‘Reverse design’ is a phrase you’re probably going to be hearing again. It’s a practical and clever assault on the war on waste: instead of designing a product, and then sourcing the raw materials from which to make it, why not do it the other way around? Why not start with the raw materials, and work out how to use it as efficiently as you can? Two great recent examples show the way. First, Formtank’s 4foldlow table, whose base is made from a folded sheet of steel: using reverse design, its creator George Rice has squeezed eight tables from one sheet, wasting just 3.5 per cent of it – and it looks incredible. Second, Tom Dixon’s two new stools, one of which is made from offcuts of the other: one’s called Slab, and the other one’s called, you guessed, Offcut. (I feel a bit sorry for Offcut: I reckon Tom could have come up with a nicer name to boost its self-esteem.) This is one design philosophy where the only mystery is why it’s not the norm already.
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