Subject object relationships and emotionally durable design

Jonathan Chapman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Design has a central role in the creation of longer user product relationships. Thus far, however, sustainable design methodologies have attended almost exclusively to the somewhat superficial, bodily survival of manufactured objects, to after-effects rather than causes. Durability is as much about emotion, love and attachment as it is about fractured polymers, worn gaskets or blown circuitry. There is little point designing physical durability into goods if consumers lack the desire to keep them. The scope and power of emotional experiences delivered via objects produced through the current system are incredibly limited. Their ability to support and mediate evolving narrative experiences are weak. Commercially viable strategies are needed for emotionally durable objects which engage users on deeper and more profound levels, delivering intense and sophisticated experiences that penetrate the user psyche over longer, more rewarding, periods of time. New, alternative genres of objects could increase the durability of relationships between users and products, people and things. This will demand novel and provocative models of sustainable design capable of developing emotionally durable objects and empowering consumers to transcend the superficial urgencies of conventional consumerism and forge deep emotive connections with their possessions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLonger Lasting Solutions: Advancing Sustainable Development Through Increased Product Durability
EditorsTim Cooper
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherAshgate (Gower)
ISBN (Print)9780566088087
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

Bibliographical note

By Jonathan Chapman © 2006


  • Product life
  • WEEE Directive
  • attachment. emotionally durable design
  • sustainability
  • ewaste


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