Design Museum London: Waste Age - What can Design do?

Designers are rethinking our relationship to everyday objects

Design Museum London: Waste Age
Source & Copyright by Design Museum London

Author: Hanna Lona Werner

We live in the age of waste. In its exhibition "Waste Age: What can Design do?", the Design Museum in London asks the essential question of what contribution designers can make to leaving our throwaway culture behind us once and for all. Until the 20th of February, the carefully curated exhibition therefore illuminates a possible path of design towards the circular economy. Visitors are invited to discover what is possible in the fields of designer fashion, construction, food, packaging as well as technology.

By now, most people are aware that waste is a huge problem of our time. The exhibition "Waste Age: What can Design do?" provides answers to the central question of how we can meet this challenge. A new generation of designers is challenging the status quo and thus rethinking our relationship to objects of everyday use. They are striving for a future in which sustainable materials and a circular economy are the way out of the waste age.

Design Museum London: Waste Age

Source & Copyright by Design Museum London

Whether fashion, food, electrical appliances, building materials or packaging. The designers find the lost value of everyday objects in our rubbish, showing how they can be reprocessed into new valuable resources. Visitors to the exhibition will also have the opportunity to discover furniture made from food or plastic waste, CO2-negative fashion, novel materials made from food scraps and many other highlights.

The exhibition includes numerous new exhibits that drastically make the terrifying effects of waste tangible for the viewer. For example, a large-scale installation by Ibrahim Mahama is made entirely of electrical waste from Ghana. Many other designers are also reinventing our relationship with waste. Formafantasma, Stella McCartney, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Lacaton & Vassal, Bethany Williams, Fernando Laposse, Natsai Audrey Chieza and Phoebe English also contributed designs to the exhibition.

The Design Museum's DNA – Vision, Goal, Mission, Values ​​& Commitments

It is not without reason that the Design Museum London is the place where "Waste Age: What can Design do?" is exhibited. Embedded in the museum's DNA are a clear vision, a strong purpose, a great mission, important values and landmark commitments:

  • Vision: Everyone appreciates design
  • Goal: Make the effects of design visible
  • Mission: Reinforce the public perception of design by connecting design and people's lives and passions. Reflect the role of the designer in social, technological and environmental change. Represent the design community by inviting designers to think publicly together
  • Values: Collaboration, welcoming, resourcefulness and looking forward
  • Obligations: Creating equality, diversity and inclusion in order to design a sustainable future
    "We have to face up to the waste problem - we can no longer ignore what happens to things when we get rid of them," says curator Gemma Curtin.

Instead of looking at objects as things that have a finite life, we should rather perceive them as objects with many different lives. Everyone can contribute to reducing their own waste: Calculate, track and reduce your biological footprint. We can also inform and educate ourselves about the problem of waste. This includes recycling electronic objects or repairing (or having repaired) more instead of throwing them away.

Until the 20th of February, it is still possible to visit the exhibition, which is truly a campaign for sustainable change. It shows us that we should all play an active role in shaping our desired future. You can find all the information about the exhibition here.


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