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Scale Up This? Improving Scalability and Viability in Upcycling Design


Scale Up This? Improving Scalability and Viability in Upcycling Design

Pearce, Patrick ORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0003-4444-1123 (2023) Scale Up This? Improving Scalability and Viability in Upcycling Design. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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The circular economy (CE) has been hailed as a model for material recirculation, but waste management remains the dominant method of material recovery. Upcycling offers a transitional approach to the CE, reusing waste in ways which increase its value using current recovery systems. However, craft production methods common to the repurposing approach of most upcycling enterprises hinder their ability to scale up. This thesis aims to assist designers in these challenges by informing and improving operational scalability and business viability in upcycling design.

Despite its multifold benefits, upcycling practices remain niche. Research on the topic is scattered, and very few publications offer detailed practical guidelines for designers, particularly in furniture and object design, a priority sector for circular initiatives given its heavy waste volumes.

To bridge these gaps, this research-creation project employs practice-based, primary and secondary source methods. The author’s design practice in developing a collection of upcycled furniture and objects serves as a real-world example — from material sourcing to design, prototyping and exhibition. This project is later considered in light of two upcycling enterprise case studies as well as a comparative analysis of 20 upcycled furniture and object projects across four categories.

This research confirms the challenges of scaling up while identifying numerous practices which can help. These contribute to a proposed strategic design process for upcycling, from material sourcing through to design development. This practical framework aims to support designers and others in creating scalable, viable upcycling projects and enterprises, thus contributing to increased material circularity.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Design and Computation Arts
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Pearce, Patrick
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.Des.
Date:22 June 2023
Thesis Supervisor(s):Racine, Martin
Keywords:Upcycling Repurposing Design from waste Circular entrepreneurship Circular economy business models Circular design Designer-makers Sustainable craft Furniture design Design processes Means-Oriented-Design Case studies
ID Code:992825
Deposited By: Patrick Pearce
Deposited On:14 Nov 2023 21:55
Last Modified:14 Nov 2023 21:55


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