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Growing Materials: Becomings in Reuse Interior Design Work

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Staffan Appelgren
Publicerad i 15th EASA Biennial Conference, Stockholm, Staying, Moving, Settling
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier, socialantropologi
Språk en
Ämnesord reuse, design, growing, materials, circular economy
Ämneskategorier Design, Kulturstudier, Socialantropologi


Borrowing the concept of growing from the biotic world and employing it to analyse the handling of things and materials by a group of reuse interior designers, this paper seeks to develop a theory of reused things and their social and ecological embeddedness. Sustainable reuse interiors is an emerging field within the circular economy in Swedish society. As a consequence of recent reactions against wasteful renewal practices, public and corporate office spaces are increasingly revitalized by redesigning and upcycling salvaged materials, things and furniture. Given the heterogeneity and unpredictability of existing available materials, designers in this field need to be particularly attuned to materials and their qualities. They follow them and work along them, directing them along trajectories in order to extend their lifespan and to achieve specific functional and aesthetic goals. Materials and things, in turn, respond to these actions, and direct humans in various ways. This results in a collaborative process of attunement to the material and social affordances of things and humans. The paper argues that in contrast to making and constructing, growing can be understood as a continuous, evolving and irreversible process of interweaving internal properties of materials with external caring forces. Growing thus signifies both how usage and circulation add qualities and values to things and how these qualities and values are sought-after and actively enhanced by various growing techniques. This paper explores growing techniques of care, repair and creative redesign and the active becoming of things and materials through the incorporation of time.

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