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L'Eclipse de L'Objet dans les Théories du Projet en Design (The Eclipse of the Object in Design Project Theories)

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The contextual field of this research is the history of ideas in design, 'ideas' being understood as ideologies, dogmas, treatises, theories or philosophies (i.e. both descriptive and normative items), and 'design' including all practices related to our built environment with some aesthetic concern (graphic, product, architectural, urban, landscape design). Our corpus is constituted from written and published texts mainly but not exclusively from the second half of the last century. The objective of the research was to find out if some Gestalt or model (evolutionary, structural, thematic or else) emerged from this historical corpus and the purpose was essentially pedagogical and didactic. The research yielded the following interesting features: (1) the material object or product has long been the main focus of the theories, all the way up to the middle of the twentieth century; (2) the object tends to disappear from the concerns of the theoreticians after the Second World War, both upstream and downstream of the design process, i.e. on the side of the designers and on the side of the users - design theories mainly focus upstream on the design process and downstream on the functions of the product; (3) much more recently another shift took place away from the product in the preoccupations of the theoreticians, both upstream and downstream again. Theoretical models are now interested in either the actors of the design process or the experiences of the user as a 'whole' human being.

These shifts correspond to a displacement of the centre of the interest respectively from the aesthetic to the logical, to the ethical fields of philosophy. This 'eclipse of the object' has important consequences for the theory and practice of design.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/146069205789331574

Publication date: November 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1998, The Design Journal is an international, refereed journal covering all aspects of design. The journal welcomes articles on design in both cultural and commercial contexts. The journal is published four times a year and provides a forum for design scholars, professionals, educators, and managers worldwide. It publishes thought-provoking work that will have a direct impact on design knowledge and that challenges assumptions and methods, while being open-minded about the evolving role of design.
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