Astute Design

Astute Design: Form fitting function, beautifully.


  1. having or showing an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one's advantage
  2. form fitting function - see also Biomimicry

Changing the Way the World Thinks About Waste, starts with Public Awareness. Making them think about it twice, in a positive way, starts with good design.


Merah Mas Astute Design is a future investment. In the long term this division has two objectives:

  1. Use the polymers produced in Merah Mas IndieBio in textiles, and then in Afro-chic fashion design, along with textile dyes using indigenous knowledge and indiginous plants - creating jobs through social entrepreneurship in the process.
  2. Redesign wastewater treatment works to fulfill both an engineering and aesthetic function: Change design from keeping people out, to designs that safely invites people in. Design with people, not at them.

These objectives are, amongst others, to utilise financial gain from service-based commodities through the more conventional service delivery vehicles - address needs that people are willing to pay more for but don't really need - like fashion, tourism, recreation and community activities, while at the same time addressing needs that are crucial - like wastewater treatment - but that few are willing, or able, to pay for.


In the short term the Astute Design division is concerned that every project, on top of form fitting function, has to look good too. It has to contain an aspect of public awareness, and every publication has to be understood by a wider audience (outside of academic or technical audiences). This is presently being realised in Biomimicry parternships (watch the blog for current information), and we hope the World Design Capital bid too.


Water is the stuff of Life – Inspire me!


Further reading:

  • DWA, 2009, Green Drop Report: South African waste water quality management performance
  • Rose George, 2008, The big necessity: adventures in the world of human waste, London : Portobello Books.