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Design for the environment: an exploratory study on the processes that guide the design of interior textile products




Calamari, Sage, author
Hyllegard, Karen, advisor
Park, Juyeon, committee member
Ryan, Ajean Lee, committee member

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In order to meet the daily product needs of consumers worldwide, an estimated 85 million metric tons of textiles were produced in over 50 countries in 2011 (Platzer, 2012). This figure suggests that the integration of more sustainable practices relative to the production and consumption of textiles has the capacity to reduce some of the negative impacts on human health and the environment. Recently, researchers have begun to examine the relationship between production and sustainability, including the role that designers play in the life cycle of products (McDonough & Braungart, 2002). This calls for a deeper look into design and development of interior textile products and Design for the Environment (DfE) oriented products. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the processes that guide the design of interior textile products. In particular, this study explored designers' perspectives on the design processes in relation to human health and environmental considerations throughout the life cycle of interior textile products. A qualitative research approach, specifically interviews with twelve design professionals engaged in the creation of interior textile products, was employed to address the design practices and processes that are currently utilized in the industry. Findings from this study are discussed in relation to three research questions that explored the design processes for interior textile products, the distinctiveness in DfE-oriented design processes, and the considerations for human health and the environment throughout the design processes. Findings from the content analysis of the narratives about the design processes, and DfE-oriented approaches, provided by professionals in the interior textile design industry were, to some degree, consistent with accounts of the processes provided by educators and students, as reported in prior research. However, the narratives in this study revealed additional details and emphasis related to specific themes associated with the design processes for interior textiles. Also, in regard to DfE-oriented approaches and life cycle consideration, all participants recognized the various human health and environmental impacts of interior textile products. However, it was apparent that all designers worked within the limitations of their companies and the industry at large and could not address all potential impacts within their design decisions.


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design for the environment
interior textile
fast furnishing
design process


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