10:50 - 12:30
Session: S20
[Management] + Design
The Role of Designers in the Transition from a Linear to a Circular Economy
Circular Economy; Collaborators; Retail And Hospitality Design; Designer Role; Sustainability

Research shows that a significant portion of the environmental impact from products is determined already in the design phase. Implementation of principles of Circular Economy (CE) in design practice has the potential to reduce waste and to encourage reuse of resources. Since designers are responsible for the design process, it is therefore relevant to investigate whether designers are properly equipped to take responsibility for the shift toward CE and to implement circular practices in their work process. In order to discover and understand impediments to the implementation of CE principles within the complexity of real-world design practice, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 professional designers. This study presents a snapshot of retail and hospitality designers’ knowledge of CE. We have divided both drivers and barriers into five categories: Cultural, Market, Regulatory, Knowledge, and System. The study also identifies relevant collaborators and shows which roles designers expect these partners to play in a transition to CE. We set this information in a framework outlining new roles for both designers and collaborators. This framework reveals both concordances and discordances and further research is discussed and outlined.