The Toaster Boys
The Toaster Boys
Rich Gilbert, Matthew Laws and Adam Paterson were called The Toaster Boys in college.
Today, they are often referred to as The Green Team because of the environmental design strategies they help London-based Native Design Ltd., develop and implement for clients.
“For us, sustainability is the core to good design,” says Paterson. “It's not some extra element which you incorporate into your design principles. It's absolutely fundamental to everything you do.”
The trio studied at the Royal College of Art, earning the nickname, Toaster Boys, for a project that allowed them to apply what they learned from their research of end-of-life waste systems.
“When you think of all the kind of finesse and intelligence that goes into assembly, none of that's there for end of life,” says Gilbert.
“We deliberately chose an object that was a classically industrially designed object and used that as a platform for our thinking,” Laws says.
In considering the end-of-life of a toaster, the design was radically different.
“We had a toaster with a counter on it,” Laws explains. “Every single time you interacted with that object, you could feel its age. You could be reminded of how many times you'd used it. That's just one of thousands of opportunities for product design to integrate new and interesting features into the object.”
“We designed a postable toaster,” Paterson adds, “so that each slot could be quickly removed and posted back to the manufacturer, using existing infrastructure.”
“If you know the product's coming back,” Laws says, “there are certain things you can do in the product design to speed up that process, or make it more efficient, designing automated ways of disassembling things, or to think about the mechanism of the person owning the product...exactly how they're going to return it.”