October 1, 2010
The Green Vanguard
An A to Z Guide To the Products, People and Ideas Driving Sustainable Design
The days of conspicuous consumption are clearly over, at least for those of us not working at investment banks. But it has been replaced by—what exactly? It’s hard to say right now. A certain polish or luster will always play a role in design. Most of us wouldn’t have it any other way. Beauty, after all, does have a price. Nevertheless, the recession has had a clarifying effect on product design. It has forced a long overdue shift, as the hunt for the new and glitzy (great fun while it lasted) has been replaced by the search for the real and essential (arguably less fun but maybe more important). To their credit, designers and their clients have responded to the change. For many products in the architecture and design world, sustainability is now practically a given. Companies also continue to refine their manufacturing and green their business. One of them, Interface, is even striving for the loftiest of goals: an environmental footprint of zero. The following A to Z guide is a cultural snapshot, deliberately broad and idiosyncratic in scope. It includes products, people, and innovative ideas, all reflecting new directions and new hope in design.