Design & SimulationOctober 27, 2021

Discover “Waste Age: What Can Design Do”

Discover the story behind AURORA in the Design in the Age of…
Avatar Maryann Dennehy

Discover the story behind AURORA in the Design in the Age of Experience webcast Thursday, October 28

With the UN Climate Conference COP26 opening next week in Glasgow, it feels as if the entire world is laser-focused on climate change. But CO2 isn’t the only environmental problem plaguing the planet. Waste – from bulging landfills to oceans choked with plastic to tire dumps, abandoned industrial sites, crumbling cities and ubiquitous roadside litter – is everywhere.

In short, human habitation has made a mess of Mother Earth.

While climate change is something that everyone can do something about, our individual efforts can feel small. Important, of course – if everyone does something, the collective, cumulative effort will begin to make a difference. But reducing waste is an area where a little bit of raised awareness can move the needle quickly – and that’s exactly the premise behind “Waste Age: What Can Design Do?”, an exhibit currently running at the Design Museum in London.

The AURORA installation at the Design Museum manifests a new era in sustainable design (image courtesy of the Design Museum)

From documenting the impacts of waste materials to showcasing artwork, furniture and other useful items made from it, the show focuses not just on stopping waste, but also on how to reclaim much of what already exists as material for new uses.

As a company dedicated to creating software that helps with “harmonizing product, nature and life,” it’s only natural that Dassault Systèmes wanted to play an important role in the Waste Age exhibit. Visitors to the Design Museum can’t miss the company’s contribution: as they enter the atrium, visitors pass beneath a cascade of 3D-printed crystal and wood-look panels that could be mistaken for a permanent chandelier. From some angles, it even evokes the image of a cityscape – an environment where waste is a particular challenge due to sheer volume.

But don’t be fooled by its beauty. The AURORA installation – co-created by renowned London architect Arthur Mamou-Mani and a team from the Dassault Systèmes Design Studio led by Anne Asensio, has a lot to say about why humanity makes so much waste and what we can do to reverse the trend.

The story starts with changing the first question designers ask when they launch a project, from “What should it be?” to “What should it be made of?” That’s a question that’s generally decided independent of designers, so manufacturers and builders also need a new focus on sustainable materials. The choice of material is important because some materials lend themselves to recovery and recycling better than others. Wood, for example, can be disassembled and reused. Concrete can only be blasted into rubble and carted to a landfill.

Anne Asensio and Arthur Mamou-Mani

The processes and tools used to create a design also matter, and AURORA explains why a team that works on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform have a massive head start on their sustainability journey from Day One. For a quick glimpse into why, check out the AURORA image gallery in Compass magazine. For an even deeper dive, add Thursday’s Design in the Age of Experience webcast to your calendar, where Arthur, Anne and other distinguished guests will share more details of AURORA’S journey and the amazing platform that helped give life to their vision.

Their story will change the way you look at waste. And, for those of you who are designers, engineers, manufacturers, marketers, logistics managers and more, it just might change your approach to avoiding, repurposing, rethinking and eliminating waste – from your products and from your business.

Learn more: Take a virtual tour of AURORA to discover its hidden design lessons

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