Thursday, August 30, 2007

What is Design and Design Research: Class discussions on the Day 2 of DCC at Paldi.

The blackboard on Day 2 shows the areas covered and the models of fire and ice berg as a metaphor for design. The “Fire” metaphor shows that design is like a system which takes inputs from the environment and provides an output that is believed to be beneficial, an effect. It is located on the ground of culture and geography, very specific and very particular to the real world and is far from abstract although it is often mediated in the realm of the abstract before it is manifested in a particular situation.

The “Ice Berg” metaphor shows that only a small part of the design intention and action or effect are visible or tangible while much of its manifestations and intentions are intangible and can only be sensed by one who is willing to feel its presence and is capable of perceiving its effects.

The question of What is Design and What is Design Research were discussed. The books and concepts introduced in class include the impact of the Bauhaus as a transformer of design education at the turn of the century in Germany and the post-war efforts to re-define design education and research at the Hfg Ulm, again in Germany. The setting up of NID in 1961 and the articulation of the Eames report were discussed with a look at the NID documentation 64-69 as well as the Eames report and the Eames website as a source of reference.

The current debates on design research from the PhD-Design list as well as the posts on anthro-design and designindia were part of the discussions and the books introduced included “Design for the Real World” by Victor Papanek and “The Sciences of the Artificial” by Herbert Simon. Also discussed were the quarterly publications from the Design Research Society and issues one and two were taken up to introduce Liz Sanders and the MakeTools site, Nigel Cross and the paper by Charles Owens to look at their view of the design process and the designerly ways of knowing and acting.

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