Grave to Cradle Design: Creative Practices of revalorization in suburban opportunity shops

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Recent approaches to sustainability from the perspective of Design are still based on the production and consumption of ‘brand new’ things (McDonough and Braungart 2002). Although these approaches have made significant contributions, it is necessary to explore other approaches based on reuse. This paper develops the concept of ‘grave to cradle’ presenting a case study of an opportunity shops in Melbourne. Grave to cradle is proposed as a design approach aimed at intervening ways to reduce waste through the re-valuation of things at liminal stages in their lifecycles (Reno 2014). Grave to cradle is a response to recent approaches to Sustainable Design that are based on the production of ‘brand new’ designs and lifestyles revolving around consumption of new products. The grave to cradle approach is developed through a study of a Vinnies (St. Vincent de Paul Society) store located in a Melbourne suburb. This case study has been developed through ethnographic fieldwork of the everyday
routines of these places, which has involved the participation in collaborative activities of sorting, pricing, rotating, exhibiting, selling, and discarding. The paper will propose to consider creative collaborative practices of re-valorisation that have taken place as part of this fieldwork between designer-researcher and non-designers (volunteers, store managers, donors, customers) (Hallam and Ingold 2007) as ways by which design can harness reuse as alternatives to ‘ brand new’ consumerism (Walker 2011).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnmaking Waste 2015 Conference Proceedings
EditorsKatharine Thornton
Place of PublicationAdelaide SA Australia
PublisherZero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780994336071
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventUnmaking Waste 2015: Transforming Production and Consumption in Time and Place - University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 22 May 201524 May 2015


ConferenceUnmaking Waste 2015: Transforming Production and Consumption in Time and Place
Internet address


  • Grave to cradle
  • second-hand
  • revalorization
  • design for reuse

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