In relation to the growing topic of designing sustainably, one approach designers can take is to consider the complete lifecycle of the final product when approaching a problem. By considering not only the design process from research and concept to final execution, but the complete process, often refered to as 'cradle to grave' from the initial raw materials right through to how the product is disposed of at the end of it's 'life', the designer can ensure he/she has a much more positive impact on the planet. Furthermore, the design industries are beginning to approach designs with a 'cradle to cradle' lifecycle, meaning the designer considers how the product can be reused/recycled as something else to continue it's 'life'.
Two such quirky attempts from Dutch design company Atelier Bom Design , illustrate the 'cradle to cradle' approach in use. The first example uses recycled billboards to create bird houses for the garden; I like the fact the billboard and bird house having nothing in common yet one has been used to make the other - by using the old billboards, the designer has created a far more unusual, eye-catching bird house that couldn't been achieved with plywood.
The lampshades (above) have taken recycling in it's most literal sense by using old books to create handcrafted lights that are both environmentally friendly and aesthetically appealing.
Both these examples illustrate how approaching projects using 'cradle to cradle' principles can encourage creative outcomes. By adopting this new way of 'thinking' designers are not limiting their options, but opening up new avenues to explore particularly in terms of materials and form/function.