top of page

What is Circular Design?

Circular design refers to an approach to product and system design that aims to minimize waste, maximize resource efficiency, and promote sustainability throughout the entire lifecycle of a product. It is based on the principles of the circular economy, which seeks to move away from the traditional linear "take-make-dispose" model of production and consumption towards a more regenerative and restorative system.

In circular design, products are designed with the intention of being reused, repaired, remanufactured, or recycled at the end of their life, rather than ending up as waste. The focus is on designing for durability, ease of disassembly, and the use of renewable or recyclable materials. Additionally, circular design considers the optimization of energy and resource consumption during the manufacturing, use, and disposal phases.

The goal of circular design is to create products and systems that contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy by reducing environmental impact, conserving resources, and minimizing waste generation. It emphasizes the importance of closing the loop by keeping materials in circulation and avoiding the depletion of natural resources.

More aboutcircular Design

HKDI inspire* 2023: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair; Circular Economy and the doughnut model

This master lecture sheds light on the consumer behaviour as we know it since industrialisation took command. We ask, what can design contribute to avoid “throw away” culture as it not only needs many resources, damage environment - it also kills jobs and cultures of repair. We have a look at much more social and environmental friendly circular economies where “reduce, reuse, recycle, repair* are the key values. From that point, we look at design and ask, what can design do, to consider these aspects already in the creative process and the follow up economic models. We also have a look at the “Doughnut Model” as a practical orientation model for industry, society and creative economies. Lecture by Prof Michael Krohn, Professor of Design and Co-Head of re-source | Sustainability in the Arts, Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland

HKDI inspire* 2023: A circular and sustainable fashion world

This Master Lecture examines a variety of alternative paradigms to the current un-sustainable fashion status quo. This includes the concept of Earth-logic, circularity, usership instead of consumption and understanding green washing. We will discuss the question if we can afford to throw away garments and analyse the notion of trash-mentality as well as future material aspirations. By keeping in mind that the most sustainable garment is the one already in our wardrobe, we investigate the need to create systems that sustain creative endeavours for as many generations as possible. Lecture by Isabela Gygax, Artistic-scientific Associate of re-source | Sustainability in the Arts, Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland

In a time of increasing crises, from economic to climate, from demographic to pandemic and war with global consequences, these events are changing the way we perceive and experience the world today. The urgency and the quest for a more sustainable development of our society and environment have now become even more evident. Through the power of imagination, storytelling and speculation, artists and designers are crossing boundaries, collaborating with other disciplines, developing collective visions and imagining possible futures and new ways of living. Through systemic thinking, transdisciplinary and transformative skills, some exemplary projects will be presented and discussed. Lecture by Karin Zindel, Designer and Co-Head of re-source | Sustainability in the Arts, Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland

bottom of page