keynote speaker: jörn behage

Jörn Behage embodies upcycling. He has been involved in sustainable product development for thirty years already. As our keynote speaker on Saturday 20 May, he will lead us through the developments of recycling/upcycling and he will share his perspective on the future. His thesis: we do not need to live differently or more energy efficient in order to build a sustainable future.Jörn Behage graduated the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 1990 with a design which optimizes the logisctics of packaging. This would reduce the amount of transport which is necessary. He also studied economy and environment management. He started out at BAUM in Hamburg, an institution for environment management. The institute would offer advice to the industry how they could implement the return of packaging after use, a theme Germany was developing at the time. After that he analyzed the life cycle of central heating and its optimization for an engineering company in Delft. The conclusions could be applied to other sectors of industry. In assignment of both government and industry, I created many manuals for sustainable product development. I described how they could develop products with as less energy and material use as possible. In 1995 I developed the first degradable interior of a car for Volvo. In the mean time I visited India often, where I worked on the development of doors and window frames made from jute fibers. This was the only cheap material that was available. The other upside is that jute can be cultivated twice a year, which guarantees the revenue of the farmers.’Behage was connected to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in relation to the latter project. His work concerning biocomposites was in 1996 part of the exhibition ‘Scanning’ at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. For which he was awarded the Award European Young Designers for Industry. Behage regularly publishes on material technology and sustainable product development and gives lectures.

In his keynote lecture during Designday, he will guide us through the developments of recycling/upcycling from the 80s onward. That is when this theme first gained attention from the public eye. Behage will also offer his perspective on the near future. His thesis is that we do not need to live differently or more energy efficient in order to build a sustainable future. We do need to make sure not to use fossil fuels any more and to start using other available techniques to the fullest. He will illustrate this with concrete examples.Behage sometimes feels like the only one shouting, but over the years he has gained illustrious allies, like the deceased German physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and none other than Jan Terlouw.


‘We do not need to change our behaviour to build a sustainable world’



The BabyDobber is made from monomaterial (Polypropylene) and can be fully recycled. This design by Jörn Behage is currently on show in the exhibition Showroom Limburg at Cube Design Museum.