Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences and Empathy

Jonathan Chapman

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredpeer-review


Following the award of a scholarship (£8,250.00) from the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, Dr Chapman undertook the research, development and writing of his first book. This 60,000-word monograph is a call to arms for both the professional and academic creative; a polemical work, in which the emergence of new and provocative genres of design are proposed that reduce the consumption and waste of natural resources by increasing the durability of relationships established between users and products. Emotionally Durable Design is the first in its genre to attend to the 'causes' rather than the 'symptoms' of the ecological predicament, projecting the reader beyond symptom-focused approaches to sustainable design such as recycling, biodegradability and design for disassembly, to address the deeper underlying causes of the problems we currently face. Dr Chapman argues that for decades the consumer machine has raged forth practically unchanged, leaving designers to attend the periphery, healing mere symptoms of what is in essence a fundamentally flawed system. By failing to understand the actual drivers underpinning the human consumption and waste of goods, design resigns itself to a peripheral activity rather than the central pioneer of positive social, economic and environmental change. Since international publication in June 2005, the book has been reprinted three times. Citations have included The House of Lords, The Independent, The New York Times, New Scientist, BBC Radio 4, New Statesman and the leading journal, Design Issues, among others.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
Number of pages211
ISBN (Print)1844071812
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Sustainable design
  • emotion
  • consumption
  • waste
  • attachment
  • durability
  • obsolescence
  • longevity


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