How can design help to live with less?
Reflecting on this time of overconsumption and excess, Dutch Invertuals confronted the ways in which design and material choices impact the health of our environment and societies. In ‘TakeAway’ Invertuals explored how to pivot towards a philosophy of less through various methods such as subtraction, reductionism, material efficiency, repurposing materials, and communicating greater awareness through design.
As designers, the team recognised their role in shaping our environment and wanted to raise awareness about the use of unnecessary energy and materials and the creation of avoidable waste. This inspired the Invertuals network to explore concepts of reducing materials and objects through different approaches and how this might impact how we live, behave, and feel.
‘After decades of abundance and growth, we must rethink what our true material needs are.’
This journey emerged in response to a society consumed by overindulgence and excess. We explored living with fewer objects, less material, and embracing minimalism in design, rediscovering core values like tactile experience, playfulness, and a connection with nature as well as the joy of simplifying. This led to a collection of designs advocating material reduction and repurposing, all while promoting awareness of our consumption’s impact. Stine Mikkelsen’s Guilt.less lamps, for example, were crafted from discarded garments, giving them a new life whilst shining a spotlight on the environmental toll exacted by the fashion industry.
‘Nowadays a good citizen is equivalent to a good consumer, focusing on progress and growth. WithGuilt.less I question if we need to rethink this system. Is it possible to build a society based on the concept that reduction will lead to growth?’
Others, like Christian Hammer Juhl and Jade Chan’s ‘Wobble Stools,’ responded to the effect of digitalisation on physical activity, advocating for movement. Simultaneously, they simplified the object to its essential form, streamlining its appearance and experience. In her work ‘Lenna’, Audrey Large in her work used compressed images as raw material, prompting reflections on digital and material formats, whilst the final work showcases literally cut out and gaps in these images. Willem van Hooff takes a slightly different approach, in his altar he satirically critiqued unnecessary possessions, revealing societal material obsessions.
‘By creating Prayers to Obsession that expose non-essential stuff that we keep in our homes I hope the audience will become more aware of their true needs’
Leading the visitor through a circular arrangement with mirrored plinths as part of the exhibition design. The central theme revolved around the reflection of human behaviour of overconsumption and showcased solutions to the impact of digitisation, the beauty of rejuvenating discarded materials, and the benefit of reducing objects to their essential form. This focus encouraged visitors to unearth the fundamntal needs of each object and cultivated an appreciation for a minimalist lifestyle that utilises fewer materials and resources. It prompted the visitor to critically examine their own lives and consider how to live with less.
Edhv, Architects of Identity
Christian Hammer Juhl & Jade Chan
Thomas van der Sman & Richard Cory
Willem van Hooff
Xandra van der Eijk
Edhv, Architects of Identity