Saul Griffith is one of the smartest green designers around and someone who I've been following for the past couple of years. He recently gave a great interview over at talking about something I think a lot about- "heirloom design", or the practice of making things to last a long time. In addition to designing things to last, Griffith says that we need to change the way we consume to favor the timeless and shun the fashionably disposable. He thinks we need to make a radical shift and stop selling far products. He told

The principal and only way to make an heirloom product is to design something that people will need not just this year, but for the next 50 or 100 years. Choose good materials that will last that long; but in essence, don’t even bother making fad products. If you have to design something, choose things that we need as opposed to frivolous things that we might just want for a month or two for bragging rights. In many respects, designing heirloom products means saying no to designing consumer crap that you know will not last very long.
I doubt that's really possible unless we are hit with some radical disruption to the system that makes selling cheap disposable fad stuff so profitable. A few attacks on oil infrastructure, some chaos in an oil rich region, maybe another stupid war or two, and we could find ourselves in the position as a society to made a passionate conversion to the church of durability.

In the meantime the Walmarts of the world will continue to profit on cheap disposable trinkets and the smarter companies will begin to shift their focus more to the long term. The great thing about heirloom design is that it usually proves to be the more profitable path over the very long term.

Read the whole interview over at GOOD.

Read more about Saul Griffith here on MNN:

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Reporter's notebook: Greener Gadget Conference

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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Saul Griffith: Designing for the decades
Saul Griffith wants designers to start making things with an eye on the long term.