Computational design for people and the planet

Computationaldesign for peopleand the planet

We’re a creative lab solving the complex
problems of sustainable design using
very powerful computational tools.

We’re a creative lab solving the complex
problems of sustainable design using
very powerful computational tools.

The single most urgent
problem design has to solve


Humanity's extraction and use of planetary resources now surpasses the earth's ability to replenish those resources.

Human Needs
Natural Resources

Each generation of designer responds to the challenges of their time, and sustainability is the challenge of ours. We must find ways to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.

This is the single most urgent problem design has to solve, and the challenge our team is committed to. At the lab, we are committed to this mission. We focus our business on sustainable product development in response to the twin challenges of social and climate catastrophes that are a consequence of our industrial age.

Our approach acknowledges that sustainable design problems are complex and integrates this principle into the process.

The inputs into a design solution are many and broad, from performance and materials data to usage, user experience, and cultural context. In traditional design, these complexities are simplified and important factors can be lost. The result is compromised by the process of simplification.

Mode Lab takes a synthesis approach, implementing computational tools and humanistic design strategies to develop sustainable solutions holistically. Environmental, social, and economic impacts are integral to the products and services we create, from ideation through to the end of use.

Everything is interconnected.

The systems that sustain life on our planet are complex, interconnected, and dynamic; however, designers have a history of simplifying complex problems so that elegant solutions are made possible. What if we could model the many challenges facing a design problem, enriching our outcomes, rather than simplifying them?

Systems thinking is a way of making sense of the complexity of the world by looking at it in terms of wholes and relationships rather than by splitting it down into its parts. It has been used as a way of exploring and developing effective action in complex contexts.

The basis of systems thinking is that everything is interconnected. If you want to make change, you must first understand the dynamics that make up a complex problem. Using computational tools, we can make the complex manageable and create design solutions that respond to a multitude of needs. “Keep it simple” becomes “Keep it complex”.

All change must be sustainable.

The current economy is built on waste — take material from the earth, turn it into a product, and ship it to an "end-user" who throws it in the trash once it's no longer useful to them. In the full life cycle of a product, from manufacturing to the end-of-use stage, designers must lead by making better, more sustainable material and process choices while transitioning to a circular economy.

This linear thinking is no longer sustainable. Everything that can be designed now needs to be designed sustainably, with new mindsets and new tools to correct the course.

Design is a powerful tool.

Design is a powerful social influencer that affects how we interact and experience the world around us. This makes design a powerful tool for creating change.

Computational tools enable designers to apply both the science and art of computing to product creation, helping to accelerate the transition from our current take-make-waste economy to one that continuously repurposes products, materials, and data. In the hands of talented designers, computational tools offer incredible opportunities to make the world a better and more sustainable place.

Partners sharing in our vision

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ford logodell logonike logorenault logohp logobmw logogoogle logo
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