Virtual Design Lecture


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A presentation back in 2004 to introduce design in the virtual or digital world

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Virtual Design Lecture

  1. 1. Virtual Design UNDERSTANDING DESIGN DECO 1004 Lecture by Ricardo Sosa
  2. 2. Conclusions <ul><li>Virtual and real are relative categories </li></ul><ul><li>Design exists in the relation between virtual and real </li></ul><ul><li>Designers shouldn’t care too much about atoms/bits or hardware/software </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimately, in design terms the difference physical-virtual is not important. </li></ul><ul><li>What is important is… (wait until the end!) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Virtual and real <ul><li>Particle physics : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the fundamental (smallest) building blocks from which all matter is made? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Elementary particles <ul><li>Standard Model : quarks and leptons are fundamental particles. N o evidence that refutes this assumption, nor any evidence for a size or structure for any of these particles (< 10 -1 9 meters ). </li></ul>
  5. 5. Real and Virtual Particles <ul><li>Real Particles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Particles that can be observed either directly or indirectly in experiments are real particles. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Virtual Particles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual particles are a language invented by physicists in order to talk about processes in probability terms. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is meaningless to argue whether they are or are not there, as they cannot be observed. Any attempt to observe them changes the outcome of the process. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Wave -particle duality <ul><li>Quarks behave as a wave, or as particles, depending on what we do with them , and what we try to observe. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Uncertainty principle <ul><li>W e can't know everything we would like to know about a particle . I f we can't know the position or momentum of a particle, does it even have a specific value of position or momentum? Or does the particle only have these attributes when we measure them? The surprising answers provided by quantum physics seem to be: no and yes. </li></ul>
  8. 8. What is virtual? <ul><li>1 : being such in essence or effect though not formally recognized or admitted “ a virtual dictator ” </li></ul><ul><li>2 : of, relating to, or being a of hypothetical nature whose existence is inferred from indirect evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Design: interactive software as compared to tangible hardware </li></ul>
  9. 9. Design is virtual
  10. 10. <ul><li>“ To design means to experience the table in advance of its physical embodiment. Thus designing is the virtual practical experience.” Nadin (1997) </li></ul><ul><li>Morello, A.: 2000, Design predicts the future when it anticipates experience, Design Issues , 16 (3), 35 –44. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>“ Designers are all ‘futurologists’ to some extent. The very essence of their job is to create the future.” Lawson, B. (1997) </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>The designer understands that the future is not out there to be ‘discovered’, but it has to be invented and designed ( Fischer, 1998 ). </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>“ Design aims to innovate, to add something new to what already exists.” Christiaans (1992) </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>There can be no question that visual mental imagery involves visual mechanisms. </li></ul><ul><li>Subjects produce eye movements when they visualize objects that are similar to those produced when they perceive them. (Kosslyn, 1997) </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>“ Subjects participated in perceptual and imagery tasks while their brains were scanned. Two-thirds of the activated areas were activated in common… Subjects with deficits in imagery and perception following brain damage may confuse whether they have actually seen a stimulus or merely imagined seeing it.” </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>“ Nobody who has any kind of creative imagination can possibly be anything but disappointed with real life.” Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>“ The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept , everything they are offered.” Jean Piaget (1896–1980) </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>“ The act of creating artificial things which have not previously existed in the real world. Sandler (1994) </li></ul><ul><li>“ One designs in order to initiate change .” Dasgupta (1996) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Designers are change agents in society.” Gero, J. S. (1990) </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>“ The designer has a prescriptive rather than descriptive job. Unlike scientists who describe how the world is, designers suggest how it might be .”Lawson (1997) </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>“ The natural sciences are concerned with the properties of things as they are whereas design is concerned with the nature of objects from the perspective of the purposes they intend to serve; that is, with how things ought to be .&quot; </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>“ Design is the precursor to all manufacturing and production of a society's artefacts, both real and virtual.” Gero (2002) </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Handcrafts and new technologies: end product is the product itself: “Tightening the loop between conception and execution has the potential to reconcile some of the separation of design and fabrication that industrialization had previously imposed on craft. Thus, after two centuries of separation, the conception and the execution of everyday objects are once again in the same hands (CAD/CAM).” McCullough (1998) </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>“ The designer can see from a drawing how the final design will look but, unfortunately, not necessarily how it will work.” Lawson, B. (1997) </li></ul><ul><li>In design computing one can see throughout the process how the final design –or aspects of it- will work… so-called virtual design is more real! </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>“ One of the tasks of designing is to try to anticipate, predict and void any possible failures” (Hubka and Eder, 1996 ) </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>“ The concept of failure is central to the design process. ” Petroski (1994) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Nothing is perfect, even the most traditional and established ways of doing things leave something to be desired. When a new design removes one of the annoyances (of the old), it more likely than not fails to address some others or adds a new one of its own. All design involves conflicting objectives and hence compromise, and the best designs will always be those that come up with the best compromise.” </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>“ I don’t have any idea what I’m going to write until I start to write.” Peter Eisenman quoted in Herbert (1993) </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>“ The writing or the drawing takes on a life of its own and we are there to assist.” Herbert (1993) </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>“ Design sketches serve as a medium through which a designer makes visual/spatial reasoning; a designer externalises newly formed but still vague ideas in the form of less rigid and ambiguous depictions on paper. By inspecting those externalised ideas, the designer finds useful clues to refine them, which motivates him or her to draw again.” Suwa, M., Gero, J. S. and Purcell, T. (1999a) </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>“ To the extent that the drawing is inexplicit and ambiguous, it is open to multiple interpretation, and it is exactly these multiple representations that allow further development of the design. When design synthesis drawings are no longer ambiguous, the design development stops.” Herbert (1993) </li></ul>
  30. 31. <ul><li>“ Study drawings are not all of one kind: they may be either more or less abstract or they may progressively change from private to public.” Herbert (1993) </li></ul>
  31. 32. <ul><li>“ But why is it necessary for designers to draw at all?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ One thing that is clear is that sketches enable designers to handle different levels of abstraction simultaneously.” Cross (1998) </li></ul>
  32. 33. <ul><li>“ In design, drawing is a kind of intelligence amplifier, just as writing is an intelligence amplifier for all of us when we are trying to reason something out. Without writing, it can be difficult to explore and resolve our own thoughts; without drawing, it is difficult for designers to explore and resolve their thoughts.” Cross (1998) </li></ul>
  33. 34. <ul><li>“ One obvious reason is that the end point of the design process usually requires a drawing, or a set of drawings, that provide a model of the object—the building or the product—that is to be made by the builder or manufacturer. That is the designer’s goal—to provide that model.” Cross (1998) </li></ul>
  34. 35. <ul><li>“ Drawings and sketches help clarify our visual thoughts. Finke (1993) </li></ul>
  35. 36. <ul><li>“ For the designer “the graphic world of the sketchpad is the medium of reflection-in-action. Here they can draw and talk their moves in spatial-action language, leaving traces.” Schön (1983) </li></ul>
  36. 37. <ul><li>“ Virtual worlds are contexts for experimenting within which practitioners can suspend or control some of the everyday impediments to rigorous reflection-in-action. They are representative worlds of practice in the double sense of ‘practice’. And practice in the construction, maintenance, and use of virtual worlds develops the capacity for reflection-in-action which we call artistry.” Schön (1983) p . 162 </li></ul>
  37. 38. Design is real
  38. 39. <ul><li>The world of our everyday experience is shaped by the practice of engineering and technology, and the world shapes those activities in turn. </li></ul>
  39. 40. <ul><li>“ Artefacts, even the most innovative kind, possess evolutionary pasts.” Dasgupta (1996) </li></ul><ul><li>Phylogeny and ontogeny </li></ul>
  40. 41. <ul><li>“ Where do designers get their ideas?” The answer, of course, is mainly from other architects and designers, so is it mere casuistry to distinguish between tradition and plagiarism ?” Stephen Bayley (b. 1951) The Columbia World of Quotations (1996) </li></ul>
  41. 42. <ul><li>“ Creativity comes from the past; that is, creative works began in continuity with the past.” Weisberg, R. (1993) </li></ul>
  42. 43. <ul><li>“ In order to produce influential work in a field, one may have to know what came before.” Weisberg, R. (1993) </li></ul>
  43. 44. <ul><li>“ Design solutions in turn create new and different [design] problems.” “The vast majority of our everyday environment has been designed and, even, invented within our own generation.” Lawson (1997) </li></ul>
  44. 45. <ul><li>“ For humans, to produce the artificial is an absolutely natural activity” Manzini (1990) </li></ul>
  45. 46. <ul><li>“ Design is derived from practical experiences, extending what is possible to what is desirable.” Nadin (1997) </li></ul>
  46. 47. <ul><li>“ Reality puts boundaries on what is needed and what is useful. (…) You may get lots of new ideas, but no one knows which are good and which are bad, and you have far more ideas than you can ever implement.” Csikszentmihalyi (1999) </li></ul>
  47. 48. <ul><li>“ Design involves the user in choices to be made. In this way, design becomes an indicator of the state of public intelligence, taste and interest.” Nadin (1997) </li></ul>
  48. 49. <ul><li>In 1999 cars killed 880,000 persons and injured 30 million (WHO) </li></ul>
  49. 50. <ul><li>Very real and urgent problems addressed. </li></ul>
  50. 51. <ul><li>These leather clogs are n ot objects but ambits , places where a lifestyle and a culture reside: “T he poetry of peasant life ” (Millet). </li></ul>
  51. 53. <ul><li>Heidegger defines a thing as a nucleus around which many changing qualities are grouped, or a bearer upon which the qualities rest; something that possesses something else in itself. Now this definition, if considered minutely, is the essence for designers to see things not as physical objects but as systems of 'something else', sets of 'changeable properties' that suggest far more than the simple appearance or its momentaneous function. </li></ul>
  52. 54. <ul><li>F or encountering things in the realm of everyday experience, they must approach us, affect us, obtrude and intrude upon us. Thus occur impressions, sensations , which occupy peculiar intermediate positions between the things and the human beings, between object and subject. Heidegger (1964) </li></ul>
  53. 58. <ul><li>“ The designer is someone especially able to observe different realities as forms of encounter where interactions acquire some sense.” López Quintás (1998) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Designerly ways of thinking ” Cross (1998) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Learning to see architecturally” Tweed (1999) </li></ul>
  54. 59. <ul><li>Design is very much </li></ul><ul><li>the relation between </li></ul><ul><li>virtual and real. </li></ul>
  55. 60. What is design?
  56. 61. <ul><li>“ Design is a discipline that suffers the lack of reflection. Constitutes practice without theory, praxis without knowledge: it is done, but no-one knows exactly what is done.” Zimmermann (1998) </li></ul>
  57. 62. <ul><li>“ It has often been suggested that design is as much a matter of finding problems as it is of solving them.” Lawson, B. (1997) </li></ul>
  58. 63. <ul><li>Invention is the discovery of a general principle of arrangement that, in effect, governs or defines a class of systems. Design, in contrast, is the application of such a principle in some given context and results in a particular embodiment of the principle (Pye, 1964). </li></ul>
  59. 64. <ul><li>“ We view design activity as a process of collective elaboration consisting in ‘a transformation of a set of specifications for a material or symbolical device into the description of an artefact’.” Grosjean, Fixmer and Brassac (2000) </li></ul>
  60. 65. <ul><li>&quot;Non-routine design can be defined as that class of design activity when all the variables which define structure and behaviour are not known in advance, nor necessarily are all the processes needed to produce them.&quot; P. 261 Gero in Dartnall, T. (1994) </li></ul>
  61. 66. <ul><li>“ I shall consider designing as a conversation with the materials of a situation.” Schön (1983) p. 78 </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Design is often solution-led, in that early on the designer proposes solutions in order to better understand the problem.&quot; Candy (1997) </li></ul>
  62. 67. <ul><li>“ There are essentially two basic approaches to design: the artistic ideal of expressing yourself and the engineering ideal of solving a problem for a costumer.” Jacob Nielsen, Designing Web Usability , Indiana: New Riders Publishing, 1999, quoted in Bonsiepe, G. (2000) </li></ul>
  63. 68. <ul><li>“ The function of what I call design science is to solve problems by introducing into the environment new artefacts, the availability of which will induce their spontaneous employment by humans and thus, coincidentally, cause humans to abandon their previous problem-producing behaviours and devices.” Buckminster Fuller </li></ul>
  64. 69. <ul><li>“ The answer is probably that we shall never really find a single satisfactory definition of design but that the searching is probably much more important than the finding.” Lawson (1997) </li></ul>
  65. 70. Relation virtual/real
  66. 71. Virtual as real <ul><li>“ One of the curious aspects of digital technology is the valorisation of a new realism. From Hollywood special effects to architectural rendering, the success of the new technology is measured by its ability to seamlessly render the real. Even so-called virtual reality has not so much been used to create alternative realities but to replicate those already existing. Allen (1998) </li></ul>
  67. 73. <ul><li>“ A model is almost anything from a naked blonde to a quadratic equation.” Goodman (1976) </li></ul><ul><li>Simulation: a representation of reality that is not real, i.e. is virtual. </li></ul>
  68. 74. <ul><li>“ The optical artifice (QTVR) is commonly referred to as virtual reality, it demonstrates our willingness to give the eyes a monopoly.” McCullough (1998) </li></ul>
  69. 75. <ul><li>Sense of place </li></ul>
  70. 76. <ul><li>“ The space of the future would be both of real and of virtual nature. Architecture will ‘take place’, in the literal sense of the word, in both domains: in real space and virtual space.” Virilio (1998) </li></ul>
  71. 77. <ul><li>“ Any kind of matter is about to vanish in favour of information. To me, to disappear does not mean to become eliminated. Just like the Atlantic, which continues to be there even though you can no longer feel it as you fly over it. The same happens with architecture: it will continue to exist, but in the state of disappearance.” Virilio (1998) </li></ul>
  72. 78. <ul><li>Artefacts are not interesting in their atoms but in the experiences they enable and promote. </li></ul>
  73. 79. Virtual and real <ul><li>Atoms/bits difference is nearly irrelevant since design is concerned with the interaction between user and artefact. </li></ul>
  74. 80. Design with computers
  75. 81. <ul><li>“ In current 3D CAD-programs, neither of the components of the creative process, combining and restructuring , appears to be supported very well. Current 3D CAD-programs do not seem appropriate for supporting the creative process in the conceptual phase of design, where idea-sketches are usually made.” Verstijnen and Hennessey (1998) </li></ul>
  76. 82. <ul><li>“ The internal representations of most CAD programs are not amenable to abstraction or ambiguity.” Gross, M. (1996) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Compared with the way we draw, such systems are about as helpful as a chisel, a hammer and a tablet of stone.” Lawson, B. (1997) </li></ul>
  77. 83. New media and design <ul><li>“ Study drawings are not neutral; they are not transparent representations of a separate objective reality conceived beforehand by the designer. On the contrary, they are an imposed order that introduces substantial new issues into the design task –issues that have significant effects. (…) The designer cannot choose to work in such a way that media have no effect.” Herbert (1993) </li></ul>
  78. 84. <ul><li>“ No medium is passive. In each medium, previous experiences and patterns of interaction are accumulated.” Nadin (1997) </li></ul>
  79. 85. <ul><li>“ Architectural designers in the late twentieth century continue to use study drawings much as architects did in the fifteenth.” Herbert (1993) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Apparently the role of media in design is not fixed; if it has changed before, it may change again.” Herbert (1993) </li></ul>
  80. 86. <ul><li>“ The argument that graphic media are active participants in design thinking is a challenge to designers –a challenge to regard study media as a creative resource.” Herbert (1993) </li></ul>
  81. 87. Design for computers <ul><li>(As opp to design for concrete, for wood, etc) </li></ul>
  82. 88. Design for computers
  83. 89. Integral design discipline <ul><li>Common approach to human needs and experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Looking at the numerous, sometimes conflicting, interpretations of design and its difference to engineering and sciences, we have the concern for the user , and aesthetic quality . It is the focus on the user and her/his concerns from an integrative perspective that characterizes the design approach.” Bonsiepe, G. (2000) </li></ul>
  84. 90. Design and other disciplines <ul><li>“ We might describe the scientists as having a problem-focused strategy and the architects as having a solution-focused strategy.” Lawson, B. (1997) </li></ul>
  85. 91. <ul><li>“ A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering.” Freeman Dyson (b. 1923) The Columbia World of Quotations (1996) </li></ul>
  86. 92. Good design?
  87. 94. Reply and delete
  88. 100. Dinner/party : flash/html
  89. 104. Function-Behaviour-Structure
  90. 105. Good design? <ul><li>“ Quality and creativity in design are by no means synonymous. (…) The Eames chair, Sottsass typewriter and Starck toothbrush have not necessarily been proven to be of a superior quality to others of the same category, and their claim to fame rests solely on the alleged creative touch of their designers.” </li></ul>
  91. 106. <ul><li>“ Few of us will ever agree entirely about just how good one piece of design is.” Lawson, B. (1997) </li></ul>
  92. 107. <ul><li>“ Perhaps believing in good design is like believing in God, it makes you an optimist.” Terence, Sir Conran (b. 1931), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996) </li></ul>
  93. 108. <ul><li>“ In the future you won’t buy artists’ works, you’ll buy software that makes original pieces of ‘their’ works, or that recreates their way of looking at things.” Brian Eno quoted in McCullough (1998) </li></ul><ul><li>Obsolescence of hardware/software distinction. </li></ul>
  94. 109. <ul><li>Situations are real with real consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>Design artefacts of all sorts (‘virtual’ and ‘real’) mediate the experience of humans in their world, and shape their situations. </li></ul>
  95. 110. Disclaimer <ul><li>“ Designers are like this book, they are full of contradictions.” Lawson, B. (1997) </li></ul>
  96. 111. References <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you </li></ul>