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Design & Bioplastics

Design & Bioplastics Designers & bioplastics Designers and bioplastics — what an exciting combination… In so many cases designers are the ones to make a decision for a certain material, be it for consumer goods, architectural applications or art. bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke to a number of designers to collect impressions, opinions and thoughts in order to gather more insight into how designers deal with materials in general and bioplastics in particular. by Michael Thielen InteriorPark, an agency for architecture, communications and design, from Stuttgart, Germany, has been contracted by the BIOPRO society in the German state of Baden-Württemberg to help with the market acceptance of bioplastics through designs that will appeal to consumers and manufacturers. They offer workshops that are intended to raise the users‘ awareness of biobased plastics. InteriorPark puts designers, material developers and architects into contact with each other as innovative materials set the trend. With its online shop for best Eco Design InteriorPark offers extraordinary designs made of sustainable materials. The Material Shapes The Product The high level of innovation available through new, sustainable materials is brought face to face with the high level of pressure for innovation in companies whose activity within an ever more competitive global market calls for ever more efforts. Technologically it seems that, in terms of functional quality, almost anything can be achieved. The challenge lies in the successful transfer of the concept into a marketable product. The designers and architects will have a key role to play in the development of applications for biobased materials. They have to develop the things that will appeal to us tomorrow, that have a maximum consumer benefit, and that also have something to offer in economic terms. Alongside functionality, aesthetics and economics, the designer today has to look at topics such as sustainable production processes, the ecobalance and life-cycle costs. These problems are generally considered and applied globally. Products have to appeal to consumers world-wide – and function properly! The potential of a good prototype concept includes anticipated energy usage, an absence of noxious contaminants through good material selection, and avoidance of scrap by using a recycling system. The potential savings offered by the designer via his creativity can be huge - in energy savings alone up to 90% can be achieved. Thus the designer‘s job has become more complex, and the future success of his design depends in a similar degree on all of these factors. He is a key link between consumers and manufacturers. Things have today become interchangeable. We are surrounded by mass produced articles and an apparently endless over-supply – this is different from goods in short supply. And what about good design? The doyen of German designers, Dieter Rahms, has put together a list of aspects covering good design: 1. Innovation 2. Make a product useable 3. Aesthetics 4. Make a product understandable 5. Frankness and honesty 6. Unobtrusive 7. Long-lived 8. Consistent down to the last detail 9. Environmentally-friendly 10. As little design as possible. Sustainable design has no set formula of its own, and so a passion for the work is necessary for those promoting such design. The approach taken to promote such developments is shown in designers‘ prototypes and drafts that interact with the intellectual and creative topics in areas such as sustainability, and ultimately with the material to be processed and used. Design has gained a lot today in relevance and we are already addicted to it – whether it is product design, fashion design, or architecture. Design is a reflection of society and the spirit of the times. The deciding factor in differentiation for successful companies and their brands is Design. Thus innovative industrialists and marketing professionals use design as a tool, and offer their clients a real advance in user benefits. Intro by Tina Kammer, Architect and Managing Director of InteriorPark. Stuttgart, Germany 54 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/13] Vol. 8

Design & Bioplastics (Photo: 4e solutions / Product design Raphael Stäbler, Managing Director of 4e solutions (Stuttgart, Germany) said that it was clear from the first moment when he founded his company to create products only from renewable resources. The designer of the award winning stackable storage box system ajaa! emphasized that, for him, it is quite important to create a biobased product that does not look as if it is based on an eco concept … . He wanted to offer products with high design attributes. “ajaa! stands for products which help to make life easier. Practical use is combined with innovative design”, he said. For Johann Beil (of the company Linhardt in Viechtach, Germany) it is important, that bioplastics, being a different sort of plastic, can be processed on existing equipment without significant modification. The manufacturer of collapsible tubes will process bioplastics if a customer asks for it and the materials are processable. In addition the materials must fulfil the ususal performance requirements of the packaging product, e.g. the resilience properties, the impermeability, or the potential for decoration. The headphones developed by British-born and Hong Kong based designer Michael Young, were part of bioplastics MAGAZINE’s Application News in issue 01/2012. When asked about his thoughts in terms of bioplastics for this article, Michael Young stated that in his opinion bioplastics are a field about which many designers and architects do not have very much knowledge. The whole eco-thing is often connected to recycling, he said. But when it gets down to bioplastics on an industrial level, it is not so easy to find companies capable of delivering good bioplastics. For him bioplastics are still too much in their infancy. In their industrial design studio, they often struggle, because for technical applications such as headphones it is difficult to find the right materials and suppliers. bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/13] Vol. 8 55

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