No Product Is an Island

Introducing Metropolis’s annual special product issue

This special product issue is about the cumulative power of small gestures. It’s based on our belief that products today can no longer be thought of as discrete objects. Instead, they must be understood as a series of interconnected decisions. This “systems thinking” approach is driven by an ecological imperative: it’s impossible to design a sustainable product without understanding how everything fits together.

Water Works
By Peter Hall
Led by a hard-charging CEO and his right-hand man, Grohe uses design to remake both the bathroom and its own business.

Kit of Parts
By Belinda Lanks
The open-source model has begun to make inroads into the world of industrial design. Now an innovative new program attempts to bring that ethos to the scale of buildings.

Where Do We Go From Here?
By Martin C. Pedersen
The design directors of five leading contract-furniture companies stare into a crystal ball made hazy by a deep recession and fundamental shifts in the way we work.

Grn Air
By Suzanne LaBarre
Southwest Airlines’ new “green” plane flies on a message of savvy environmentalism and even savvier marketing.

The Ripple Effect
By William Bostwick, Kristi Cameron, and Shonquis Moreno
The problems we face may be vast, but individual efforts add up.

The Cost of Convenience
By Jennifer Kabat
In a heroic effort to source and fabricate each part of an everyday appliance himself, Thomas Thwaites produces the world’s most expensive toaster.

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