When I consider what makes great design, I think of celebrated furniture designer Ray Eames's wise words: 'What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.' Eames, along with her husband Charles, designed the iconic Eames lounge chair, which was first produced in 1956 and is still manufactured today. It's the perfect example of how thoughtful design can transcend time.
Great design, just like great fashion, can last a lifetime and be passed from one generation to the next. This is the key to sustainability: creating design that lasts. However, these days being ‘trendy’ doesn't mean adhering to a sustainable approach. As with fast fashion, much of contemporary design focuses too much on current trends, becoming obsolete when the next trend lands.
The same can be said of architecture. A beautifully crafted building can last for generations – think of the Palace of Versailles in France, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Alhambra in Spain. These buildings were designed for function as well as longevity. While their uses have changed, they are still as relevant as ever. If the bones of the building are sound, then it can have many different lives.