INTRODUCING TANGIBLE AESTHETICS: CONTRASTING THE INTRODUCTION OF AESTHETIC ANALYSIS TOOLS FOR PRODUCT DESIGNERS AND INTERDISCIPLINARY DESIGN RESEARCHERS
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Laura Filippa Ferrarello, Ashley Hall, Weiyi Li
Institution: Royal College of Art, United Kingdom
Section: Asesthetics and Cultural Practice in Design Engineering and Education
Design and aesthetics are two intrinsic words that naturally interrelate when a tangible object with formal qualities is developed by taking into account visible parameters. In this research, we describe how an aesthetic analysis of tangible objects could be a valuable and rich pedagogic medium for design research in a design innovation and interdisciplinary design research environment. By comparing the results gained from the application of this method delivered through a series of postgraduate student workshops we describe how “designing aesthetic miscommunication” facilitates learning across disciplines for supporting self-criticality and reflection. This results from the different associated meanings each discipline assigns through perception of objective and subjective aesthetic readings. Our method included combining physical artefacts with a diagrammatical aesthetic mapping framework designed to build mental models of aesthetic analysis, but also to introduce issues and conjectures. Even though various approaches have been applied to the product design discipline including affordances and semantic theory, this method explores a different kind of approach when applied to a more diverse audience. Under this lens visual design analysis facilitates discussion across disciplines and creates a common ground through the perceived visual truths that emerge in the workshops. Our findings have shown that students are capable of maintaining the original meaning shaped by their discipline while sharing observations with a wider audience about how such meanings shifts. The results illustrate how the students’ experience and their learning approach to design practice evolved through the introduction of tangible aesthetics.