LONDON — In the battle to protect biodiversity, Central Saint Martins and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton have created a two-year, online course for students worldwide, aimed at stretching beyond sustainability into the realms of environmental preservation and regeneration.
Known as MA Regenerative Design, the online degree will ask students to develop “an action research project” in their home country. The focus will be on the regeneration of local biodiversity and communities, while building global carbon-sinking. The two-year course will be open for applications from early November.
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The course has been designed by Prof. Carole Collet, director of CSM-LVMH Maison/0, and the aim, according to CSM, is to “tackle this generation’s most pressing concerns — diminishing biodiversity, climate shift and social justice. To date, the integration of environmental considerations in the design process has largely focused on more efficient use of natural resources or the reduction of our environmental impact. Regenerative design goes further to restore and replenish what human activities have radically depleted.”
The two-year course is fully online, and aimed at students with backgrounds in craft and design. Those students will be asked to “integrate living systems thinking and ecology principles into the development of holistic regenerative design practice.”
The course team will include a designer, an ecologist and a cultural anthropologist.
Hélène Valade, environment development group director at LVMH, noted that: “The conservation of biodiversity and nature’s ecosystems has always been of utmost importance to LVMH, whose products rely on natural resources. In the face of an unprecedented decline in biodiversity across the globe, supporting the launch of CSM’s new MA in regenerative design is a way for the group to help move from sustainable to regenerative design practices.”
As reported earlier this year, LVMH extended its Maison/0 partnership with CSM for a further five years with scholarships, awards and the new MA program.
At the time, Chantal Gaemperle, director of human resources and synergies for LVMH, said she believed CSM students “have what it takes to break new ground and reinvent our industry in a way that positively impacts biodiversity preservation and the climate.”
She pointed out that the school was the first to offer a master of arts in biodesign, adding that LVMH was also working with CSM on issues including zero waste collections, upcycling and recycling.
“As a leader in luxury, our duty is to be at the forefront of sustainability, but we do it with humility by listening, observing and accepting to be challenged by this new generation of creatives,” she added.
CSM said online lectures and seminars will cover ecological, anthropological and design research tools, ethics as well as “new economic frameworks and business models.” The final outcomes will be resolved through regenerative design projects rooted in each student’s locale.
Collet said she recognizes that design, “despite its undeniable and incredible contribution to creative cultures, is too often associated with the destruction of our ecosystems. At a time when we are witnessing dramatic shifts in our biosphere, we must adopt new, radical creative practices that nurture life in all its forms.”
She said the course will ideally “equip designers with deep ecosystems knowledge so that they can use their creative agency to actively repair and regenerate our biodiversity, climate and communities.”