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Notes on Andrew Blauvelt’s Design Observer Article, Towards Relational Design

October 29, 2010

Jean pointed me to this interesting article:
It’s quite interesting as a broad summary of design and its
directions. Short and brings up a lot of interesting points.

Thesis notes:

“Surely there comes a moment when formalism is exhausted, when only a new injection of content into form can destroy it and so open up the way to innovation.” To paraphrase Lefebvre, only a new injection of context into the form-content equation can destroy it, thus opening new paths to innovation.

“We might chart the movement of these three phases of design, in linguistic terms, as moving from form to content to context;”

“Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby who create designed objects, not to fulfill prescribed functions but instead use them to gauge behavioral reactions to the perceived effects of electromagnetic energy or the ethical dilemmas of gene testing and restorative therapies. ”

“Embracing constraints — whether strictly applying existing zoning codes as a way to literally shape a building or an ethos of material efficiency embodied in print-on-demand — as creative forces, not obstacles on the path of design, further opens the design process demanding ever-more nimble, agile and responsive systems.”

“the nature of design itself has broadened from giving form to discrete objects to the creation of systems and more open-ended frameworks for engagement: designs for making designs.”

Roomba — vaccuum cleaner as house pet

“If the first phase of design offered us infinite forms and the second phase variable interpretations — the injection of content to create new forms — then the third phase presents a multitude of contingent or conditional solutions: open-ended rather than closed systems; real world constraints and contexts over idealized utopias; relational connections instead of reflexive imbrication; in lieu of the forelorn designer, the possibility of many designers; the loss of designs that are highly controlled and prescribed and the ascendency of enabling or generative systems; the end of discrete objects, hermetic meanings, and the beginning of connected ecologies. ”

“Karin Knorr Cetina’s notion of unfinished objects”

GJ: Perhaps we could call this “relational design,” to transpose from Bourriaud’s (2002) idea of “relational aesthetics.”

Why not simply call it DESIGN and stop trying to break it apart. DE-SIGN – that’s all it is. If there’s any word to precede it, it should be WISE.
11.21.08 at 01:48

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