Today my new book “Anti-trend – Resilient Design and the Art of Sustainable Living” has finally been released and is now available worldwide.
I bring you here the introduction to the book:
The overall purpose with this book is to encourage designers and consumers to take responsibility for overproduction and overconsumption, and to alter unsustainable production and behavioral patterns. There is a current need for responsibility to be taken, and for action. A collective need that unites us all worldwide as a “we.” Hence, when I use the term we I mean both the creatives, who have the power to shape our reality and influence future ways of living, and the consumers, who have the authority to alter and change demands. We need to understand that we can all make a difference, and that no step toward a more sustainable and resilient world is too small. We need to enable sustainable innovators to lead the way by daring to change our ways. We need to believe that when our intuition tells us that somethings is wrong, maybe it is wrong. We need more civil engagement, or even more civil disobedience. We need more products that empower workers and artisans, and much less growth-thinking in order to turn around the environmental crisis that we are facing. We need resilience and anti-trend as opposed to consumption that encourages fleeting trends. We need long lasting, aesthetically nourishing design-objects that can inspire us to buy much less. And we need sustainable short-lived objects that can satisfy our fleeting needs. We need sustainable living solutions that can enable us and our natural environment to flourish. We need sustainable pioneers who can arouse a need in us to shake up our habitual ways of life, which tend to revolve around work and consumption. We need more friction and less “smoothness” and convenience. We need more purpose, more commitment, more heaviness and less insignificant lightness. We need to embrace change and celebrate diversity. We need community-feelings and shareable products and living solutions rather than greed and selfish “Ark”-builders. We need all of this, and so much more. And this book is my attempt to provide a small slice of this cake.
Through an investigation of anti-trend as opposed to volatile trends the importance of pursuing anti-trend and resilience in life in general and in relation to the creation of sustainable design-objects and living solutions is underlined. Hence, the anti-trend investigations navigate through two main focal points: anti-trendy living and the anti-trendy design practice. Establishing a sustainable lifestyle and designing durable products have one very important thing in common: they revolve around the formation of an enduring core that can function as a stable, yet flexible foundation for actions and usage.
The book contains an inherent “supply and demand” logic, which in short can be described like this: in order for the supply or creation of sustainable design solutions that encourage resilient living to raise, the demand for resilient, sustainable products must increase, and vice versa. The creation of sustainable solutions and the need therefore are in other words intertwined.
In my perspective one of the most important and vital ways of overcoming and turning around the immense environmental problems we are currently facing worldwide is radical reduction of consumption. When I write consumption, I mean it in the most straightforward sense of the word: buying too many things and going through and getting rid of them again way too quickly. The fashion industry alone emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined, and in addition hereto, think about the production and consumption of furniture, home accessories, toys, and other knick-knacks. However, despite the fact that altering our habitual consumer ways might sound easy, it ap- pears to be unbelievably hard. Even though we are bombarded with horrific and very tangible scenarios involving starving polar bears, whales with plastic-filled stomachs, and burning rivers, and even though these images are presented as interlinked with overconsumption, we continue to shop and we continue to discard the majority of our belongings way before they don’t work anymore or are worn out, and hence we continue to add to the mountains and islands of trash that are building up in landfills and in oceans. Why? Because we are evil? No, of course not. Rather, the reason could be partly interlinked with an increasing detachment from our physical, natural environment and partly with the fact that habits are hard to change, particularly when engulfed in a busy daily routine. Furthermore, our lack of sustainable action is likely connected to the fact that status symbols are to an extent associated with new, glittery things, and to the constant craving for more that seems to govern our late-modern minds and societies, as well as to the despair that this entails. Therefore, a significant part of the book is dedicated to an investigation of despair as well as authentic, sustainable living as an antidote. Other parts of the book are committed to solutions: to an investigation of how objects and living solutions can encourage fulfilled, sustainable, resilient living with less; and to parse the three legitimate reasons for creating new products in a world that is already overflowing with things, product-waste, and the anti-trendy design-object.
However, before getting started, allow me to serve a small foretaste of each chapter as well as a structure-overview. The six chapters of the book are interlinked in pairs: Chapter One and Two’s mainly focus on anti-trend analysis of cultural and societal tendencies toward sustainable living. The methodology presented enables the researcher to differentiate between trend based, fleeting and deeply felt, durable needs and longings. Chapter Three and Four are devoted to an investigation of what it means to live authentically. The underlying hypothesis of the chapters is that overcoming despair leads to a more sustainable lifestyle and hence reduces overconsumption. Furthermore, these chapters investigate the importance of raw, “heavy” aesthetic experiences in relation to human well-being and sustainable living. Chapter Five and Six are devoted to defining the resilient design-object. These chapters dive into the reasoning for designing new things in a world overflowing with stuff as well as a concrete definition of the properties and characteristics of the resilient, anti-trendy design-object. In other words, the overall structure of the book goes like this: chapters One and Two: anti-trendy research; chapters Three and Four: authentic, sustainable living; and chapters Five and Six: the resilient design-object.