Design for Sustainability – Learning from Traditional Indian Products and Practices


  • Sejal Changede Lancaster University
  • Lisa Thomas
  • Stuart Walker


design for sustainability, meaningful future, traditional practices and products


Mainstream design approaches for developing more sustainable ways of living are often underpinned by the very modern values that have been instrumental in creating our unsustainable world. These values include those of consumerism, economic growth, efficiency, and technological optimism – exemplified by mainstream Triple Bottom Line approaches, including the popular Circular Economy concept. Mounting evidence of unsustainability, however, suggests that such approaches may not be sufficient to bring about the scale of change required. We present initial findings from an ongoing research project that examines what Design for Sustainability can learn from traditional products and practices in India that are not underpinned by modern values. We focused on one traditional product, the mortar and pestle, comparing it with a contemporary spice grinder. We offer five initial findings for developing contemporary products in a more comprehensive and holistic manner than is currently the case.

Author Biography

Sejal Changede, Lancaster University

Sejal is a multidisciplinary designer and a design researcher with a passion for traditional practices and design for sustainability.  Her research interest centers on exploring the relationship between heritage craft, traditional making and design for sustainability; which expresses human values and meanings; examine and learn from those craft practices for future prosperity.

Sejal holds an MA in Design Management from Lancaster University, UK and a B.Des. in Lifestyle Accessories Design from National Institute of Fashion Technology, India. She has worked as a designer and design curator in SMEs in India and England.


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