Solaesthetic approaches design and development in ways that address ecological imperatives. Here are seven key elements of our design thinking. Taken all together, they cross fertilise and provide a powerful framework for ecologically informed design.
People are the real power in the world. It is people who will invest in, and nurture what they love. People invest more into beautiful things and are more inclined to feel continuing ownership of them. So making our devices loveable is a functional necessity for making architectural interventions that will last for generat ions.
The things we value most will to survive inter-generationally. Things that are beautiful and that are very made well, gather the emotional investment needed to maintain them through and beyond individual lifetimes. The negative environmental impact of originating an object, installation or machine can be dispersed over very long periods of time. The added energy impact of creating to high specification with very durable materials, is divided over each year it remains useful. If designed with consideration for it’s ecosystem, a permanent installation becomes an environmental object in its own right and should be thought of as habitat.
Maintainability should be reflected in the choice of materials, processes and standards. Minimise waste and increase usefulness by designing for indefinite servicability (like they used to). Eliminate disposable, toxic and biohazardous components. Avoid specialised procedures. Use recyclable materials. Call upon skill-sets that will be available in the long term.
The use of generic standards and sizes helps defend against obsolescence by ensuring supplies of non proprietary components. Avoiding the use of special proprietary components, except where strictly necessary, can also ease the progress of licensing products to manufacturers.
Mutability alludes to the practice of designing components for versatility and not precluding subsequent improvement or even repurposing of the device or installation at a later date.
The design process should mimic life in producing more than it needs. Evolution promotes conspicuous displays of surplus in many practical and aesthetic ways
Creating for Longevity means keeping long term effects of physical processes in mind. Reduce stress, strain and criticality, by specifying and setting tolerances for physical and energetic redundancy.