The Temporal Fallacy: Design and emotional obsolescence

Jonathan Chapman, Giovanni Marmont

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


In this chapter, we show how a deeper understanding of acts of use might be helpful in extending both the physical and emotional durability of products. Such attentiveness towards the actual behavioural dimension of person-thing encounters can enable designers to encourage longer-lasting interactions with products and services, consequently minimising the consumption of resources. Over the past decades, increasingly pressing issues of sustainability have claimed central stage within design activity. As a result, strategies like design for recycling, disassembly, service and energy efficiency, for example, have become commonplace in today’s process. The prevalence of such approaches has so far overshadowed the experiential dimension of product use, which seemingly remains a relatively under-explored arena. This has skewed the subject area, placing uneven focus on a handful of established sustainable design methods, in neglect of less familiar yet potentially more impactful ones. The aim of this chapter, therefore, is not that of proposing instructions, standardised design research methodologies or protocols of creative action. It is instead our intention to present a perspective, placing under critical scrutiny a number of speculative, yet nonetheless practical, approaches to design for sustainability. Although admittedly and largely a theoretical undertaking, we hope that this investigation will also provide useful inspiration for the work of design practitioners working across a range of fields and sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design
EditorsRachel Beth Egenhoefer
ISBN (Electronic)9781315625508
ISBN (Print)9781138650176
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2017

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks


  • Use
  • Temporality
  • Obsolescence
  • Emotional durability
  • Becoming
  • Interruption

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