Here at Inhabitat, we’re well aware that any product that seems green needs investigation and consideration before undertaking any celebration. Graduating design student Nick Bampton joins us in this approach, encouraging others to do the same with his graduation project, entitled ‘Subverting the Green Aesthetic’. The Middlesex student has produced three pairs of products and easy-to-understand graphics to get people thinking further than the green first impressions.

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The project should be welcomed by those who are sick of products with dubious eco-credentials being wrapped in brown cardboard sleeves, as well as those longing for green products to look like they belong in the 21st century. Nick’s products with a slick, modern aesthetic turn out to be better for the planet than those that rely on the traditional signifiers of green design. The supporting graphics highlight issues in the products’ manufacturing, use and end-of-life, reminding people that a product’s impact is influenced by its entire lifecycle, not just its aesthetic.

Two MP3 players form one-third of the project. The first, despite its ‘natural’ look, cannot be recycled or upgraded and relies on toxic substances for manufacture. The other model, with its more conventional, slick look, turns out to be a much more durable, compact design which can be upgraded and then disassembled at the end of its useful life. The other enlightening products are a laminated corrugated cardboard coffee table put to shame by a glued fiberboard tube chair, and a chair made of locally grown bute and straw trumped by a recyclable PET coffee table.

The products will be leading to many a double-take at the ‘Product Designers Market’ exhibition at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London from June 7th-9th. They can also be seen at New Designers, held at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, between July 10 and 13.

+ Nick Bampton
+ Product Designers Market
+ New Designers