The Role of Designers in the Transition from a Linear to a Circular Economy

Mia Borch Muenster, Jesper Clement, Sönnich D. Sönnichsen

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


Research shows that a significant portion of the environmental impact from prod-ucts is determined already in the design phase. Implementation of principles of Circular Economy (CE) in design practice has the potential to reduce waste and to encourage reuse of resources. Since designers are responsible for the design pro-cess, it is therefore relevant to investigate whether designers are properly equipped to take responsibility for the shift toward CE and to implement circular practices in their work process. In order to discover and understand impediments to the imple-mentation of CE principles within the complexity of real-world design practice, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 professional designers. This study presents a snapshot of retail and hospitality designers’ knowledge of CE. We have divided both drivers and barriers into five categories: Cultural, Market, Regulatory, Knowledge, and System. The study also identifies relevant collaborators and shows which roles designers expect these partners to play in a transition to CE. We set this information in a framework outlining new roles for both designers and collabo-rators. This framework reveals both concordances and discordances and further research is discussed and outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIASDR conference PolyU Design 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
EventIASDR 2021: [ _ ] With Design: Reinventing Design Modes - Online and Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Duration: 5 Dec 20219 Dec 2021


ConferenceIASDR 2021
CityHong Kong
Internet address


  • Circular Economy
  • Sustainability
  • Designer Role
  • Retail And Hospitality Design
  • Collaborators

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