Interview with Marco Capellini – Eng

23 12 2010

Marco Capellini
Italian Architect and EcoDesigner

Could you introduce yourself ( education, jobs, works…) ?

Architect and designer
Degree with honours in Architecture, achieved at the Faculty of Architecture of the Milan Polytechnic University, specialized in Industrial Design.
Works as a free-lance professional in Ecodesign and environmental consulting at his own studio CAPELLINI Design & Consulting, with offices in Milan, Rome and Sao Paulo, and through national and international co-operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Portugal, France, Mexico, China, UK, USA.
Professor in the course on “Industrial design” at the Faculty of Architecture of the Camerino University, Ascoli Piceno, for the Industrial Design Degree.
Co-operates with some of the main international companies, such as Indesit Company, Fiat auto, Tetrapak, ABB, MTS, 3M, Boffi, Nivea, Coca Cola Italia, for the development of products and services with a reduced environmental impact.
Cooperates with some of the main national and international associations, consortia, and Ministries, such as Co.Re.Pla., Comieco, Cial, Conai, Ministry of the Environment, for the development of eco-design research and publications.
In 2005 conceived and implemented the Remade in Italy project – the first national project for the development of products from recycled materials, expanded at an international level to Portugal, Argentina and Chile.
In 2002 conceived and implemented the MATREC (Material Recycling) project, the first Italian data base on recycling, as a tool to support companies in the development of low-impact products.
Author of a number of articles on ecodesign issues and of the book “Italian Design for Sustainability” supervised by the Italian Ministry of the Environment
Organizes shows and events and is a Lecturer at national and international conferences on ecodesign.
Winner of the FAAR Award in 1995 and acknowledged with the XVII Compasso d’Oro Award.

Why did you choose design ecological products ?

I started my activity in 1995 with my thesis about the sky boot recycle. After this project I collaborated with Indesit Company (Home domestic Appliances) about a new redesign of whashing machine. In 1998 CAPELLINI design & consulting activity started with some collaboration with companies an public organization. Was not easy to find collaboration but step by step I started to work some important project.
The environmental issues are increasingly entering the aspects related to the development of new products, determining in some way a new identity of the products and the market. According to this scenario, the products realized with sustainable materials play a fundamental role, they are the expression of a strategy focusing on the enhancement of our wastes.
We need a strong engagement by designers and from the enterprises in pursuing ecodesign strategies for the development of new products and services. We need to create support means for the design and the market trend in order to pursue the right choices in the phase of the conception of the product until the divestment and to be more competitive on a more and more global market.

Did you have particular difficulties when you started your project ?

In 1998 there were many problems because the environment problem was not important. I remember the hard work to convince the firms to project ecodesign products. Subsequently to European Union introduced different directives about the waste and so some company started to work on ecodesign.

What are your current and future projects ?

A lot of international companies are asking me a support to develop ecodesign products and environmental market strategies. I am very happy because is a good opportunity to promote ecodesign “think” around the world. In this moment I am working in Italy, Portugal, UK, Brazil, USA, Argentina and China.
Here “innovation goes through design for sustainability”: the are many opportunities to be got, we only need to detect and develop them.
The future is to work on Design for Sustainability: Environment, Social and economic aspect contained in the product. New products must respect the environment, the job and the final price. This aspect will be very important for the company and for the market. The end consumer must be able to choose a responsable product.
In the international context, the demand is growing on the side of businesses to renew their products and processes for facing up the competitive pressures and for increasing productivity and market shares. Product innovation is becoming one of the strategic options to best compete in the actual globalized market. The opening of new markets, the high quality requirements of consumer goods, and the growing internal and international competition has generated a consistent demand in product innovation. Businesses, even those small or medium companies, run the risk of not surviving over a long period of time if innovation doesn’t become integrated in the development process of new products. In this scenario of new opportunity a new challenge, ecodesign plays a key role in the corporate strategy for satisfying the evergrowing demand for environmental quality of products.

Would you be tempted by other artistic experiences dealing with ecology?


Free comments

In the past few years we have seen gradually growing attention towards environmental issues. The warnings of environmentalist associations and scientists on the disasters the planet is likely to face, the position of governments with respect to environmental protection with the subsequent enforcement of rules, the over-exploitation of the earth’s natural resources, the mass production of “new” products aimed at satisfying more and more demanding consumers are some of the main causes for a general situation characterized by growing awareness of the non-sustainability of the present production and consumption models.

We have realized that something is indeed changing.

Never before was the environmental issue so much at the focus of advertising campaigns aimed at promoting the sale of ecological products. Vehicles, mobile devices, household appliances, clothes, furnishing, and much more have suddenly turned “green”. Moreover, the proliferation of environmental brands and certifications (sometimes “homemade”), meant to provide some “guarantee” to consumers on the purchase of products respectful of the environment, may cause confusion rather than provide information.

But can we trust everything they say? How do we know?

A product’s sustainability cannot be measured, weighed, touched, or smelled.
A product’s sustainability cannot be purchased.
Sustainability in a product is the need to integrate environmental, social, and economic values into it.

Such factors as materials, production processes, transports, consumptions, and end-of-life disposal characterize a product’s sustainability. The task for designers and companies is to conceive and produce new products with a close focus on all environmental and social issues.
A designer’s task is to pursue the best possible product sustainability through the selection of forms and functions maximizing use and durability.
The companies’ task is to “produce for sustainability” through an appropriate and responsible selection of materials, production processes, transport systems, and usage functions.

Lots of small, medium, and large enterprises have found in design for sustainability a solution to conceive new product lines.
Products that cost few Euros, and products that cost thousands of Euros. Products in which design is the result of a process characterized by a responsible selection of materials, technologies, and features.
Products that allow to reconcile ecological effectiveness with cost effectiveness.
Other companies have seen sustainability as merely a new sales channel and, thus, as the opportunity to create products for a specific market segment.
It is not enough to sell a product marked as “eco” without any substantial continuous improvement in view of sustainability.

But there is more to it.

The sustainability traits of a product should be communicated. Consumers too should be responsible for their buying choices.
Consumers should be “informed” and “educated”. Consumers should also be enabled to recognize, compare, and choose the social and environmental value of a product

Marco Capellini 2Marco Capellini 3Marco Capellini 4Marco Capellini 5

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