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  • daniele412

VALUES THAT LAST

A short story and some tips.



In June 2011 the city of Livermore in California celebrated 110 years since the first light bulb produced in the world was in fact lit in the barracks of the Livermore fire brigade in 1901. Believe it or not, that light bulb has been left switched on since that year, virtually continuously. It was only turned off for 23 minutes in 1976 when it was necessary to transfer it to the new fire brigade headquarters, where it is still on today. Its power of 4 watts is quite limited, but considering its age (120 years) the question arises: why did incandescent bulbs, which we all used until the advent of energy-saving ones and LED, last a few months at the most?



The largest producers of light bulbs around the world gathered in Geneva in 1924 in order to regulate the production, prices and then to develop strategies to reduce the duration of their products. In fact, that day saw the creation of the first worldwide cartel, called Phoebus, aimed at carving up the light bulb market. From then on engineers began to experiment with technologies capable of achieving more fragile filaments, until arriving at 1000 hour standards in the early ’40s. They could build bulbs designed to last hundreds of years, but decided to produce tons of waste per month and earn billions of dollars by designing products meant to last a short time. In the early ’50s this ‘marketing strategy’, known as ‘planned obsolescence’ had become a reality adopted by many companies, designed and developed as a precise industrial business model. We see in those years the development of a clear-eyed codified strategy with the goal of maintaining the constant economic growth of companies at the expense of any other value or priority.

Materials and technology of poor quality lower production costs allowing companies to add high gains to the cost of their products while leaving customers the impression that products cost little. Attracted by low costs, customers buy the product and if it breaks down after a while they do not mind buying another. The cycle is infinite. Its results are the enrichment of a few and huge waste production that with time become expenses (waste taxes, disposal, spare parts, etc.) for everyone, including the environment. In the end consumers buy a lot of merchandise and spend objectively more than they would have spent to buy more expensive material of longer duration, but these high costs are deferred over time, waste after waste, and difficult to detect.

Planned obsolescence (known today as “design for the dump”) is still adopted as a policy by many companies. But the good news is that the game is coming to an end. In recent years in response to “design for the dump” more and more companies are adopting different policies and a more sustainable approach by focusing on: quality, durability, natural materials, craftsmanship, lifetime warranty and other ethical concepts that aim to establish a company’s reputation, which in the long run appears to be more important for the company’s stability than unscrupulous profit growth strategies.


Here at ILIDE we are always very careful to design products that will last as long as possible, both in terms of style and materials. We always try to convey to our customers the craftsmanship and almost eternal value that our products represent, planned with a clean design meant to always be fashionable and made with the quality that comes from Italian craftsmanship. From our experience we extracted 5 tips to help you understand and avoid the “design for the dump” in your choices of furniture.



Here at ILIDE we are always very careful to design products that will last as long as possible, both in terms of style and materials. We always try to convey to our customers the craftsmanship and almost eternal value that our products represent, planned with a clean design meant to always be fashionable and made with the quality that comes from Italian craftsmanship. From our experience we extracted 5 tips to help you understand and avoid the “design for the dump” in your choices of furniture.


1 - QUALITY OF MATERIALS

We always recommend choosing natural materials but natural alone is not enough. Check the quality of material used, if you have no knowledge of the materials also inquire directly with the company from which you intend to buy. Think that you are buying something that will last a long time, take the time to understand its nature and history.


2 - CRAFTSMANSHIP

Products, the fruit of man's work, often express ancient craft skills developed in periods of human history in which the quality and durability of the products were not a subject of discussion. An artisan will always have interest in producing quality products because every one of them bears their name. Ask the companies that sell handicrafts to certify the craftsmanship and the productive sector in which it was made.


3 - ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

The chemicals often used in the 'design for the dump' have the purpose to increase the production speed and reduce costs at the expense of the 'toxicity' of the product. It is almost impossible to lower the production costs of the materials without the use of reagents, varnish, mixtures, etc. Choosing a product made from natural materials instead, you'll ensure quality and a healthy environment.


4- DESIGN

Design is never too excessive. Good design uses materials and shapes in a calibrated and attentive way. "Luxury is never design, it is waste of materials and resources" the great Italian designer Bruno Munari affirmed. Choose simplicity over complexity where possible, keep in mind you might even change furniture or move in the future. Simple shapes will accompany you in any environment with style and discretion.


5 - WARRANTY

A good product is guaranteed for a long time, for at least 10 to 15 years. If a company is working to achieve quality, it does not adopt strategies of obsolescence, because it cares for customer satisfaction and has no problem ensuring the long life of the materials it uses.


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