28./29. jän. 2015, mi/do, 10:00–17:00

emotional durable design
workshop mit jonathan chapman

warum werfen wir produkte weg, obwohl sie noch tadellos funktionieren? 
wie können wir produkte gestalten, damit wir menschen sie länger benutzen?

um antworten auf diese fragen zu bekommen veranstalten wir einen 2-tägigen workshop mit jonathan chapman im wiener designforum. gemeinsam mit designaustria und der fh salzburg bringen michael leube und GP designpartners mr. chapman nach wien.

im workshop diskutieren, experimentieren und entwickeln wir »emotionally durable design«. ein muss für alle an unserem lebensraum interessierten designer. anmelden und bereit sein für ein ereignis der sonderklasse.

Professor Jonathan Chapman

is Director of Design Research Initiatives at the University of Brighton, UK. He is founder of the emotionally durable design movement, which he first published in his book,

Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences & Empathy

(Routledge, 2005) . Since publication, the term ‘emotional durability’ has been adopted by designers, students and educators around the world, providing valuable shorthand for the complex and manifold factors that determine the endurance of ‘value’ and ‘meaning’ in a given object. 

Chapman’s research in the field of longer lasting products and sustainable design has been widely adopted by some of the world’s largest design-led corporations including SONY, Philips, Samsung and Puma. He was invited to stand before the House of Lords (2008) and present formal evidence as part of their Enquiry into Waste Reduction (2008); advising on the development of EU environmental policies for the design of longer lasting electronic products. 

Chapman is a key contributor to the discourses on design, sustainability and innovation, receiving significant levels of critical acclaim from the United Nations (UN), New Statesman, New York Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, several features and interviews on BBC Radio 4 (Something Understood, Material World, Click-On and The Today Programme) and the New Scientist, who described him as a ‘mover and shaker’, and, ‘a new breed of sustainable design thinker’.


In today’s unsustainable world of goods, where products are desired, purchased, briefly used and then promptly land filled to make way for more, consumption and waste are rapidly spiraling out of control with truly devastating ecological consequences. Landfills are packed with stratum upon stratum of ‘durable’ goods that slowly compact and surrender working order beneath a substantial volume of likeminded scrap. It therefore appears clear that there is little point designing physical durability into goods, if consumers lack the desire to keep them. Why do we, as a consumer society, have such short-lived and under-stimulating relationships with the objects that we invest such time, thought and money in acquiring, but that will soon be thoughtlessly discarded?

What is ‘emotionally durable design’?

Emotionally durable design is an approach to design that reduces the consumption and waste of natural resources by increasing the resilience of relationships established between consumers and products. Professor Chapman established this theory in his book, Emotionally Durable Design (2005); describing how the process of consumption is, and has always been, motivated by complex emotional drivers, and is about far more than just the mindless purchasing of newer and shinier things; it is a journey towards the ideal or desired ‘self’, that through cyclical loops of desire and disappointment, becomes a seemingly endless process of serial destruction. 

The emotional durability of a product can be influenced through a range of means. In particular, by considering the following 5 points:

  • Narrative: users share an evolving history with the product
  • Consciousness: the product possesses free will, a mind of its own
  • Attachment: users feel a strong emotional connection to the product
  • Fiction: the product sustains mystery and holds attention
  • Surface: the product ages well and develops character through use

Workshop aims

This creative workshop aims to explore new routes to waste reduction by increasing the durability of relationships established between users and products; reducing the impact of modern consumption without compromising commercial viability or creative edge; addressing the actual causes that underpin the environmental crisis we face, to develop creative strategies, practical tools and object proposals that support deeper and more meaningful relationships with their users.

Design brief

In groups, develop a proposal for an emotionally durable product. The final proposal must be presented clearly and fully using a combination of 2D and 3D means. You will also be required to deliver a 10-minute pitch. The work package should clearly detail what it is, why you have done it that way, how it works and who it is for. Finally, you need to be able to justify your proposal from social, economic and ecological perspectives.


Day 1 (10am-5pm)

Coffee and Registration

  • Welcome, introduce aims/structure of workshop [30 minutes]
  • Lecture: ‘Emotionally Durable Design’ [1 hour]
  • Discussion: challenging the throwaway society [1 hour]


  • View display of participants’ cherished objects [30 minutes]
  • Object handling session: [1 hour minutes]
  • Discussion: why cherished objects mean what they mean [30 minutes]


  • Introduce brief [10-minutes]
  • Energy session: brainstorming in groups [50 minutes]
  • Share session: key insights shared with other groups [1-hour]

Day 2 (10am-5pm)


  • Recap of Day 1, introduce Day 2 [30 minutes]
  • All groups share early ideas [30 minutes]
  • Group work, facilitated by Prof Chapman [1 hour]

Working lunch

  • Group work, facilitated by Prof Chapman [2 hour]


  • Pitch: final proposal for an emotionally durable product/system [2 hours] 
  • Review: discussion of key themes, ideas, lessons learnt [30 minutes]
  • Close: workshop

to warm up and if you want to be prepared for the workshop, though it isn’t mandatory:


Chapman, J., Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences and Empathy, Earthscan, London, 2005

Slade, G., Made to Break: Technology & Obsolescence in America, Harvard University Press, November 2007 

Packard, V., The Waste Makers, Penguin, Middlesex, 1963

Sterling, B., Shaping Things, MIT Press, 2005

Cooper, T., Longer Lasting Products: Alternatives to the Throwaway Society, Gower, 2010

Miller, G., Stuff, Polity Press, 2009

McDounough W. and Braungart M., Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, New York, North Point Press, 2002