Reader Submitted: Repairing Society

The Throw-away Society we live in every second is not only built by the needs of consumers but also well-planned by market-driven designers and brands. They, or we, did so well in capturing and utilizing the desirability of goods that consumers have been educated to perceive that “new is better than old.” We have got used to easily throw old things away instead of repairing them.

Repairing Society is a speculative design practice inviting us to imagine an alternative way of consumption and production that is opposed to our current Throw-away Society. It focuses on cultivating a stronger emotional attachment between objects and human through building a ‘Repair not Replace’ lifestyle. By encouraging repairing things, we can cultivate a longer relationship with objects and revive our bonds with old things.

Repairing Society was inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. It treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to conceal. Kintsugi proposes that broken and old can be better than the new which resonates with the philosophy of the Repairing Society. In Repairing Society, people can keep and reuse old things by regularly repairing and repurposing. In this model brands and designers are required to consider, from the beginning of product development, how products can be easily repaired or repurposed.

To better illustrate the Repairing Society, I proposed a series of designed services and objects based on three topics below.

REPAIR: Broken is Better than the New

GRAFT: Recombining for Repurpose

AUTOTOMY: Design for Broken

Repaired Basket (3D Scanning and Printing)
The rattan basket repaired with 3d scanning and printing by new repairmen. The composition of half original rattan and half 3d printed woven PLA make this basket hard to be defined as old or new. Ideally, objects give form to ideas, but they also provide us with permission to reimagine what is possible.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma
Repaired Piggy Bank, Plate, and Cup (Kintsugi)
The piggy bank, plate, and cup repaired with Kintsugi technique by traditional repairmen. Each breakage is highlighted with gold instead of being concealed. The golden joineries on the piggy bank tell the stories of its owner.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma
Repaired Dish (Resin)
The dish repaired with clear resin is made by new repairmen. Through the transparent resin, you can observe each broken vine declaring the history of this dish. And the history of objects should be cherished.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma
Watering Cup #2 (Watering Neck + Cup)?
This watering cup is a grafted product made with a plastic watering can spout and broken cup pieces. As its spout neck is vertical to the cup handle, every time I use it to water a plant. I feel like I am pouring tea for an old friend.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma
Tea Mug (Teapot Handle + Mug)
?This Tea Mug is a grafted work made with an elegant ceramic teapot handle and an IKEA glass mug. The mesh and clash of vintage and modern make it much more interesting than the original pieces.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma
Grafted Colander, Spatula, and Protractor?
The colander is grafted into a soup spoon by getting its holes filled with plastic; This spatula is a grafted product made from a plastic barbecue fork. Its graft-designer endowed it with the function of the shovel by extending its surface area; The ruler is a grafted object made from a Protractor. It got a second life by being given a drawing function.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma
Grafted Spoons (Old Spoon + New Spoon)?
These two grafted spoons are great examples to embody the collaboration between old and new. The small one is the combination of a ceramic spoon head and a wooden spoon handle. They are merged with clear resin. The second is a grafted rice spoon made up of a plastic rice-spoon head and a wooden handle with an elephant woodcarving.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma
Watering Cup #1 (Tea Pot Neck + Watering Body)
This watering cup is a grafted product made with a ceramic teapot spout and a plastic watering can. The strong contrast of their sizes and using-context creates the aesthetic of Graft.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma
Autotomy Chopsticks?
Traditional chopsticks break disgracefully because of the structure of the wood fiber. Its messy broken section makes it hard to be repaired. The autotomy chopsticks leaving a groove in one side makes it break from the weaker groove and leave a clean broken part for later repairing and grafting.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma
Autotomy Bowl
Ceramic bowls usually break at the thinner parts, the walls, and rims. The base usually stays complete. Autotomy bowl with five bases can break into five small ones which can be easily repaired and grafted. It is a bowl holding the potential for five future lives.
Credit: Xiaodong Ma

View the full project here
Source: core77

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