GreenBlue CEO Makes Case for Aesthetics in Sustainable Design with New Book
People often equate environmentally friendly cars, buildings, and products with being unsightly. Yet not only can sustainable design be beautiful, argues author Lance Hosey, its beauty can make it more sustainable.
“Conventional wisdom portrays green as not just occasionally but inevitably unattractive, as if beauty and sustainability were incompatible,” Hosey writes in his new book, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology and Design (Island Press), out this month. Yet, “long-term value is impossible without sensory appeal, because if design doesn’t inspire, it’s destined to be discarded.”
In his book, Hosey outlines a manifesto for both designers and consumers interested in bridging appearances and doing right by the planet. He identifies three core principles of sustainable design–conservation, attraction and connection–to show how good design and green design can become one and the same. Hosey cites such examples as:
- Cars so aerodynamic they get 80 miles a gallon without new technology;
- Comfortable chairs built from a single piece of plywood;
- Packaging that uses less material while keeping food fresher;
- Electronics so appealing you can’t throw them away; and
- Buildings that adapt to their locations to use a fraction of typical energy needs.
The first book to outline principles for the aesthetics of sustainable design, The Shape of Green does not ask that consumers sacrifice comfort. Rather, it shows how designers can create products that are aesthetically pleasing, environmentally friendly, and enjoyable for years to come. “Can we be as smart about how things look as we are about how they work?” asks Hosey.
Hosey, a nationally recognized architect, designer, and author, is President & CEO of GreenBlue, a nonprofit working to make products more sustainable. Hosey has more than two decades of experience in sustainable design and strategy, and he has worked with some of the world’s leading companies to advance sustainable innovation. Previously he was Director with the renowned pioneer of sustainable design William McDonough + Partners.
“It’s time someone revealed that the oppositions of sustainability vs. style, ethics vs. aesthetics, are false starts. In this book, Lance Hosey helps retire that opposition and shows us what makes beauty and sustainability one and the same.”
—Susan Szenasy, Editor-in-Chief, Metropolis Magazine
Lance Hosey is “an inspirational guide to a future we can’t wait to embrace.”
—John Elkington, co-founder of SustainAbility and founding partner of Volans