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Design & Bioplastics

look for in bioplastics Actually a designer is certainly not limited to a specific material or a specific raw material. A designer will seek out a material that suits the overall product concept and aim. The anticipated life of the product, and thus the service life of the material used, also has to be added to the equation. If leather or wood is used partly to support the product image, then the product itself should be made from leather or wood.

Fig. 2: Biodegradable beach toys (Photo: Metabolix / Zoe b)

Where mass production is the aim (and industrial designers do hardly work on one-off products) then technical and economical factors will play a role. Plastics are not chosen because they are cheaper than other materials. This is a mistaken idea. Plastics are being much more frequently chosen by designers and engineers for the wide range of shapes that are possible, and thus the design freedom, even for mass produced products. Plastic is a chameleon of materials and so is very popular with designers. Using plastic it is possible to imitate other materials, both visually and even at times in a tactile way and – thanks to the energy saving processing of plastic – to create products that are cost effective and that minimise the use of limited natural resources. The cost-saving manufacturing processes have certainly led to the fact that plastics have for a long time been regarded as cheap materials. Today, however, plastics are used to produce high calibre, well-designed products without needing to disguise the fact that they are in fact plastics. If we sit in a current model car, for example one made in Germany, we immediately get a coherent, harmonious sense of its shape, surface finish, sound, colour and feel, without thinking about what materials it is made from. In most cases it will in fact be plastic. Verner Panton, the designer of that most recognisable plastic chair, said, as early as 1969, that “Strangely enough, plastics are still considered as a substitution for natural materials ... . This is nonsense! Plastics is a useful, independent material with endless aesthetic opportunities.” In the 1950s in his book entitled “Die Gute Form” (Good Shape), the Swiss designer Max Bill defined good design as design with a high level of user benefit, a long life, safety, ergonomics, economy, relevance and rationality. Had he been familiar with term he would also have included sustainability in this list.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/13] Vol. 8

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Profile for bioplastics MAGAZINE

bioplastics MAGAZINE 05/2013  

bioplastics MAGAZINE is the only independent trade magazine worldwide dedicated to bioplastics (i.e. plastics made from renewable resources...

bioplastics MAGAZINE 05/2013  

bioplastics MAGAZINE is the only independent trade magazine worldwide dedicated to bioplastics (i.e. plastics made from renewable resources...

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