This newsletter will cover the industrial designer’s contribution to creating eco-friendly products that enable businesses to stand out from the crowd in ever more competitive markets.
As well, it will examine a Skerpa Design speciality that is more and more talked about: textile products.
Finally, industrial designers offer their clients exposure in an exhibition that celebrates their impact on daily life over more than 40 years.
Green Products or Eco-Design
Not very long ago, not to say over a decade ago, environment friendliness seemed little more than a differentiation element, indeed a commercial asset that allowed firms to stick out from the competition. But that period is long gone, for it is now urgent to act, whether it is for the sake of our environment, our health or purely economic reasons. The Quebec government made its new policy on residual materials public this past November 16. This means that from now on, manufacturers will have to fully absorb all recycling costs, including those for pick-up, recovery and recycling of electronic products, mercury lamps, and batteries. Later on, the government will add to the list of products to be dealt with at businesses’ expense. Finally, according to the Quebec government, every ton of materials recovered rather than buried generates 10 times more jobs.
Contrarily to what you may think, eco-design is not out of reach for SMBs. From our point of view at Skerpa Design, it is first and foremost necessary to show goodwill and, especially, foresight in appropriately planning specifications upstream from any project. Around 80% of barriers, hindrances and stumbling blocks inherent to design, problem-solving and issue settlement, such as environmental constraints, can be resolved and eliminated very early if they are approached and examined at the outset.
Ironically, eco-design that brings industrial designers to reconsider a product from both the functional and production implementation standpoints can sometimes be more economical to manufacture. On the other hand, converting an already-designed product to make it ecology-friendlier when the methodology had not taken this environmental “constraint” into account from point one can effectively prove to be very costly. Numerous products are engineered or shaped from multiple parts assembled together using toxic glues or based on assemblies requiring sophisticated, expensive equipment. We know that focused, in-depth, exhaustive involvement from a team of imaginative, innovative, rigorous industrial designers can simplify the product from a technical standpoint to make it easier to manufacture and greatly shrink its environmental impact. An industrial designer team should go beyond mere styling considerations, whether they amount to neo-retro, futuristic or any other aesthetic mould. Indeed, the product has to be functional and useful. Cost requirements, as such, are an imperative that overrides the pure and simple need for artistic creativity.
In other respects, implementing a sustainable development plan also has to be a responsibility for any serious, self-respecting, rigorous industrial design firm as part of its product design and development approach and methodology. For us Western World dwellars used to abundance in natural resources in particular, sometimes it only takes a few seemingly innocuous actions to help protect and preserve our environment.
Export Opportunities Thanks to Eco-Design
Given the current economic downturn, the European Union emerges as a new market with tremendous potential for exporting. Though our American neighbours make up a population base of over 307 million inhabitants, the European population pool is even more colossal at 491 million. However, Europe is more advanced than North America on the environmental awareness front. Despite this market?s potential, it is clear that our products will have to solidly hold their own from both the styling and sustainable development viewpoints by being lighter and less cumbersome to optimize their transport, and made of recycled and/or recyclable materials. It has to be acknowledged that Europeans are past masters in this regard.
A Skerpa Design Speciality
Beyond its capacity to generate innovative designs, Skerpa Design is also sought after for its expertise in textile product design and development, born of its experience in designing and developing footwear of all types. To this effect, the CTTM (Centre de transfert technologique de la mode Fashion Technology Transfer Centre) and Skerpa Design have collaborated on writing an article in the periodical La Revue du Textile, by the CTT group, in its July, 2009 edition. The CTT is the Centre des technologies textiles (Textile Technology Centre) located in Saint-Hyacinthe, about 70 km east of the Greater Montreal region. La Revue du Textile is one of the oldest periodicals, if not the oldest, in Canada, as it has been published since 1883.
The CTTM works in close ties with Skerpa Design, not only as part of projects involving textile materials and for access to high technology equipment, but also when developing high-performance textile prototypes requires specialized human resources.
Access the full article by clicking here: Revue_textile_2009_Juillet_Pages40-43
Exposure and Industrial Design
The exposure provided by a well-designed, astutely developed, very cost-effective product with a paltry environmental footprint becomes a profitable asset for everyone. Moreover, such exposure is the prerogative of a certain number of industrial design firms that aim to enable their clients to benefit from increased brand image outreach and leadership.
This past Friday, October 30, a relevant article by Jerome Delgado, contributor to Le Devoir daily newspaper, mentions the importance of industrial designers as creators of products intended for everyday use. This full-page article was published in the context of the – Tete, coeur, main – (-Head, Heart, Hand-) exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of the University of Montreal?s Industrial Design School. This exhibition, to take place until January 4, 2010, will give you a chance to examine and appreciate about 60 consumer products already on the market that have been designed and developed by Quebec industrial designers who graduated from that Industrial Design School. This stunning Le Devoir page includes a picture of the Step-In snowshoe and boot designed and developed in 2000 by Daniel Thibault, President of Skerpa Design, within the TSL Sport Equipment company as part of a professional sojourn in France. This double product was honoured during the ISPO trade show held in Munich, Germany in February, 2001, winning First Prize in the Equipment category. ISPO is the world’s largest semi-annual trade show dedicated to sports and outdoors products.
As We Go to Press…
Skerpa Design has been rapidly expanding since late 2008, and, starting in November, began welcoming its clients, partners and collaborators in its new spacious 127-square metre (1,375-square foot) studio located in the Saint-Laurent industrial park, close to the Bois francs district.
See map by clicking here:
Skerpa Design – Google Maps
Are you nurturing ideas? Tinkering with projects? Searching for solutions? Contact Us ASAP. We will make it a pleasure to meet with you!
Skerpa Design, your source of innovation.