Designed Objects
AIADO, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Ideation Story mining Audio fabrication Object/Icon

Working with undergraduate students from across the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as part of an introductory class to 'Designed objects', we examined the use of objects as medium, exploring the tacit motivations and ideas that pertain to their creation.

Whilst shaping the everyday material landscape, objects carry with them ‘stories’ through their usage, aesthetic, production, functions, or arrangement, these might (surreptitiously or not) influence our perception and understanding. In some cases objects might be perceived as the reification of certain values, where designing ‘things’ implies also the creation of meaning, rendering ideas more tangible by making them perceptible.

The semester was divided into 3 assignments, culminating in the presentation of a final project consisting of testable prototypes and the subsequent documentation supporting their design process. Students were tasked with exploring and defining the context within which their design interventions exist, before ‘crafting’ the narratives they convey through the design and fabrication of new objects.

Contextualise – research and define the contexts participants will be designing for. Understand the parameters and forces at play that will shape design interventions.

Enact – identify and enact narratives specific to their contexts, and the values and ideas that their design intervention will embody.

Inhabit – focussed on prototyping iterations and designing a final outcome, taking into consideration the object’s materiality, means of production, usage, interactions, etc.