The revival of craft and the hand-made-slow design.

What is slow design?

‘Slow Design refers to the goals and approach of the designer, rather than the object of the design. In this way a Slow Design approach can be used within any design field. The term was probably first coined by Alistair Fuad-Luke in his 2002 paper “‘Slow Design’ – a paradigm for living sustainably?”, in which Slow Design is seen as the next step in the development of sustainable design, balancing individual, sociocultural, and environmental needs.

While Fuad-Luke focused on the design of physical products, the concept can be applied to the design of non-material things such as experiences, processes, services, and organisations. In fact, Slow Design may be seen as a path toward the de-materialisation required for long-term sustainability as it takes into account the non-material nature of human well being and happiness.’ 13th July 2017.

A way of life it seems, the origins of slow design are said to be from the slow food movement which aimed for people to eat better and cook their own things. I thought it was about slow making such as growing something or making a large art piece. I didn’t know it was a complete ‘thing’ that takes into account everything about the design and sustainability and the needs of the person who will be using it and the needs of the item itself.

The attitudes of ourselves and designers have taken on board this movement and everything from where an item came from, the making, the place it was made, who by and then integrating that into a buyers life, who will use it? will it be passed on? will it last?

I suppose if people are willing to pay for things that have a story and will last and have been made well then the impacts of its footprint and lifespan will be welcomed more than a cheap table that is mass-produced and will break within a year.

Environmental concerns are big within this practice as items can be made as a one-off by local crafts people and the process is one of care and importance to a buyer and the surrounding area.

I like that it is called slow movement as to me it allows you to have a minute and think about what is going on, the things that are being made, the process, the equipment and the time to create. I wouldn’t think it is ‘dead slow’ so that you only make one chair or cardigan a year but slow enough to think about it and all it entails rather than a mass-produced item which is profit based.



I think that if crafts people and designers can be honest about their work and the way in which it is studied and made then they may change people’s attitudes towards the ways in which they buy things. Money will always be an issue and some people may not want to pay extra or will as a one-off, but you have to hope that they keep the pieces they have bought forever. If the idea is to consume less and buy less but spend more on quality when someone isn’t used to that then it could be an issue. If people cannot see the benefit of waiting or stripping down what they have instead of nipping to IKEA to get a cheap lamp then they wont change their ways.

I would definitely fall into the whole story of an item and the tales it could tell, how it was made, the story of the person who made it as I like this kind of thing. Backgrounds to objects always help and if this can be put across then your halfway there.

More links about slow design are here-

All websites and links accessed-13th July 2017.


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