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Sustainable Design: Strategies for Favouring Attachment between Users and Objects

Yi Zhang , Martin Racine , Philippe Lalande

This paper explores the relationships between subjective experiences and objective design parameters. It presents findings from a research project that questions the notion of attachment between users and objects, attempts to understand its emotional origins and seeks to propose design strategies that favour its development. The researchers summarize the initial outcomes derived from ethnographic interviews conducted among thirty people.

This paper suggests that utility, appearance, symbolic meaning and users’ experience are four key reasons that sustain the emotional attachment. Among them, users’ experience seems to have the strongest and most durable effect on users’ attachment to products. The study also reveals the importance of sentimental values which users associated with particular products, generated by relationships, memories, and life experiences. Four design strategies are proposed corresponding to each type of attachment. Sustainable design strategies informed by these insights and their implications for design practices are to be explored.


emotion, attachment, experience