Materially yours

Elvin Karana, Elisa Giaccardi, Valentina Rognoli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

1 Citation (Scopus)


Materials embedded in products behave differently with the passing of time. This can be witnessed either as graceful ageing, or as material degradation. Some materials can appear to be ‘alive’: they can sense and respond, and change state; they can show different ‘faces’ depending on applications and circumstances; they can remain personal and appropriate over time. Materials can reflect fashions in a particular era, or they can exhibit timelessness, for example. Such experiential qualities of materials inevitably affect the way we use, and the time span we possess, everyday products. In this chapter, we propose three strategies, which focus on the potential experiences we have with and through the materials of products that last; these are: (1) embrace imperfection; (2) do it yourself; and (3) multi-situated materials. With the term ‘materially yours’, we highlight the idea of resilience thinking, in which the most responsive to change will survive. We capitalize on this thinking in all three strategies, by offering a sense of ambiguity, curiosity, flexibility and openness in material thinking in design. We further explain these new strategies with a number of illustrative cases throughout the chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Sustainable Product Design
EditorsJ. Chapman
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-69330-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-91017-1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • DIY materials
  • Imperfection
  • Materials experience
  • Multi-situated materials

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  • Cite this

    Karana, E., Giaccardi, E., & Rognoli, V. (2017). Materially yours. In J. Chapman (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Product Design (pp. 206-221). Taylor & Francis.