Category Archives: Product Design IV

Zumthor – Atmospheres

Having read Atmospheres, I found that the most relevant part is when he mentioned how architecture collects different materials, and other objects, to create a space.

Looking at PD4 in retrospect, the curation of materials was very important as our project had the spatial experience as an important component.  The space is built by the materials, and hence the materials needed to be curated properly.

For example, there needed to be a certain softness and lightness in the ceiling detail as we proposed for the structure, such that it could move in the wind and provide a visual effect that the materials on their own would not be able to.

This reading seems to deal heavily with the sensory experience of a space, which is relevant as to our project – the senses help to create a certain expectation as to what a space can do. As we intended, the sensory triggers were meant to induce a certain emotion, and recognition of natural phenomena by artificial means.

With these sensory triggers in mind, it would help to create a unique identity for the space that we would go on to develop for the project

Fukusawa – Embodiment

This reading describes how a design needs to have a “soul”, which to me in essence means that the design should have an underlying meaning – such that aesthetic decisions are made on a conceptual basis, and not just for purely visual reasons.

With regards to this, I feel that beyond just including a soul in the design, the narrative or story being told should be told in a simple way. Thus, this soul should be clearly described using the simplest way possible. An overcomplicated concept is likely to lead to a complicated product, which could carry too many concepts which choke each other out, reducing the sum total in terms of the value of the design.

Clarity of concept would, in my opinion, build a better design.

Georges Perec – The Infra-Ordinary

In this reading, Georges Perec begins by talking about how day-to-day tragedies and major incidents affect us much more than the ordinary events of daily life. Perec was a French essayist and novelist who lived from 1936 to 1982. He then defines and describes the “infra-ordinary”, which he refers to as things, matters and occasions that are banal, habitual and common.

In relation to the studio project, I felt that the concept of the “infra-ordinary” somewhat relates to the idea of serendipity – in that these are moments that, while observed, or do occur, they are not anticipated. Thus, I would argue that a serendipitous occurrence can be classified as a subset of the “infra-ordinary”.

Extrapolating from this, one thing that I could relate this to was to the existence of “unnoticeable design” and this made this set of readings meaningful for me as “unnoticeable design” is something that I hold quite close in my practice as a designer in training.

Personally, I would define “unnoticeable design” as design that achieves its function without being overtly designed, such that it is able to work without being noticed. At a personal level, I admire design that achieves its purpose in such a way as it shows that the producer has managed to avoid placing too much emphasis on the intricacies of form and visuals but instead focused on allowing it to seamlessly function and achieve its aims.