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Object lessons - Enduring artefacts and sustainable solutions

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This paper explores sustainable product design by considering selected artefacts that have been produced and used in human societies for thousands of years. These are categorised according to their dominant characteristics as functional, social/positional, and inspirational/spiritual. Products that combine these categories are also considered, and one object, that combines all three, is discussed in more detail. Lessons are drawn for our current understandings of sustainable products. Examples of contemporary products are also discussed and some experimental designs by the author are included which attempt to balance product characteristics in ways that also address sustainable principles.