FLS is a studio of eclectic designers, in both creative processes and cultural backgrounds. Our diverse perspectives and processes together show a holistic approach towards sustainable design. The “design value” of products are raised when aspects such as the following are considered early in the development process :
- where the product will be used, its purpose, and appropriate lifespan
- company vision, strategic position, and new product directions
- production methods and treatments
- user needs, emotions, and behavior; social impact
- material properties and design potential.
This attention to design places product differentiation outside of technical production. Our process involves iterations of exploring ideas, research and analysis, and developing product vision before putting a concept into production.
Building Design Capacity
The main objective of FLS is to build design capacity in Vietnam and Cambodia at different levels of collaboration :
1. Collaboration between designers :
FLS was conceived as a lab, where three local and three international designers, with their different expertise and expectations, came together to co-create. The field of exploration is sustainable product design in Vietnam or Cambodia. The cross pollination of these skills, experience and values developed a key discourse of the cross-cultural collaborative process. What are our different understandings of sustainable design? What does it look like here and now and how is it possible? FLS designers are defining together a path in international collaboration and skills exchange and working out various possibilities of, and blockages to sustainable design in Vietnam or Cambodia. In this way, FLS also aims to empower the local designers to become long term experts in sustainable design in Vietnam and Cambodia.
2. Collaboration with local companies :
FLS is a collaboration-focused project in which companies can improve their know-how on new product development (NPD) and the value of design by working directly with designers. FLS designers share their expertise in the early design stages of idea generation and concept development, while participating companies share their feedback and expertise in technical production.
For now most of the companies in Vietnam and Cambodia are making orders from Europe or Western countries, making profit only on the production side. FLS aspires to transfer design capacity to its partner companies by involving them along the different steps of the design process. It can go from extensive user research to co-design sessions with the factory workers. Doing so will help Vietnamese and Cambodian products to compete for their design value and not just on cost price or on volume. FLS also aims to sensibilize the companies to sustainability issues, opportunities and benefits. We believe strongly that innovation can come from local material & traditional techniques. And tradition should be notarized as a strength for those companies (a new approach on modern design).
We aim for a transparent process, between FLS and all participating companies. We hold periodic reviews that expose the design process and show our progress towards the final collection. These reviews are open to participating companies so that they can see, share, and learn from each other’s experiences.
3. Collaboration with local customers :
Each edition of FLS creates a collection of new and sustainable products based on the needs and requirements of the modern customers. FLS focuses on the local markets, targeting the emerging middle class market and considering life style changes. We also want the design approach to benefit to the local population and not only to the export market.
4. Building a sustainable community :
At a larger scale, FLS aspires to build a community around sustainable design by promoting our approach during some events and involving a more general public in the design process (for example, at the user testing stage, and give them the opportunity of having a relevant contribution in the final designs). Doing so, we want to raise the public awarness by demonstrating that design actually touch wider issues that esthetic and can play an important role in the development of Vietnam and Cambodia. We want FLS to be inspiring.
- Material for experimentation and sample-making for the first batch of products.
- Participation in workshops and joint reviews.
- Feedback on the directions and ideas generated.
- Suitable support in making high-quality prototypes: material, tools, machines, skilled workers, and space.
- Permission for the designer to talk directly with workers in prototyping process, from the director or one acting on behalf of the company.
- Basic analysis of company strategic and sustainability position, based on design, production and material capacity.
- Design consulting on future product directions.
- Design knowledge exchange: workshops, reviews.
- New product development based on basic analysis and potential for hotel collection.
- Report with results of collaboration.