The posture of design has changed. With the world around us being “artificial” (as we have examined in our two recent posts “Re-generating our world” and “Engaging our world with Re-generative design,” art and design must now contribute to our re-foundation, our re-generation.
Human beings evolve at the heart of the artificial world that we continuously create, in a nature that is “de-natured” by a hybridization achieved through a systematic convocation of all its resources and a romantic virtualization of its representation.
Natural resources and materials, using processes and systems proven for millennia (including all the scientific ways of capturing our surrounding “real” world with laws of physics, biology, economics, evolution theories, simulations, all the way to bio-mimicry) have been considering nature as direct inspiration for the development of the contract with the industry.
Design, as the art applied to industry, is an industry also. It is a creative and cultural industry. The difference is not the opposition to science it is the way design questions the world and its attitude towards nature.
“We understand by science, we become by imagination.”
Because of our past actions and creations, Design today demands that we position ourselves more as repairers of our actions, rather than perpetual discoverers and conquerors of existing fields. The great accelerator of our lives today is the digital revolution: on top of the disappearance of our values, we see our world disappearing.
The three recognized assets of the Design industry are branding (meaning and communication, narrative); concept/product/services (I.P); and Know-how (Practice, Thinking and methods).
Those traditional assets are being considered under the digital threat by designers and creative practionners around the lines, such as: social networks rebuilding reputation without serious branding asset creation or heavily planned strategies; digital hacking and copycat products exhausting original innovations; and a lack of understanding of the value of reflective thinking.
The traditional belief in creativity is being challenged with digital innovation. Creative and sophisticated CAD software is improving the interactions with the complexity. These solutions bring efficiency by reducing the technical constraints from ideation to production, with virtual collaboration spaces offering more freedom to creators and designers to tackle new territories
It is without imagining the incredible capacities that digital provides to address large interconnected and transdisciplinary programs, the extended scope of design research, that is placing designers in uncertain yet inspirational playgrounds to create and design sensible and tangible new experiences. My belief is that our future lies in the meeting of the two worlds: the digital world and the know-how of excellence. Digital offers a way to think about things differently, to do new things. We must not oppose digital innovation, design practice and vernacular know-how.
Working at the heart of web and cloud capacities, designers are finding the right enablers at their fingertips to communicate and collaboratively build strong ecosystems without being part of an enterprise. Social networks and communities online, enhanced with access to plethoric data, are becoming spaces for experimentation grounded on territorial and social actions that are aligned with purposeful brand universes, offering the new face of responsible design.
Design is now the design of experiences, where the patient, the customer, the user, the human is being immersed in a seductive, comfortable, meaningful journey. From the physical, to the virtual, back to the physical, it needs to be a smooth continuum, avoiding frictions. It requires “thinking” the experience ahead of time, “experience thinking” with all its constitutive components and systems, services and stakeholders in a 360-degree approach. This means that an experience is not a linear process, but a web, a net of interconnected points of contacts, inferences and interactions, a multidimensional constructed narrative.
“The possibility of virtual universes creates new material, emotional and existential experiences.”
The act of the designer is to connect, by the realization of form (it can be the “form of an experience”), a multiplicity of signs and acts that make up our behaviors. The design of experience means the design of “living forms.” If we now consider the path where the world is aiming, well, designers have to zoom out further.
More importantly, if design is now at the forefront of forming our every living experience that will be produced by the industries, the responsibility of the designer is rising even higher. We are designing at an incredibly fast pace and large scale, with a permanent increase of complexity: new social, economic, industrial, societal and political challenges, calling for more openness and a radical shift in our thinking.
Design is now thinking @large, an interconnected ecological thinking.
Join me and designers from around the world to see the design metamorphosis coming to life at Dassault Systemes’ Design in the Age of Experience event during Milan Design Week, April 8 – 14, 2019.
Speakers include: Patrick Jouin / Patrick Jouin ID, Mario Carpo / University College London, Anna Bernagozzi / ENSAD, Toshiko Mori / Toshiko Mori Architect, Oke Hauser / Mini Living
I look forward to seeing you in Milan.