shifted view from product to process

Working with industry shifts view from product to process design



Cultuur Eindhoven organized the Sustainable Living theme day in September. In addition to various sustainable design projects, the designers’ contribution to sustainability within the business community was also discussed. Simone de Waart gave her vision on designing with industry. “I notice a shift from product to process design.”

Together with Paul van Nunen (director of Brainport Development), De Waart discussed how designers in industry can stimulate sustainability. De Waart immediately makes a subtle, but fundamental intervention: “I prefer to speak of designing in collaboration with the industry, rather than working for the industry . If you really want to be sustainable, you need many different disciplines, expertise and insights.


With instead of for the industry In the project Lasting Leather Lab, a collaboration with the car industry, De Waart works with chemists and circular experts. In the future, she would like to see more expertise in her laboratory: "For example, system changers, logistics specialists and storytellers". We know that a real and close connection with a product extends its lifespan. The owner knows its story and is more motivated to maintain the use the product and for example to have it repaired.”


From product to process design

In addition to the need for different perspectives and expertise, which is now widely shared in product development, De Waart also notes another trend in her field: “I started out as a materials designer and continued to develop into a materials researcher. I still do the latter, but my role is shifting to material strategist through collaboration with the business community. I also see colleagues moving from product designer to process designer. In my view, this attitude contributes to making design, production and use more sustainable.”


Changing demand

For example, the initial question shifted from how can we process the natural product leather so that bubbles, scars and tears disappear' to 'how do we reduce 40% waste from the 30,000 hides that are produced every day for A-brands, such as BMW and Audi'. De Waart: “By focusing as a designer - and as a team existing of various specialists - not only on a product or a problem but on the entire process, the demand changes and the solution often becomes more sustainable.”



The Creative Industry program of Cultuur Eindhoven supported innovative initiatives. Lasting Leather LAB was part of this porgram. Interested in collaborating with the lab of Material Sense? Send us an email for an introduction.