Improving Design Without Destroying It
The design process is today highly appreciated for the kind of results it can deliver. This appreciation can be found within academia as well as in the business world. At the same time there is in many communities a noticeable uneasiness of the ambiguous character and the apparent elusiveness of the methods of design. This unease has led to many attempts to transform or improve the design process, for instance with the purpose to make the process more efficient, rational, predictable, and safe. However, many of these attempts have lead to results that are detrimental to the design process, because they impose conditions, limitations, restrictions, procedures, and measures of success that are not grounded a deep understanding of design as a unique approach of inquiry and action. In my talk I will examine approaches to and examples of design process improvements that are destructive to design, but I will also explore and discuss some safe alternatives to improving design.
Can complexity be contained?
To speak of "design AND complexity" suggests design can be held outside
complexity. From an instrumental perspective, it implies the designer's task
is to overcome or manage complexity. However, from the point of view of
enquiry, the binary relation has to be refused and complexity recognised as
the inescapable condition of design. To cast complexity pragmatically is to
reduce it and thus negate the complex, while to fully embrace it is to
create an unbounded exploration leading to chaos and madness. The challenge
then is to find an appropriate mode of thinking, practice and a language to
Somaesthetics, Design, and the Complex Sense of Atmosphere
Researchers in certain areas of design have recently looked to philosophical pragmatism for useful concepts and theoretical directions. Somaesthetics – a discipline emerging from an embodied, experience-centered pragmatist aesthetics – may help address one of design’s most elusive and complex aspects: atmosphere. Atmosphere is complicated (both to design for and to analyze in user experience) because its perception is very much a product of wide-ranging transmodal sensory experience that works on the level of nonreflective, implicit somatic reactions and thus escapes critical analysis. This paper explores how somaesthetics might improve such analysis by articulating the complex role of the body in design and by heightening our awareness of somatic experience. It will focus on the design field of architecture.
Professor and Director of Human Computer Interaction Design
Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
Editor of Design Philosophy Papers and Design Philosophy Politics
Co-director of design consultancy Team D/E/S
Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities
College of Arts and Letters
Florida Atlantic University