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Sustainable Materials Innovation for Product, Furniture and Packaging Design

Sustainable Materials Innovation for Product, Furniture and Packaging Design

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Rob Thompson


Is it possible for a designed item to be energy-neutral? How can design benefit people and the planet? Focusing on product, furniture and packaging, this intensive course will inspire and provoke new ways of thinking about the role of materials in the creation of positive products and experiences.

This is a studio-based course – you will be introduced to a range of materials (including physical samples) and manufacturing processes, including technologies that have recently emerged or may soon become available. We will also explore some of the tools of design for sustainability, such as life cycle analysis (LCA), and rules that affect material selection.

The focus will be on the generation of ideas and design thinking within the sustainability context. Workshops throughout the week will combine practical and theoretical elements, and the mini project – taking you from initial brief through to design and presentation – will explore how these materials can be combined with your creative process.

Topics covered:

•    Sustainable materials and manufacturing techniques
•    Design for manufacture
•    Translating research findings into design-led solutions


The course will inspire and provoke you into new ways of thinking about materials for design, including an insight into leading designers and companies operating in the field. You will take away knowledge about the latest developments in sustainable materials.

Who should take this course:

This course is aimed at students, designers, creatives and other specialists who want to move towards progressive sustainable design practices.


Entry requirements:

You should have an understanding of the design process.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Rob Thompson is an internationally recognised expert on materials for design. He has published several books about materials and manufacturing, including The Materials Sourcebook for Design Professionals and Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals. He has helped develop a range of products for global clients, including LG Electronics, Panasonic and Nokia, where he was formerly Principal Designer. He has taught and undertaken research at the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins, London.


Please bring to the first session:
  • An A3 sketch pad
  • sketching materials
  • a digital camera / mobile phone

  • NOTE: laptops/pads are not required, although you may choose to bring one if you wish

    Available dates

    If no dates are showing then please Enquire about this course and we will contact you when new dates are published.