment.  Today there is a plaque of plastic two to three times the size of France floating in the Pacific and it’s estimated that in a few years there will actually be more plastic than fish in the sea. Obviously the solution is to reduce the amount of plastic we throw away, and to make that easier, we need to reduce the amount of plastic we use in the first place. This exhibition looks at the way products used to be produced and looks at ways of making that model viable again in a throw-away consumer driven economy.

Steve Follen, design lecturer at the Brighton MET College said “We wanted to give the students the experience of working for a real client, with strict deadlines and an evolving brief. They had to work in teams and communicate with one another, which is a key skill in any design process. We gave them a short amount of time to complete their design, which really challenged them.”

And it’s interesting to see what the students have produced. Some have taken the brief to ‘re-use’ quite literally, incorporating well known iconic elements such as branding and logos into the finished product, while others have created unique objects which show no trace of their origins, giving the impression of being brand new while in reality their heritage is anything but.

Outstanding Design is Inconspicuous

The exhibition has been so created that it fits in with all the exhibits that were already on display in the museum. Display cases have been built which look very similar to the ones we use all the time, making the exhibition flow and become one with the family favourites that we have on display every day.

MET, design, display, sustainability, reuse, recycling,
If you’re interested in seeing the exhibition it’s open all the time the museum is, until the end of May. MET College students and their guests get an extra 10% discount on admission for the duration, so if you’re a MET student with ID you get an extra 10% off your student discount and any friends and family you bring will also receive a 10% discount on their admission too!

A Blog by Dan Cash, opinions and experience are the author's own.

MET, Design, textiles, wood, reuse, recycle, toys, manufacturing,

MET, Design, textiles, wood, reuse, recycle, toys, manufacturing,

MET, Design, textiles, wood, reuse, recycle, toys, manufacturing,