Circular Design
Gestaltung der Kreislaufwirtschaft

The Circular Design conference 2015 in retrospect

How much waste remains after the service life of a sewing machine? How many parts of a remote control can be reused? And why can we no longer repair all these gadgets?

                             Workshop "Break, what breaks you"

The first Circular Economy conference for creating a new regenerative Circular Economy started Friday morning with a hands-on workshop on “Break, what breaks you” on the Campus Kuchl, FH Salzburg. The conference was organised by the new research line Circular Design spearheaded by its founder Dr. Sonja Eser as well as Prof. Dominik Walcher and Dr. Michael Leube of the De/Re/Sa institute.

Together with international experts, the core of the two-day conference was this: what useful tools and approaches have already been researched, are used in companies and design processes; and what are the contributions by networks and communities to accomplishing circular design of products, houses, etc. for the new regenerative economy.

With the Circular Economy Package adopted by the European Commission on the 02.07.2014 - aiming to rebuild the Union into a regenerative Circular Economy - there is a need for new design strategies. Furthermore clarification is needed as to what kind of business models can be developed to guarantee long-term circulation of products and materials within the economy. International experts such as Prof. Conny Bakker from TU Delft, Prof. Chapman from the Universität Brighton and the Cradle to Cradle pioneer Douglas Mulhall, showed impressively how Design has to change in order to turn such new business models into reality.

                               Prof. Jonathan Chapman, University of Brighton

Thanks to their practical experience and successful track record, contributing companies such as ‘Werner& Mertz mit Erdal’, ‘Gugler' and ‘Alchemia Nova’ provided important impulses for all entrepreneurs present.

                               Ernst Gugler, Gugler* Kommunikationshaus

The conference managed to show the wide range of sources of inspiration from the ancient Chinese philosophy of Daoism, traditional craftsmanship, to using biomimicry as in the case of mimicking ant societies for future transport solutions.

Various contemporary concepts were introduced such as sharing economy, repair cafés, Open Source Platforms and Open Innovation. The experts explained the effect of these concepts for design. Lars Zimmermann from Berlin, himself Open Source Expert and Founder of the Open Source Circular Economy Days 2015, illustrated hands-on how you can design a product in networks using simple tools and skipping traditional production pathways. This showed tellingly that next to conventional design processes, new pathes for design for the Circular Economy are being developed more and more.

The peace nobel prize laureate Helena Norberg-Hodge from Australia, showed that Circular Economy is not simply based on redesigning products. She showed that supporting regional economies, regional agriculture and small regional markets are essential characteristics for such an economy. This approach would not only tackle the problem of increasing resource scarcity but would also seize the opportunities of safeguarding the diverse cultural heritage and biodiversity all around the globe. It is important to include as many people as possible in these regional production processes. Firstly it promises to provide employment, satisfaction and happiness. Secondly their importance becomes even more pronounced when faced with current situations such as threats of terrorist attacks. Creating jobs and opportunities to earn your livelihood locally can significantly outweigh the lack of perspective of young desperate men.

Likewise the students of the Design and Product Management (DPM) and Wood technology and wood construction (HTB) degrees, showed their remarkable solutions in Pecha Cucha talks and an accompanying exhibition.