The State of Design

This course will provide an overview of the role of design in recent history and today. The state of design is strong. Design can greatly benefit not only people and businesses, but also the world at large. It can influence policy and research, without ever reneging its poietic, non-ideological nature. And without renouncing beauty. It can translate technological revolutions into human format, while providing feedback to scientists and politicians. It can act as a bridge between the abstraction of research and the complexity of the real world.Designers are advocating and sometimes obtaining roles that are more and more integral to the evolution of our society. Among those in charge of shaping the future of the world, they are the most benign, responsible, and visionary. Yet, design as a discipline still suffers from a general lack of understanding of both its deeds and of its possibilities. Only by learning how to clearly communicate these values will designers be able to come into their own full potential.Since the basis for a clear outbound communication is inner clarity, a strong body of design theory is most needed. It is still missing. By analyzing case studies, this course will examine design forms and theories from the past and present; take into account their strengths and weaknesses in relationship to new forms of design; and attempt to propose a new, comprehensive theoretical scheme that encompasses all of design\’s components, from the idea to the materials, processes, and distribution goals. Intentionally general, the course will take a stab at a comprehensive theory of design.Pedagogic ObjectivesThe main objective is to contribute an updated theoretical spine to architects\’ and designers\’ activity. By being asked to both appreciate its specific contexts and put it in perspective, the students will be inspired to observe, recognize, and appreciate design, and to advocate eloquently its important role in every aspect of our lives. Completion RequirementsAfter a brief orientation period and discussions with the instructor, the students will be asked to pick a subject, research it extensively, and produce a paper or a statement in another form.