What visual and sensory signatures distinguish ‘green’ design principles?
And; what ‘misplaced’ imagery or features confuse or obscure these?
Achille Castiglione, the great Italian designer, has observed that aesthetics show you the intention of the designer. Our aesthetic response to objects, features and structures in our built environment is largely a matter of conditioning, and of a conditioned reaction to history. At a deep level aesthetic ‘language’ is a component of constructed meaning, and it is this constructed meaning which we experience alongside our actual sensory experience in the moment of using or encountering things. The work of the designer is that of combining the above challenges with the practical issues of material availabilities and properties, of manufacturing techniques, of creative and problem solving concepts, and with the many apparently conflicting pressures within the total picture of the business of product design.
This phenomenon makes it a difficult challenge to answer the question, ‘what does ecologically responsible design look like?’ sadly because we have little history with it. Difficult because the history of design is the history of repeated metaphors, of images and appearances copied from one era to the next in differing guises. Alternatively, if not copied, then reacted against. Reacting against something does not guarantee improvement, but rather just changing appearances, often leaving the underlying and flawed processes unaddressed. Old metaphors will not help us. The history of design imperatives has been, we now see, the history of narrow perspectives, of exploitation, and of grandiosity.