Slow Design

          The slow design movement seeks an approach to designing that takes into consideration material and social factors as well as short and long-term impacts of the design, balancing individual, socio-cultural, and environmental needs. It aims to create tailored solutions for the long term wellbeing of individuals, society, and the natural environment. To this end, the movement focuses on the positive synergies between the elements in a system, celebrates diversity and regionalism, and cultivates meaningful relationships that add richness to life. Slow inspired design asks its users to think of themselves as co-designers or participants, instead of as passive consumers. Process therefore plays a very important role in slow designing, with a focus on open-source, collaborative and co-operative aspects that fit perfectly with the new dynamics of our changed economy.

The six guiding principles of the slow design movement were presented by Carolyn Strauss and Alastair Fuad-Luke in 2008 at an international conference in Turin, Italy:

Reveal: slow design reveals spaces and experiences in everyday life that are often missed or forgotten, including the materials and processes that can easily be overlooked in an artifact’s creation or existence.

Expand: slow design considers the real and potential 'expressions' of artifacts and environments beyond their perceived functionality, physical attributes and lifespans.

Reflect: slowly-designed artifacts and environments induce contemplation and reflective consumption.

Engage: slow design processes are 'open source' and collaborative, relying on sharing, co-operation and transparency of information so that designs may continue to evolve into the future.

Participate: slow design encourages people to become active participants in the design process, embracing ideas of conviviality and exchange to foster social accountability and enhance communities.

Evolve: slow design recognises that richer experiences can emerge from the dynamic maturation of artifacts and environments over time. Looking beyond the needs and circumstances of the present day, slow design processes and outcomes become agents of both preservation and transformation.