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What is Circular Design? Tinna October 12, 2021
What is Circular Design?
Circular Revolution

What is Circular Design?

Over the last 30 years numerous design approaches have been suggested for improving the environmental profile of product such as, Green Design, Eco Design and Sustainable Design. The latest evolution of these practices is Circular Design and is being hailed as a key enabler for driving the Circular Economy transit ion

Although built on the philosophies and principles of its predecessors, what sets Circular design apart is the way in which it account s for not only the entire product eco system through business model innovation , but also integrates multi - lifetime t hinking as well through strategies such as design for durability , upgradability, repair, disassembly, refurbishment and finally recycle.

Who is using it?

It has been e mbraced as a practice by many leading manufacturers across the world such as IKEA, Bugab oo, Philips, H&M, Signify, and Electrolux, as Circular Design strategies help organisations to maximise the economic and environmental value of their products. For example, Bugaboo strollers are designed so they can be easily repaired and refurbished, this not only increases consumer sat isfaction, and improves lifespan but also enables them to easily re - sell any damaged or returned stock preventing these products from being discarded. While Signfy design their B2B luminaires to be modular so can be easily u pgraded over time. This enables them to both retain customers as requirements e volve, but also maintain high quality service while minimising resources needed for future repairs and servicing

So how can I get started using Circular Design?

Both practitioners and academics have developed tools and strategies for facilitating this in products

From practitioners: check out IDEO’s (2017) ‘Circular Design Guide’ developed in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur foundation,Forum for the future’s(2016) ‘Design on Demand’ or for an more in-depth case study The Great Recovery Project report document.
From academia: explore ‘Products that last’  by Bakker et al., (2014) and the ‘Circular Design Framework‘ by Moreno et al., (2016). Both publications offer insight into the strategies and business archetypes needed to facilitated circular design giving practical advice on where to get started
From Circular Revolution: we will be running Circular Design workshops as part of Circular Revolution engagement strategy, so if you would like to know more about this, or chat with one of our researchers on how to embed circular design into your process please contact: