Sometimes I can’t help but roll my eyes at the proliferation in recent years of conferences, courses, and seminars about green design. Naturally, I believe designers aren’t fully solving any design challenge if ecological impacts are not at least considered during the design process. But to me the basic tenets of green design aren’t very difficult to grasp: 1) reduce energy and waste 2) choose sustainable materials and 3) design for recyclability. That’s pretty much green design in a nutshell.
All three tenets have their quirks and challenges. I always give more credence to products that satisfy conditions #1 – reduce energy and waste and/or #2 – choose sustainable materials. That’s because #3 – design for recyclability – while really important, also requires the end customer to actually recycle in order for the environmental benefit to be realized. And we consumers are pretty lazy. So unless it’s a product we can easily drop in a recyclable bin, many of us simply won’t do it.
Onto the Happy Cloud Cruiser line of skateboards handmade and designed by Andreas Ekberg in New-Jersey.
These fun, quirky, beautiful boards are made of reclaimed woods such as birch plywood, red oak, maple and cherry hardwood. - a simple design choice yet one with profound implications not only for the environment but for consumers who get to have loads of fun on these skateboards while purchasing a product aligned more fully with their deepest values.
There is individual pride in that choice, and I would argue a psychological lift as well. That’s great news for designers and companies who make these kinds of simple green design decisions. Because customers who buy products which resonate more fully with who they are and who they aspire to be, are much more likely to evangelize those products to their friends and social networks. Word-of-mouth is the least costly and most powerful form of marketing in any company’s arsenal.
It doesn’t hurt either that Andreas draws design inspiration from his own childhood and early love of Legos. His boards evoke that joy. And joy too helps make the world go round.
Why It’s Green: Reclaimed wood is considered green because by given new life as another product it limits our reliance on virgin materials for new products and reduces the amount of waste going to landfills.