Meaningful Stuff: Towards longer lasting products

Jonathan Chapman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


In today's unsustainable world of goods, where products are desired, acquired, briefly used and then promptly discarded, the cycle of production, consumption and waste is spiraling out of control. The crisis of unsustainability is one of behaviour, and not of energy and materials alone. Materials are so much more than just skins to wrap technology; they are grossly undervalued in terms of their potential to contribute to the meaningfulness of human experience. Indeed, beyond their functional and utilitarian properties, materials connect us to a far deeper set of narratives surrounding complex and thorny issues of self, culture, society, economy and ecology. This ‘meaningful stuff’, therefore, shapes not only our made environment, but perhaps more importantly, our emotional experience of it. In examining our personal relationships with the stuff we own, this chapter aims to bring us closer to the behavioural roots of our ecological crisis whilst signposting new and critical directions for design to pursue; reframing materials as meaningful-matter that manipulates the way we encounter the made world, and the durability of the material relationships that form as a result.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaterials Experience: fundamentals of materials and design
EditorsE. Karana, O. Pedgley, V. Rognoli
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780080993768
ISBN (Print)9780080993591
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Meaningful Stuff: Towards longer lasting products'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this