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Eco-design : definition and example


Want to know more about eco-design? What is the definition of eco-design? You wonder what the purpose of eco-design is? Are you looking for famous eco-designers?


We have the answers to your questions, because we are experts in this field.

Eco-design is at the crossroads between ecology and design. Also called ecology design, it is a concept that appeared in France in the 2000s. It brings together two aspects of our modernity: nature and culture.

In this article, you will discover:

Want to know the difference between eco-design and the art side of eco-design? Discover our article on eco-design here.

The definition of eco-design (The art side)


ECO DESIGN has two meanings. Eco-design concerns the development and manufacturing of a product, while the art side of eco-design concerns the aesthetic and functional part of the product.

It is an ecological and eco-responsible approach of the object. The goal is to limit the environmental impact of a product, while working on the aesthetic aspects and optimal functionality.

Design is the know-how that allows to link objects, spaces and behaviors. And ecology studies the relationship of man with his environment, with the aim of preserving it.

The principle of eco-design can therefore be summarized as respect for the environment, the use of bio-sourced raw materials and the use of a less polluting production method. It is the same spirit as for the art part of eco-design.

It is about taking into account the entire life cycle of the product. From the materials used to its recovery and recycling. This approach therefore has an impact on consumption. Because the product results from a reasoning in accordance with the sustainable development, the energy saving and the recycling of it.

In most cases, you will need an eco-design software, such as the Ecodesign Studio platform, to implement this relevant eco-design approach and avoid considering only the aesthetic aspect.

In fact, you don't necessarily need to study applied art or architecture to apply eco-conception principles to an object on a daily basis. Using and exploiting the right software is enough to do the job for you.

Ecodesign Studio Software - Eco-design

Example of eco-design


The most popular raw materials for eco-design are cardboard, bamboo and recycled metals.

Cardboard is mainly used for small decorative furniture. Bamboo is often used for tableware and tableware.

While recycled metals are used for example to create eco-lighting.

However, the resources and applications are very varied and concern today all sectors having a design activity.

To put it simply, the preferred raw materials are either very easily renewable (such as bamboo) or very available for recycling in large quantities (such as recovered metals).

The main guidelines:

In conclusion, the examples of eco-design can be very varied and its application remains very broad. It is a state of mind and a methodology with three objectives: reduce the environmental impact, improve the user experience and reduce production costs.


To wit: the French Institute of Design has offered an Eco-Design mention to Janus label winners since 2009 to help highlight their approach to their audiences. Since 2014, the Eco-Design mention is an integral part of the Janus label.

Famous eco-designers


Philippe Starck is one of the most famous French designers. He participated in the design of the Freebox. He regularly collaborates with consumer brands. Philippe Starck is more and more interested in the implementation of a more responsible design.

Philippe Starck - French Eco-designer


Martin Szekely is also a French designer who applied for example the principles of eco-design for his work Table 00. He used for this table a renewable wood and reduced to the maximum the glues and screws. All this while maintaining a very increased aesthetic and functionality.

Martin Szekely – Table 00 – Eco-design


Ben Wilson is an English designer who designed a chair thought with the principles of eco-design. The components of the chair are then pre-cut directly on a plywood plate and delivered that way. The user has to assemble the chair himself, where all parts fit together naturally! This simple design results in a gain of volume, therefore of transport, storage, assembly, etc.

Ben Wilson – Chairfix – Eco-design


We can also mention such designers with an ecological approach: Carla Tennebaum, Joanna Riergert, Fernando and Humberto Campana, and many others!

Discover the art side of eco-design


The environmental impacts of products can be limited through eco-design and circular economy strategies.

Ademe shares many guidelines for energy efficiency and end-of-life management of products to reduce environmental impacts.

The global consumption of natural resources is an ecological issue related to energy efficiency. Sustainable management of natural resources tends to use more environmentally friendly extraction processes.

The reuse of recycled materials leads to a more respectful environmental management. Coupled with a product design that takes into account environmental issues, this allows to reduce the ecological footprint and to optimize the management of waste and pollutants.

After a long experience in business consulting, I now manage the start-up Altermaker which designs software solutions for eco-design and life cycle assessment. My goal is to help companies to integrate the notion of environmental performance of their products and services. Find me on Linkedin.

To go further, you can consult the following articles:

‣ Why eco-design your products

‣ Example of eco-design : Veja sneakers

‣ Eco-design and circular economy