tajineI. Pluralism: socially speaking pluralism defines a specific cultural dignity preserved when active in a community dominant to its own. In a designerly sense, this concept manifests itself vigorously, with great inspiration drawn from one’s own or newly discovered cultural practices, serving as a foundation for rich, innovative design. An example of this is the mosaic tagine from “doshi & levien”, which is part of a range responding to local food culture in Asia and Latin America. My reference for this term is the State of Design Festival, where guest speaker and designer Nipa Doshi spoke about this concept quite in depth.

II.Pastiche: A pastiche is a piece of work (prominently found within the arts arena such as literary, film, musical, fine art and design) which borrows from or replicates original high quality works to inform their own. As Ingeborg Hoesterey describes pastiche on design in her book Pastiche: cultural memory in art, film, literature (2001) “the development of alternative style to “classic” modern designs”. A pastiche can often be a parody or satirical interpretation of iconic works, indulging our cultural nostalgia with a layering of historical reference within an artefact. A successful example of this is the Memphis group, based in Milan, who blend from classical and modern sources to create quirky commentary on furniture design. Other examples include the “low-priced halogen torchiere at the local department store, having obvious citations from the art deco era, yet is just a more affordable revival of the well-crafted original (Hoesterey., I, 2001)”. A pastiche in design is very relevant to the modern designer, as they are cultural insights into the design vocabulary, often quite found in many, if not all current design, whether it be deliberate or mere inspiration orientating the design.

III.Permaculture: Created by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren who developed the idea 25 years ago and is now a worldwide recognised environmental design methodology, described by the Permaculture International Journal as a “holistic ecological approach to the design and development of human settlements taking into account food production, structures, technologies, energy, natural resources, landscape, animal systems, plant systems, and social and economic structures, applicable to both urban and rural contexts, and to any scale of design.” The latter part of the aforementioned description reveals the relevance of Permaculture as a principle to Industrial design, where permaculture values can be applied to the less explored areas of “human settlement”, particularly systems design.

IV.Synthesis: Synthesis is the confluence of elements to realise a whole, resolute idea or system. This involves recognising the entirety of one single element in its deficiencies and benefits and converging it with another (or many) which has been exposed to the same analysis to, in turn, form a coherent result. The triad thesis, antithesis and synthesis was authored by the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, where he describes the synthesis as essentially resolving the discord between the thesis and antithesis by conciliating their intermutual elements, and forming a new intention (Hegel’s grand synthesis: a study of being, thought, and history, 2005, Berthold-Bond.,D,).This is useful in design as it provides a multifaceted solution to a design problem, taking from existing concepts to create a more hermetic outcome.

V. Enoughism: can be described as a theory, or even a philosophy, coined by the author John Naish in his book: “Enough: breaking free from the world of more”, which illustrates a society consuming to satisfy “phantom” needs, and must acknowledge and consider when acquiring superfluous items. Enoughism could be more simply described as the antithesis to “consumerism”, whereby people must exercise more self-discipline with their buying behaviours. This is significant in the design world as designers must accommodate and recognise shifts in consumer demand, and maintain a sense of responsibility in reaction to a severely excessive culture.

VI. Object-Oriented Design (O-O Design): O-O design is a design methodology developed by mathematician and architect Christopher Alexander (1964) which looks specifically at design in terms of : “form and context. Alexander consistently advocated introducing rationalism to design as derived from the formal sciences of mathematics and logic” (Bürdek, 2005). This “deductive” style theory is very much associated with software design, however, has been referenced to in the industrial design arena as described in the paper: Application of Object Oriented Thinking in Product Design: Design Process of Personal Digital Partner by the IASDR, the paper describes the development of the digital artefact know as the Personal Digital Partner (PDP) born from O-O design : “because of the classified structure of object oriented paradigm, the designers would have a better control over their design activity. In object oriented thinking all of the entities should be defined as objects and all of the objects should be a member of a class. So, by using this system, there won’t be any impertinent information in documents and an industrial designer can understand all of the relationships and interactions between the objects in design process. This design process is also more dynamic, but not linear or like a simple checklist.”(IASDR, 2007). This project illustrates the benefits of O-O design, though rigorous in application, particularly in the interactive design territory.

VII. Trans-Classical Science: Trans-Classical Science is a design methodology essentially based on scientific research envisaged by Sigfried Maser (1972), a modern theorist who believes “that rationality defines qualitative norms for design theory, where science and technology provide the appropriate models for it”. (Margolin.,V, 1989). As described in ‘Design Methodology and relationships with Science’ by Marc De Vries, Nigel Cross and Donald P. Grant, the trans-classical are based on normative as well as human sciences for practical purposes, such as environmental psychology, housing sociology,  environmental geometry, morphology design, structural anthropology,  cognitive design and ergonomics. Maser defined three steps to achieve basic design process:

1. Existing (ontic) conditions initially should be described as precisely comprehensively as language allows (classical).

2. From this knowledge a target condition should be determined , accompanied by at least one plan for converting  the existing condition into the target condition .

3. The actual change to reality should be based on the plan provided. (Maser, 1972)

VIII. Solar Power: Solar power is essentially harnessing solar energy and converting this energy to electricity through photovoltaics, or solar cells. It has become a globally accepted form of renewable energy in the age of the environmental dilemma, where current forms energy can no longer be sustained by the earth’s resources. There has been a huge shift in design culture where attention to renewable energy has become a reference for efficient, sustainable products, with solar energy at the forefront of affordable outcomes. From products that include lighting and common electrical devices to more obscure manifestations such as the solar powered electronic recycling bin by London designer Baharash Bagherian to a solar powered machine that spins furniture formed by sunlight by Austrian design team mischer’traxler.

IX. Creative Chaos: A theory often affiliated within the scientific community (chaos theory), has also been employed as a strategy of design, whereby chaos is a seen as a much more valuable source of idea generation than to inforce rigidity and boundaries. A prominent idealist regarding chaos is the 1960s activist Marshall Berman who describes fiercely in his novel ‘All that is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity’(1982) where the “tragedy if development is that to liberate mankind, one must uproot it” (1982). Many contemporary designers can be seen to echo creative chaos through such work as from Japanese architect team Arata Isozaki and Shiro Kurumata, and Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

X. “Talking Furniture”: “Talking Furniture” or “Meubles Parlants”  is a concept conceived by the French glass designer Emile Galle (1846-1904), who was also known as one of the founding father’s of the Art Noveau movement. Residing in Nancy, Galle in 1885 started designing and producing “furniture that supposedly spoke a lively language endowed with the sentiment of the soul”(Burdek, 2005) and “incorporated in its decoration inlaid quotations from leading contemporary Symbolist authors such as Maurice Maeterlinck and Paul Verlaine.”(Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009). Galle’s work in glass and woodwork was revolutionary for its time and re-oriented design to more than a static piece, influencing the course of furniture design of his successors.

XI. Narrative Design: Narrative Design is a somewhat recent addition to the design vocabulary, though is quite relevant to a product designer when engaging with concept development. Narrative design can quite literally be orientated as a “story-telling” within an artefact, designers often explore narrative techniques to engage the consumer with their products and services , often identified with interactive or experience design. (McDermott.C, 2007)

archigramXII.Archigram Movement: The Archigram Movement London was a highly influential avant-garde architectural group (involving Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb and David Greene) in the 1960s which “more visibly….created a style assembled from nineteenth century  industrial architecture, twentieth century manufacturing, military apparatus, science fuction, biology, technology, electronics, constructivism, pop art, cut-away technical illustration, psychedilia, and the English seaside-which would serve as an inspiration for an architectural movement” (Sadler, 2005). The movement is well known for such hypothetical projects as Walking City (1964), Plug-In-City (1964), Instant City (1968) and  Suitaloon (1966) very much focusing on mobile liveable architectural pods, tailored towards survival technology in a utopian machine age, aiming to move away from the “incomplete revolution of technological modernism…which was a killjoy, colourless,  hardedged, frugal version of itself” (Sadler,2005). Though the movement was influential in itself, it was adamantly indifferent towards the unsustainable nature of the concepts.

XIII. Ephemeralisation: Ephemeralisation was a term coined by Buckminster Fuller in his book Nine Chains in 1938, who was an American architect, author, designer, inventor, and futurist. The basic principle of ephemeralisation was in terms of the technological  revolution, to cut materials (the antithesis to the Archigram philosophy)  in three basic methods: “First, make the design smaller; second, use materials in their most efficient form (do more with less); third,  use minimum surface(hence minimum material) geometry.” (Baldwin., 1996). Ephemeralisation is completely relative to the human position in the current day environmental dilemma, with the ever-increasing standards of living and population combined with limited resources calls for an increasing ephemeralisation in product design, the consumers delight. “Bucky” applied this back in 1938 to the design of a home’s energy use (Buckminster called these ephemeralised homes 4D Homes) where the house would act as a valves “that controlled the flow of energy, material , and light flowing between the indoors and outdoors  while supporting the daily lives of people involved.”(Baldwin.,1996).

XIV. Defuturing: Defuturing is an ontological philosophy developed by the design theorist Tony Fry from his concept of ‘Sustainment’ whereby  “we humans live a contradiction. In our endeavour to sustain ourselves in the short term we collectively act in destructive ways towards the very things we and all other beings fundamentally depend upon. Such longstanding and still growing ‘defuturing’ needs halting and countering.”(Fry, 1999). In his book, ‘A New Design Philosophy: An Introduction to Defuturing’ he discusses the need for a social shift in our approach to consumption, with particular responsibility placed on the designer to assist in ‘sustainment’ which can be found in and by design, and to “be aware of the relationships between the products and theories of design and the processes and implications of technological change.” (Tucker.,Thinisson.)

XV. Syndecrete: Syndecrete is a precast concrete material developed by architect David hertz at Syndesis. It is an eco-friendly concrete alternative to limited or nonrenewable natural materials such as wood and stone, and synthetic petroleum based solid and laminating materials. Syndecrete is made from an amalgamation of recycled materials that includes everything from fly ash, recycled glass chips, metal shavings, scrap wood to old vinyl LPs. It does not use any resins or polymers and the composite material (ie. Not recycled material)  is primarily made from using natural minerals. FurthermoreIt is less than half the weight with twice the compressive strength of normal concrete and is available in a variety of densities ranging from 35 — 100 lbs/c.f. One can use it indoor and outdoor, for big projects like a walled patio, or for small jobs like a bathroom countertop. Ref: http://www.syndesisinc.com/index-syndecrete.html


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