Establishing Design Agenda Pt 1

Design is a representation of a series of problem-solving in multiple facets to achieving the final result, which introduces positive interactive user behaviours and certainly able to improve one’s well being. 

What baffles me is the superfluousness and triviality in products. The world is saturated with mediocre products that are not made to last. Fast food, fast fashion, planned obsolescence; something I’m not partaking in. Pragmatic, quality and longevity fall under my key fundamentals in design. Elegant, timeless, well proportioned, tactile, confident in material composition, intuitive and user-friendly – these are the characteristics I am opting for. Balancing these elements is the role of designers in creating a good design.

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Choosing ‘Inclusive Design’, ‘Sustainability through Longevity’ and ‘Function & Interaction’ as my design research agenda is a no-brainer to me. However, I decided to be a tad adventurous and explore the stark disparity between ‘Super Normal’ and ‘Critical Design’ while simultaneously correlating with ‘Function & Interaction’. I will give a brief insights on each themes now as I am halfway through the research.

Super Normal                                                                                                                                If one mentions Super Normal, Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa are the prime key figures that comes to mind. A thing is Super Normal when an anonymous normal object (usually daily object) whose designer is unknown and the object which is designed without the creative ego or expression, are closely related but nevertheless separated by a fine line. Candidly, Super Normal products are those of deliberately improved, beautiful, practical common objects. Super Normal engages with the users more in its function, senses from the interaction with it and the memory of possessing it. Oki Sato of Nendo, similarly, reanimated common objects with a twist of wit and clever solution (excluding his commissioned works).

Critical Design                                                                                                                              On the contrary, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby are the pioneers in challenging narrow assumptions, preconceptions and given about the role products play in everyday life. It is more of an attitude than anything else, a position rather than a method. Commonly mistaken as art and for amusement only, Jurgen Bey has proved that critical design can be made functional as per contemporary society.

Critical design is often demonstrated in the form of a film too. Here’s an interesting short film as an example. Think you shall pass watching it? James Franco is in it; Still not convinced? It’s not made by James himself.

Function & Interaction                                                                                                                Without a doubt, Dieter Rams has been a very influential model with his principle of designing user-considerate practical pieces. Whereas Charles and Ray Eames made pleasure functionable with intricate details and material experimentation, the Bouroullec brothers approached it differently by making poetry practical, intriguing one’s senses and interaction with the objects. On the other hand, Duune and Raby professed to dissolve the boundary between physical objects and technology with the attribute of seamless user interactive responses in their book ‘Hertzian Tales’.

Meanwhile, I have been invading spaces in London, peeping into some of the world’s renown designer retails. Look out for the upcoming posts!

Sidenote: To all aspiring designers and Success Seekers, here’s an article I think you may find helpful in your endeavour. “The Narrative Fallacy: Why You Shouldn’t Copy Steve Jobs”


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