Today, more and more people prefer decorative objects that required quality know-how rather than mass-produced ones. Are you also perhaps looking to put more meaning into the purchases of objects that surround you on a daily basis? Perhaps you are a potential advocate of slow design? But what are the main principles of this movement and what are its implications?
What is slow design?
The slow design movement was inspired by the slow food movement that started in Italy in the 1980s. Italians, like the French, have ultimately always had slow food values since they love their cuisine, they appreciate knowing the origin of the products they consume – who grows or makes them and how, and they make decisions about what they buy, cook and eat based on these values.
It’s the same for slow design. This movement rejects the hyperconsumption and wastefulness that are an integral part of many traditional design objects. Like the slow food movement – which succeeded in creating a widely recognized culture of global consumption of unprocessed and local foods, a new trend emerged a few years ago: that of slow design. Slow as slow in English because this new concept removes all the time constraints related to economic growth. It is no longer a question of mass-producing objects and playing the card of economic progress which will crescendo, but on the contrary of decelerating to manufacture creations where the role of design can combine the well-being of the end customer and respect for the environment. ‘environment. Slowness is more to be understood as a state of awareness and responsibility since slow design is in fact a concept that is similar to a positive catalyst for individual and environmental well-being.
We are moving away from globalization to return to a more regional and local level. No more bigger, faster, slow design prefers to focus on the balance of the needs of each and everyone and those of the planet itself. It celebrates the handmade, the know-how, the use of noble and natural materials.
Slow design or how to take the time
Slow design, much like its gastronomic predecessor, slow food, is all about taking the time to do things right, to do them responsibly, and to do them in a way that allows the creative designer, the artisan, and the end user to derive pleasure. As with the concept of slow food, it is about using local ingredients, harvested and assembled in a socially and ecologically responsible way. Above all, slow design emphasizes the creation and consumption of different products that we consume in a more thoughtful way by going against the sometimes hectic pace of life of the 21e century.
Slow design enthusiasts look at the entire life cycle of a product: where materials come from, how they are processed and by whom, how far products travel for distribution, how much energy and water they use once in the hands of users, how long these products last and what happens to them when they are no longer useful. Examining these stages in a product’s life cycle helps designers make decisions about what they’re doing, why, and how.
What are the key points of slow design?
- Longer design processes with more time for research, brainstorming, environmental impact testing and finishing
- A manufacturing with local or regional materials and technologies or a design that supports local industries, workshops and artisans.
- A design that takes into account the local or regional culture as a source of inspiration
- A design that takes longer cycles into account and values sustainability
- A design that considers the well-being of users
Slow design: what consequence for the designer?
Slow design encourages designers to think about the link between the object and its owner: how to create a long-term use? This is what all the local craftsmen and manufacturers do who create products thanks to their know-how and their ancestral methods. Slow design products are designed to last and pass through the ages, the idea being to create a product that respects the environment while offering an excellent user experience.
Slow design: what consequences for the consumer?
The slow design trend encourages the customer to think about the origin of the product and the production process as a whole. Rather than being a passive consumer, slow design gives customers the possibility of belonging. And creates, so to speak, a community: that of buyers who have an awareness – that of the materials used and the time required to create the product.
Slow design: more expensive than classic design?
Of course, it’s all to the best effect, a beautiful, complex philosophy that’s environmentally friendly, fair to labor, and offers customers an alternative to hyperconsumption. And slow design is in fact more expensive to manufacture and therefore more expensive to sell. Not everyone can afford it unless they adopt the “less is more” mindset: treat yourself to beautiful pieces but treat yourself to less. Prefer to objects created in mass a unique object and of beautiful invoice.