Eko Pam

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Arts and Humanities

First Supervisor

Associate Professor Stuart Medley

Second Supervisor

Dr Christopher Kueh


There is almost universal concern for the current state of the environment and how it will degrade further if there are not global changes to how people live day to day. Australia lags behind other developed countries in the realm of sustainable development. One of the most widely used frameworks in designing for sustainability is the triple bottom line (TBL) defined by economist John Elkington. This perspective affords equal importance to the environment, economics and society. However, very little design research has a TBL focus and even less has focused on the role of interior designers. In industry, the rating tools, and resources used to assist interior designers in making their practice more sustainable are complicated, require specialised training, and have an emphasis on environmental sustainability with little consideration of social or economic concerns.

This study aims to close the above-mentioned research gap by concentrating on sustainability issues with a TBL focus for interior design. The focus is on small, local retail businesses where financial concerns and social implications are of the utmost importance to business owners, and environmental impacts are particularly negative because of the high frequency of renovations. Additionally, aesthetics plays an important role in the success of the shop interior which is explored in the context of sustainability. This project uses case studies, through creative practice, to explore the application and practicality of TBL in retail design. All three case studies were women’s clothes shops close to central Perth in Western Australia. The focus of the research is on small practitioners, without the resources to improve the sustainability of their businesses through the use of complex rating systems. The fitouts of each shop were updated from a TBL perspective. The design process of each case study was visually recorded, as well as observations, interviews and customer feedback, as a way of gauging the success of the TBL approach.