Design Strategies as Paradigms

Design Strategies as Paradigms

Luciano Crespi (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 39
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0666-9.ch002


Starting from the works for interiors made by Albini, Sottsass, Gio Ponti, Mendini, the Castiglioni brothers, the Bouroullec brothers, La Pietra, Starck, Guixé and De Lucchi, different design strategies will be illustrated, which, despite their diversity, are considered representative of possible smart, innovative, and wise approaches to interior design. Every author is then read through their most significant projects belonging to interiors or settings and furthermore associated with a particular strategy that is able to represent the common style of every project, in particular regarding the approach and the driving thinking.
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There are countless works covering the most distinguished architects and designers from the twentieth century avant-garde. These tend to be chronological histories, monographs on a particular designer, and series for laypeople, all written by architecture and design historians. However, this chapter relays these experiences in a completely different way: through the eye of a designer. These are not biographies, since they don’t explore the lives of the authors. In a certain sense they could be considered anti-biographies in as much as each example starts with an interpretation based on both factual elements as well as circumstantial paradigms. The defining element of their work is “isolated” to define what could be considered as their peculiar way of operating.

Each strategy by a designer or architect engaged in interior design has been matched with that of one or more artists as a kind of inspirational “soundtrack”. A bit like Herman Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, we are provided with only vague and indecipherable instructions. It is an attempt - both difficult and questionable - to grasp the author’s poetics, signature style, the way they relate to their own time, and how they measure against other schools of thought. These are all aspects that have been amply covered in books on the history of architecture and design. However, this is also an attempt to unearth the hidden, almost secret, inner folds that sometimes evade the more meticulous and sometimes pedantic historical texts; the aspects that are more readily visible to those familiar with the impatient aspects of design, to its inevitable calculated risk, the qualities that are not found through traditional research or by studying documents. Some of these comparisons have already been suggested by others, albeit for different reasons (Giannone, 2011). Others are based on actual relationships between the different designers, artists, and musicians. Others simply seem highly plausible. Still, others might appear to be arbitrary or thrown out on the table, like cards, just “to see”. The goal is to trigger a kind of mental short-circuit, however risky, to demonstrate how important it is for the interior designer to go beyond professional boundaries during the design phase, employing all available means, that is, material, colour, light, dimensions, form, relationships, and hierarchies. However necessary, the manuals, technical and code knowledge, attention to the behavioural aspects of the users, and social research are not enough. There needs to be an approach to design acquired through time and experience, developed day after day through studying good examples, a process facilitated by the interpretation techniques described herein. The boundaries between the different potential strategies described here are in certain cases exaggerated to make a point; however, they can also be interpreted in different and contradictory ways, like shuffling a deck of cards and dealing out another hand.

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