In 1972, the report prepared by the MIT professor Dennis Meadows at the request of the Club of Rome sounded the alarm: “The Limits to growth!”. Since the late ’60s, researchers from around the world have been pointing out the risks of excessive consumption resulting from an all-out race for growth. Yet the warnings of protesters in the ’60s and ’70s were not followed up by the necessary measures. Today however, society is realising how the dogma of growth leads to a dead end. Numerous citizen initiatives attest to an interest in more sustainable ways of living. The exhibition questions the role that design can play in this social movement. Can we reinvent design? Can we use design to limit or reduce waste? Which projects invite us to reduce consumption of
raw materials and fossil fuels? Is there such a thing as not-for-profit design? Born into a generation whose values are changing, young designers are no longer motivated by mass production of consumer goods. They are passionate about finding the most respectful processes, working methods and tools in terms of the environment and resources, and which promote a fairer distribution of profits.
“The Limits to Growth!” begins by presenting several critical works by artists who point out, often humorously, the failings of the dominant system to which they nevertheless belong. Six lines of reflection then propose alternatives for more sustainable design: deliberate simplicity, recycling, local production, low-tech, fighting against programmed obsolescence and the arrival of new economic models. Whilst no approach is perfect or satisfactory, each one has the merit of raising awareness and showing that it is possible to think about design in another way.