Deconstructing meaning: Industrial design as Adornment and Wit
AbstractIn this paper we present new theoretical perspectives about industrial design. First, we establish that antinomies about function, form and meaning cannot offer a theory of industrial design. Then we bear on advances in Design theory in the literature of engineering design to find out universal features of design which are common to industrial design, Architecture and Engineering. Taking into account social and cognitive contexts, we identify the dilemma that is specific of industrial design. This dilemma can be solved in two ways that we define as "adornement" and "wit" which differ by how the identity of objects is maintained or challenged by design. Each way corresponds to different types of rhetoric -classic and conceptist- that we identify. The combination of adornment and wit explains the generative power of industrial design and its paradoxical situation: neither Art, neither engineering. Moreover, the academic identity of industrial design research can be clarified within the traditions of Design theory, anthropology and rhetoric.
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Date of creation: 2013
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Publication status: Published - Presented, 10th European Academy of Design Conference: Crafting the Future, 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden
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