Products are Brown, Platforms are Green

When Steve Jobs of Apple debuted the MacBook Air, iTunes movie rentals and software updates for the iPhone and iPod Touch this year, Sascha Segan of PC Magazine praised Apple's focus on launching software that requires no new hardware, and the green possibilities of this approach. In the article, he wrote a short sentence that we've come to love: "Products are brown, platforms are green."

This is a great statement of one of Tricycle's core philosophies: that by focusing on the creative DNA of a product, rather than any single manifestation of the product itself, we are able to reduce waste and increase profits all along the product's lifecycle.

At what point does a carpet become a carpet? When it is conceived in a designer's imagination? Created in CAD? Sampled? Tufted? Sold and used?

By looking at the question "What IS a particular brand, pattern and colorway, at its core" - we have opened new doors for
using the same textile in new ways. As bits and bytes that help product designers explore creative options. As a digital model that reduces wasted time and yarn for tufting machines. As a realistic image that can be installed into a room virtually - and then marketed and sold - before it is ever physically manufactured. As a paper sample that helps an interior designer narrow down choices.

Old process = make a physical product, and make as few representations as possible to save money.
New process = Make one core model platform, then provide multiple representations to increase revenues without waste.

There are countless examples. Here's a long lovely video created earlier this year by the Cambridge Nanoscience Center and Nokia Research Center that takes the same approach to nanotech materials and electronics, showing how they view the material of which electronics are made as a platform rather than a product. Launched alongside MOMA's “Design and The Elastic Mind” exhibition, the Morph concept device is a bridge between highly advanced technologies and their potential benefits.

Because - like Tricycle - they care less about the material itself than they care about the possibilities its opens up for the end user.

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Our blog is mostly about sustainable design in the interiors industry,
especially carpet. Sometimes it's just about us. Updated when we've got something good to say.