In Architectural terms mixed use development is a term used to describe a blend of several integrated functions (housing, commercial, cultural and/or industrial) in a shared space (a house, a block, a neighbourhood or a city). In short the idea’s main principal is to create a community in which one can be in walking distance to his daily habitats: his job, his home and where he spends his money and free time.
Supporters of the mixed use development concept claim that it leads to a greener environment due to reduced use of cars for transportation as well as land use synergy that creates a healthier society.
Sadly the history of design is more of the single use, much like suburbia (a stark contrast to the mixed use development idea). Single use boxes and containers are everywhere. And, to be frank, it doesn’t matter if the material used is paper or plastic, once it’s single used that’s bad for the environment.
One area where this is done differently, even just briefly, is in the fast-food industry where the containers are designed both as a box for transportation and later as a vessel to eat from. Why should we limit a dual use solution solely for this function? Shouldn’t we marvel at smart packaging not only at McDonalds?
For example, let's take a look at an IKEA experience. I’m pretty sure most of us have bought things from IKEA, assembled them, felt frustrated and then exhilarated at our creation only to be left with lots of boxes, plastic bags and cardboard to throw away. Imagine how much waste could be saved if a product doubled as its own package.
This is where FastLamp comes in. The lampshade doubles as a box for the delivery stages. To add to that the lamp design is based on ready made objects such as the take away box and the chopsticks not only as a design choice but also as an environmental decision, giving a single-use product a longer lifespan while using the same production line.
It’s time we start thinking about the products that we produce and how they benefit human beings and their surrounding environment. Smarter packaging can lead to less waste which in turn means more space for everyone (smaller landfills for example) and reduced use of raw materials, which in my opinion leads to a healthier society.