Sustainable honest product design mitte
Sustainability By S. O Gorman — Date 10.26.2016

“Honest design is sustainable and responsible design”

Meet mitte designers, Benjamin Beck and Fabian Ghoshal

mitte is a ground breaking water purification and vitalization system that lets you turn any water into clean, mineralized water at the push of a button. Delivering water that’s 60x cleaner than traditional filter systems, it focuses groundbreaking engineering, sustainable design principles and a commitment to social responsibility into one very sleek appliance.

Our product designers, Benjamin and Fabian, tell us about their experience and inspirations.

Fabian Ghoshal, Product Designer, mitte

“With the mitte brief, we’re drawing on lots of the material knowledge we’ve gained over the past years. Whether it’s a question of mineral-adding single use consumables or multi-use consumables, we’re operating in a consumer good framework. And it’s all the more exciting for us because we’ve been involved since the very the very start — since Moritz and the first engineers came on board.

And right from the beginning there was was this discussion about single use consumables. There was space to be openminded and imaginative about choosing materials. For example we connected with suppliers of sugar cane capsules. We took inspiration from a Nespresso type use case.  The earlier you can start with designs, and the more focused you can be at the concept phase, the better the outcome. It’s not like an attitude of ok, we’ve done it several times with plastic let’s repeat that. But this is a benefit of a start up. Especially a start up that really cares about sustainable responsible design. You’re typically designing something that hasn’t been done before. Not being bound to a heritage means you can come up with new expressions, new ideas. 

Another important part of the project that we really like is that all disciplines are running in parallel: the engineering team, business development, marketing they’re all involved in the capsules and no perspective is just introduced at the end when all the decisions are made, offering a surface solution for something that is already decided.

So having started at the beginning, concepting collaboratively, creating a lot of user research, generating insights to use for the whole design process, as well as overall insights for the product — from user interface to features, we now have a lot to give to the user.

The finished product is very special. And it’s kind of magic seeing it all come together to give people water of a quality they have never had before, in a beautifully designed, totally sustainable way.”

Benny&Fabian mitte product design

Benjamin Beck, Product Designer, mitte

“Every designer should have a sense of social responsibility because you’re always working with issues of producing new items, choosing materials, and recycling. We think choosing a more sustainable direction should be the norm. Every product has an expiry date. The end of life cycle is inevitable and means that ultimately you’re creating garbage. So  you have a responsibility as a designer to think about how this garbage can be handled. As design students in university you are told to take some responsibility but too often in the real world designers contribute to a lot of waste and only serve capitalism, rather than nudging the world to greater sustainability. 

Design shouldn’t be about simply selling your skills, making something superficially beautiful, which people want or are supposed to want. You should at least try to have a good impact on the products you are working on.

An example is our toothbrush project. A toothbrush is something everyone has their own connection to (hopefully). From our point of view, it’s interesting that an established product hasn’t seen any changes towards sustainability over the past 20 – 40 years. So the designs is just pretty dishonest, you fix four different materials to a tiny device. You try to convince the user that she needs like a tongue cleaner and 4 different bristles, which is complete nonsense. So we made this very nice showcase product which we hoped would be thought-provoking, where you say this is the negative side of design: predicated on the manipulation of buying positions. And at the same time you show  how a nicely designed toothbrush or simply, an honestly designed toothbrush could look and you give a real improvement to the user – and not just adding features for marketing value, but by improving the product itself.

At its best, when it’s honest, design is by nature sustainable and responsible. We approach every piece of work from this premise.”

mitte is launching in early 2017. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know and access exclusive offers. 

Read more about mitte here!

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