#06 Sylwia Ulicka from Puebla: Questioning Material Culture

An human-made artefact is symbolic of the world view held by the society in which it is created S.  WALKER

Sylwia Ulicka talks in her lecture about the complexity of products, what they can tell about society and the importance of material choices when it comes up to design. As the topic of sustainability is very complex, she gives the advice that we as designers should look for roadmaps, methods, tools, and indicators to find proper solutions to achieve sustainable development which fits to the needs of humans today and tomorrow.

She refers to the so called Brutland Report, 1997, where the term Sustainability first got established. She mentions the often-used quote: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” to highlight the complexity of factors which inherent development. 

She splits up different design fields into different levels. I personally see herself in the third level, which she defines with the design branches: Speculative Design, Critical Design and Radical Design. These branches are disconnected from economic system and focus on cultural and personal aspects. 

She brings up very interesting topics like Ephemeral Objects, where she talks about a candle stick which is fully reusable, because it’s made out of material you can find in your own kitchen. At the end there is no waste. A perfect sustainable solution. But people won’t use this solution, just because it does not fit into our aesthetical perception. She also shows some example from her own students, “objetos incomodos” which offers provocative design solutions to make social grievances visible.