At the end of this fall semester I have a new view on what it means to live a sustainable life and what it means to design sustainably. Sustainability to me means to think about the Earth and your surroundings when making choices for your life. Everyday you must choose to give back to the Earth or take away from the Earth with your actions. Actions that give back to our Earth are using recycled rainwater to water our plants, and to sort our trash so we can recycle and reuse what does not need to be thrown away. Sustainable design to me means making smart decisions when designing buildings for my projects. The materials we use can be recycled materials, don’t over order on supplies needed for the buildings, and find resources that are local to the area we are building in. If there are any left over materials from the project then they can be recycled and reused for another project at another time. How I see sustainability and sustainable design now is much different from when I first started this class. I thought that it was a much simpler idea, and as the semester went on I learned that there is more to being a sustainable designer.
During this course I learned more about empathic design and what it means to design for others. This stuck with me the most because this past year in my other classes we have been challenged to think about designing for others and what we as designers can do to improve their lives. Designing a product that takes in what the user needs, and not just for a mass population of people opened my eyes. When I design a space for someone I need to really remember what he or she wants for his or her space, and what would help them the most. I find myself often thinking about what I would enjoy while designing a space, and quickly forgetting that it is not about me as a designer but my client. Empathic design allows for the designer to step into their client’s shoes and experience their life while working with that person. This class opened my eyes to a world I so easily forget to work in, and I will never allow myself to put my client second to what I think is correct.
I want to learn more about what it takes to become a more sustainable designer. Our class spent sometime on this topic, but with a class of interior design, apparel design, and merchandising students it was hard to focus on just one group for some time. I enjoyed hearing all of the different ideas that everyone in our class had, but I would have liked to learn more about sustainable interior design, and practical ways to implement those sustainable practices in our field. I would like to learn what it takes to become a sustainable designer in the residential design of interiors. It’s important to take the practices and put them into effect to start making changes to our world. I will learn more about what I can do to create more sustainably built homes in the town I will be working it, and I will try to push the other designers to become more sustainable in their work.