Christien Meindertsma Knows Sustainability

Christien Meindertsma Knows Sustainability

Although sustainability has become quite a catchy word when speaking about design, it seems rather difficult to understand what it should actually mean. As the undiscussed master Dieter Rams said already in 1987 “Good design conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product,” it is rather difficult to accept the expression ‘sustainable design’ as a 21st century neologism.

Fortunately not all designers apply sustainability as a marketing etiquette. Christien Meindertsma takes the fact for granted, as an obvious quality of every designed product. Since her first projects Christien has put particular accent on the importance of understanding the whole industrial process, from the recovery of raw material to distribution and the final cost of the product.

One of Christien’s most acclaimed projects is the book “PIG 05049” that catalogues 185 worldwide products which contained various parts of a single dutch pig. The book can be taken as a manifesto of Christien’s work as she always tries to make visible the link between traditional local production and contemporary industrial design; the relationship often considered taboo in design culture. As Christien declares “I’d like to make transparent the product that also makes sense. It’s kind of a documentary way of designing, and that’s become my working method”.

Taking this path isn’t as simple as it seems, though. Selling locally produced objects often doesn’t walk hand in hand with the capitalist market. In order to avoid that the work of designers like Christien becomes just a utopian dream, while we as consumers should become more aware and finally stop falling off our feet hearing the word ‘sustainability’.

Rujana Rebernjak – Images courtesy of Christien Meindertsma