Tim Brown - CEO & President, IDEO: If one's really honest with oneself, most of what we design ends up in a landfill somewhere. And I'm pretty sure most of the products that I have designed in my career, most instances of that, of the millions of things that have been produced are probably in landfills today. That isn't something that I was conscious of when I started working in design. It didn't even really sort-of occur to me because it doesn't really occur to us as a society, I think. Now, to be a designer, you have to take that into consideration because we have to think about these complex systems in which our products exist.
Davin Stowell - CEO & Founder, Smart Design: If I think of my admiration for Eames, it was an admiration for his ability to identify the qualities of new materials, which could be used to create new objects, but nobody worried about whether fiberglass was going to cause disease or going to be difficult to dispose of. I mean, life was a little simpler for him, in that regard. He could just think about using those materials for their best design attributes. But now, we have to face this idea that what we do is not just the way we create some individual design, it's what happens afterwards, when we've finished our design,
Davin Stowell - CEO & Founder, Smart Design: people have used it.
Karim Rashid - Designer: [... ] Am I playing a game to show that I can differentiate
[myself from other designers]
Karim Rashid - Designer: ? Or am I actually really doing something that is contributive? Because the big issue with design is: are the things we are doing really making an effect and making change? 78% of the world is completely impractical; 78% of the world is uncomfortable. You feel it. You know, you feel that hotel rooms are poorly designed, you sit in chairs that are very uncomfortable and it's crazy. You imagine, if you design a million chairs to date, or how many chairs have been done in the world, why on Earth would we have an uncomfortable chair? There's like no excuse, whatsoever.
Alice Rawsthorn - Design Editor, International Herald Tribune: Arguably, the biggest single challenge facing every area of design right now is sustainability. It's no longer possible for designers to ignore the implications of continuing to produce more and more new stuff that sometimes we need and sometimes we don't need. Designers spend most of their time designing products and services for the 10% of the world's population that already own too much when 90% don't even have basic products and services to lead a subsistent life. Though a lot of designers believe emotionally and intellectually in sustainability, they and the manufacturers they work for are finding it very, very difficult to come to terms with. Because sustainability isn't just a sort of pretty, glamorous process of using recycled materials to design something that may or may not come in the color green. It's about redesigning every single aspect, from sourcing materials to designing to production to shipping and then eventually designing a way that those products can be disposed of responsibly. That's a mammoth task, so it's no wonder that designers and manufacturers are finding it so difficult.
Karim Rashid - Designer: We have advanced technologically so far and yet somehow, it's almost some sort of paranoia where we're afraid to really say 'we live in the third technological revolution.' I have an iPod in my pocket, I have a mobile phone, I have a laptop, but then somehow, I end up going home and sitting on wood-spindle, Wittengale-like chairs. So, in a way, you could argue that we're building all these kind-of really kitsch stage-sets that have absolutely nothing to do with the age in which we live in.
Karim Rashid - Designer: It'd be like, imagine right now, I'm sitting at my laptop, and I say 'oh, I've got to go out', what am I going to do? Go out and get my horse and carriage? No, of course not.
Karim Rashid - Designer: If the shelf life of a high-tech object is less than eleven months, it should be all 100% disposable. You know, I think my laptop, in a way, should be made of cardboard or my mobile phone could be a piece of cardboard or it could be just made out of something like, I don't know, sugar cane or some bio-plastic, etc. Why on Earth does anything have to be built to be permanent?