Young Balkan Designers theme for 2019 – “Circular Design” calls for design projects − products, concepts, services and scenarios that can bring the Balkans to the forefront of a much needed paradigm shift in design, production and consumption. We challenge you to think about circularity of the production process and how it can address the changing needs of product and services users, implementation of local skills and resources, involvement of your immediate surroundings in problem-solving process and production, creating a positive impact, both on your local community and the rising global issues.
Today’s linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economy relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy, and is a model that is wasteful and polluting. A circular economy is a viable alternative, but to drive the transition towards a more regenerative economy, we need to think and design differently. At its core, a circular economy means that products no longer have a linear life cycle with a beginning, middle, and end, but are restorative and regenerative, they contribute less waste and can add value to their ecosystem. When materials stop being used, they go back into a useful cycle, hence the circular economy.
Design defines the types of resources used and the way they are combined in the production process and use, time and possibilities of recycling, efficiency of resource use, reuse, the potential life cycle of the product, the possibility of repair and return of the product or service to the market. Designers play an essential role in choosing materials that are fit for the circular economy. Not all materials are suitable for use in circular products because they contain chemicals of concern that may be polluting or potentially hazardous for humans or the environment.
Making products, services or organisations more circular can begin with small changes. Understand an everyday product by exploring the system it is part of. Imagine how both could be redesigned to be in accordance with the circular economy and its three principles: design out waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; regenerate natural systems. Look at the material flows and examine where they come from and where they go after use? Can you find opportunities to redesign this system?