Is sustainable design simply good design? We looked at how designers at Nokia consider the environment and ask if it’s something that comes naturally to them. “There’s one crucial point to understand if you’re a designer – you’re accountable and responsible for the consequences.”
For Axel Meyer, Creative Lead, Advanced Design at Nokia, good design comes with responsibility, and that means taking the long-term view. That doesn’t just mean displaying recycling arrows on the box. For him and all designers at Nokia, sustainable design is integral to their whole approach.
Designers like Meyer are problem solvers – but where the problem used to be how to make an object desirable as well as clever, at Nokia there’s long been a third dimension. Desirable, clever but created with sustainability in mind. It’s an approach that understands that the product doesn’t just need to look good and work well, but should be created in a way that’s mindful about what materials were used, how they were sourced and whether they are recyclable and renewable. How much energy went into the production process and how, in the end, will that product end its life – in a landfill or stripped and used again?
It’s about thinking not just how a product is put together, but how it will be taken apart, for recycling, once it’s no longer used.
“We need to think about the whole lifecycle of a product, from manufacture to end of life, and ask the right questions at every step,” says Rob Lihou, Senior Designer at Nokia.
“With the Nokia N9 and Nokia Lumia, we wanted to bend the design rules to create a flagship smartphone,” says Meyer, “and this meant understanding everything from the choice of materials to the amount of energy used in the production of parts.”