Switch! Energy Ecologies in Everyday Life
Ramia Mazé, Johan Redström


There is no single answer to the question of how people should live, nor any silver bullet for solving current ecological problems—and yet, contemporary design must seek ways to think and act in light of emerging environmental challenges. We present here an overview of the Switch! design research program, a continuation of our previous work on how interaction and product design can promote awareness of energy use in everyday life. Extending this approach to a larger architectural and urban scale, Switch! was set up to explore the possibilities of design as an intervention into multiple and interpenetrating technical, material and social systems—or ecologies. In addition to designing materials, objects, and interfaces, Switch! also examines how design can be engaged in staging potential scenarios, narratives and debates. The design of interventions into energy ecologies and the use of design methods become a platform for exposing existing habits and hidden norms as well as for proposing alternative actions and views. These propositions have been developed through practical experimentation and the materialization of design examples. Central to our investigation is how critical practice enables us to examine and discuss the concepts, strategies and ideologies underlying sustainable design.

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