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Feb 25, 2020

Design is part of our lives, as stated by bruce Mau

We live a design life – the quality of our design is the quality of our life and when we have bad design we have bad life.

Bruce Mau


Looking at the evolution of iMac below we can see how Apple has been striving for perfection for many years, However, I would argue that yes, the design of iMac has been improved but there is not much improvement in sustainability, The desktop computer is actually not sustainable at all. So I believe Apple should consider sustainable ways of creating their design.

Take the FairPhone for example, Their mission is to develop smartphones that are produced with minimal environmental impact. The FairPhone does not contain conflict minerals, has fair labour conditions and promotes using phones longer by designing them to be easily repairable by creating a recycling system for them.

FairPhone website

I feel that great design is creative, communicative and especially functional, one that solves problems. Great design is solution driven utilising creative problem solving, understanding needs whereby solutions are discovered. Involving creative processes, studying cultures, places, finding room for improvement and finally testing thereby perceiving if the design actually works.

When revisiting the lecture I felt a strong connection between sustainability topics talked about and Eliasson’s exhibition I visited in December

After visiting ‘In real life’ exhibition at the Tate I felt a direct connection to the lecture on great design, specifically the Little Sun by Olafur Eliasson:

Little sun By Olafur Eliasson

Little Suns are hand-held, solar powered lamps. The appearance of the Little Sun Original was inspired by the Ethiopian meskel flower, a national symbol of positivity.

As I learnt in the lecture, great design is one that studies cultures, Eliasson researched different civilisations throughout Africa and decided on the Ethiopian meskel flower, signifying happiness, new beginning and rebirth in Ethiopian culture.

Meskel flower

What increasingly I have realised is that sustainability is a need that nowadays has become part of great design thinking, we have to innovate and conceive that great design has to acknowledge the future we live in and consider sustainability to stay at the back of our minds because great design needs to expand into sustainable issues. Eliasson’s project created a community of people involved in the Little Sun and improved jobs in local communities. What I feel could be developed in such circular system is a way to Recycle the product when worn out, even though Little Sun is made of recyclable ABS and the company stated that they are researching on more sustainable materials, perhaps thinking about ways to create an internal recycling system like the FairPhone company mentioned earlier, I believe would make its design greater.


Where places in the world without access to electricity, Little suns supply light and reduce the use of unstable and polluting fossil fuels in homes, for example Kerosene. Another requisite for great design is that it is designed to tackle a problem by understanding needs. Eliasson designed the lamps with the solar engineer Frederik Ottesen and launched the social business at Tate Modern in 2012. Today, more than 1,000,000 lamps have been distributed across the world. Sales made in countries with electricity, deliver one little sun to an African community at a locally afforded price. Little sun helps local entrepreneurs to start their own businesses selling Little sun lamps. In addition, Eliasson has arranged a donation based model to provide clean light to health workers, students and refugees who could not afford it diversely. This being part of the iterative process which is testing the product or service and perfecting its nature by finding creative ways to innovate. Furthermore, the artist and the Little sun team not only provide a product but are employing it to raise awareness around the world about the importance of access to clean energy.


Bruce Mau | 24 Principles for Massive Change | SXSW 2018 – YouTube (2018). Available at: (Accessed: 26 February 2020).

Fairphone | The phone that cares for people and planet (2020). Available at: (Accessed: 6 March 2020).

How Does Design Affect Our Lives? | Medicine Man (2017). Available at: (Accessed: 26 February 2020).

Impact – Little Sun (2020). Available at: (Accessed: 26 February 2020).

Wax, D. (2008) 7 Essential Guidelines For Functional Design — Smashing Magazine. Available at: (Accessed: 26 February 2020).