Sustainable design is a commitment to the future—a lasting oath of guardianship over our environment. Throughout the product development process, every element of an object must be inspected for irrelevance and resource conservation. Is it appealing to trends? Is it destructive in material or manufacturing processes? Will it eventually end up in a landfill? An ideal ecological project should be long-lasting and inexpensive to build, but able to be recycled or returned completely to the earth when abandoned (Akadiri, Chinyio, & Olomolaiye, 2012).
Open-plan environments can be an exercise in resource conservation, but often at detriment to the wellbeing of the inhabitants. Minimalism is, arguably, a double-edged sword. A vast, multi-purpose space with stripped back furnishings and exposed masonry is acoustically problematic and consequently unsustainable due to lowered quality of life. A perfect solution, Cascade acoustic screens effectively compartmentalise spaces, creating smaller manageable zones without sacrificing the open plan feel. Using less resources than other partition styles, Cascade screens contribute to dematerialisation whilst combatting echo and reverberation—a win-win for environments with a minimalist aesthetic.
While true sustainable design can feel unattainable in a world that still runs on fossil fuels, Akadiri et al. (2012) argue that “It is precisely at the micro-levels that sustainability objectives have to be translated into concrete practical actions, by using a holistic approach to facilitate decision making” (p. 127). With this in mind, architects and designers should feel encouraged to grasp the challenge of sustainable design with both hands.