The circular economy has gained a high priority within current political, business and academic contexts (e.g. the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan, Philips’ Circular Economy Initiative, and research work and MSc programs ongoing at various universities around the world). As a conceptual model, the circular economy is increasingly used by academics from a range of disciplinary perspectives, notably design, and in this context, circular product design plays a fundamental role in the discussion of successful product, service, and business cases representing the practical implementation of this new paradigm.
Recently, a study titled Circular Product Design – A Multiple Loops Life Cycle Design Approach (Mestre et al., 2017) argued that different ‘circular’ approaches centered upon four multiple loops strategies could provide practical guidance during the design process, and thus promote sustainable design solutions for the circular economy. Within this approach, different types of design strategies are proposed and design guideline criteria are presented, namely: (i) design to slow the loops, (ii) design to close the loops, (iii) design for bio-inspired loops, and (iv) design for bio-based loops. All four strategies have in common, their contribution to energy and emissions reduction and material efficiency.
International Workshop in Circular Product Design
It is within this context that the international workshop program in circular product design has been developed to disseminate and apply the concepts and strategies presented in the Circular Product Design Multiple Loops Life Cycle Design Approach study.
During the international training sessions, planned to take part initially in the UK, Portugal, Brasil, and the USA, theoretical concepts will be presented to introduce and discuss new trends in circular and sustainable design. Additionally, a practical brief will be tested using a design manual with guiding strategies for customized circular design, with participants applying the four guideline strategies and drawing upon their informed practice in practical project simulations.
The course is open to a general audience of professionals, in particular to areas related to product development, design management, design research and design consultancy.