Today, design should no longer be considered to be mere stylistics (surface embellishment) but rather conceived of as scientifically orientated problem solving. A prerequisite of socially responsible design is a move away from thinking in products and surfaces to thinking in systems and cycles.

Design can capture hidden (not necessarily visible on the surface) material and procedural aspects; the integration of complete cycles in the design process, rather than the mere shaping of the end product. Because resource use is an integral part of our strategic decisions, integrative design is both progressive and scientific in nature. It requires the integration of the entire product life cycle:


Resource extraction → Production → Use → Return/Composting


The following aspects are integrated into the design process:

  • Choice of resources (following ecological and social criteria)
  • Sparing use of material
  • Process improvements in production
  • Focus on cyclical processes (continued use, re-use etc.)
  • Less greenhouse gas emissions / waste water
  • Extended product life
  • High rate of utilization through adaptation to actual demand (consideration of target audience & area of application)
  • Use of renewable energy


Integrative or holistic design begins with the choice of materials and ends (for the user) with the re-use, biological de-compostation or the continued use of the design object or its component parts.





Our current life-style clearly requires a re-design. Integration into the ecological cycles of our planet, so as to sustain both it and us. Design can have a positive influence on the intelligent shaping of our lives, our society and the systems that surround us.



The „Cradle to Cradle“ principle stands for an ecologically effective means of production and intelligent design. It presents an inspiring approach for a new logic of production within which human beings are not “pests” but rather beneficial for their environment. Approaches developed over the past 40 years designed to design less damaging, eco-efficient products is being replaces by eco-effective products in the sense of „Cradle to Cradle“. This approach considers which substances go into the creation of a product. Environmentally damaging substances are replaces by materials that can be re-integrated into biological cycles without causing any harm. Synthetic materials are designed so that they can be disassembled and recycled.





“Collaborative Consumption” describes the boom in traditional forms of exchange such as sharing, exchanging, borrowing, bartering, lending and giving which have been reinvented through information technology and take place in a new dimension and in an innovative way.
The interest in peer-to-peer lending and community services is constantly growing: rather than buying products and services from companies, platforms are springing up which support communal use.
Accordingly, designer must go beyond the mere creation of products and design systems that enable collaboration!
“Designers should be thinking more and more about the system in which a product or service is being used.”
“About 80% of the environmental impact of a product, service, or system is determined at the design stage.”
(Botsman & Rodgers 2010: S. 194, 187).