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Illuminating Emotional Durability

Shanna Boot

Diploma project

Spring 2024
Institute of Design

Hilde Angelfoss
Stein Georg Rokseth
‘Illuminating Emotional Durability’ explores the emotional connections between us, consumers, and our cherished products with the goal of designing emotionally durable products. When we are attached to a product, we tend to take better care of it and are less likely to replace it prematurely. It’s interesting to focus on sustainability from a human-centered perspective. Often, as designers, we tend to emphasize on technical aspects when designing sustainable products, such as reducing materials and lowering energy consumption. However, this technical approach only considers the product’s physical lifespan and overlooks the possibility that we might dispose of it before it’s worn out. Extending the lifespan of a product has a greater environmental impact than any other measure. Therefore, understanding what encourages attachment to certain products is crucial for making sustainable design choices. 

This project provides inspiration for both myself and fellow designers, providing tangible examples of how sustainability can be achieved through emotional durable design. I designed one physical product for each relevant emotional durable driver. It’s important to note that I am unable to cover every driver, I focused only on the drivers relevant to industrial design. For instance, a handmade product created by a loved one holds a unique significance that mass-produced products can’t replicate. From these physical products I learned how to or how not to implement the drivers. This series of products allows fellow designers and me to get a more defined understanding of emotional durability. Lastly, I used the insights gathered from the product series, to design one final piece, an combination of both technical, and emotional durability. This final lamp represents me becoming a more holistic sustainable designer.

Emotional durability 

Technical durability involves increasing a product’s physical lifespan and enhancing its sustainability through strategies like Design-for-X. These strategies focus on aspects such as material use, quality, repairability, and energy efficiency. This approach to sustainable design covers the technical side. 

‘Lab coated engineers triumphantly exchange high fives as fully operational hairdryers emerge from a five-year landfill hiatus. Is this durable product design or simply the designing of highly durable waste? But durability is just as much about desire, love and attachment as it is about material and energy use.’ Jonathan Chapman 

The issue with technical durability alone is that products get replaced even when they’re still working fine. 

Emotional durability revolves around forging a stronger, lasting connection between individuals and their belongings. The goal is to shift away from a throw-away society by enhancing the duration of relationships between consumers and their products.



Currently there exists no established emotional durability framework. That is why I decided to make one for this project. The “Three levels of emotional attachment” from Donald Normans theory enables a starting point to build an emotional durable design framework upon. The experimental framework I made is illustrated below, the framework combines existing theories.

Nine ambient lamps 

A big part of this project is to change the intangibleness of emotional durability by creating physical artifacts for each strategy. 

Through practice-based research, I learned by putting each strategy into action by making physical products. This immersive approach helped me train my brain to always think about emotional durability during my design process from now on. 

In five weeks, I made one ambient lamp for each of the nine characteristics of the framework. 










One final lamp 

After doing user tests with the nine lamps the next step is desigining one final lamp. A lamp that integrates both technical and emotional durability. The emphasis for this lamp is on the qualities, listed below, which were identified as the most desired features based on the user feedback. 

1. Lamp has to be mechanically interactive
Has to be really simple to do but has to make a big difference (light, color) 
2. A simple design that fits everywhere 
3. Changing appearance for continuous visual stimulation


Skogsmåne manifest playfulness through its effortless interact on and captivating simplicity. Its dynamic appearance, evolving with different perspectives and light intensities, offers a visually stimulating experience. The base of the lamp achieves a floating effect through clever use of negative space.


Technical  Durability

While not perfect or flat packaging, every component is easily detachable, reducing transportation volume. The lamp comprises only four materials, (electronical components not included simplifying recycling. The steel shade and glass globe are endlessly recyclable due to the materials, and could aldo be made from recycled materials. All parts can easily be recycled just lift up the glas globe and unscrew all different parts will come loose.

Shanna Agatha Boot / Shanna109473@gmail.com / https://shannaboot.myportfolio.com/