Meaning Formulation and Cultural Framing in Design
This paper is a theoretical contribution to an aesthetics of design beyond style. The paper will present an interpretive framework for investigating and questioning the formation and articulation of aesthetic meaning in design. In the context of the paper, aesthetic meaning can be seen to evolve on three levels: 1) On a sensual-phenomenological level, the focus is on sensual appeal, i.e. how the design object by its sensual and tactile effects and its outer shape creates an appeal to human experience. This is not a matter of style but of the object relating to and framing the conditions of experience, e.g. in appeal to emotions or pleasure. 2) On a conceptual-hermeneutical level, the staging of meaning by design objects is in question. This regards, on the one hand, the appeal to understanding by the human subject and, on the other hand, the ability of the object to reflect its own character as a site of meaning formulation. 3) On a contextual-discursive level, the focus is on the contextual factors of the aesthetics of the design, that is, on the cultural element of aestheticization where design in different ways and by different means is reflected, regarded and positioned as ‘aesthetic’. The paper will conclude by pointing at the impact of the cultural framing of design and the procedures by which design objects are not only regarded as aesthetic by their inherent qualities but are also attributed meaning and value as aesthetic by external factors, e.g. in visual mediation. Thus, the question of aesthetics in design may be answered by both addressing the internal meaning formulation of the aesthetic appeal and the external cultural and discursive framing of design that influences how design is perceived as ‘aesthetic’.
Tradition, Transition, Tragectories: Major or Minor Influences?: Icdhs 2014: 9th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies, 2014, p. 139-144
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Blucher Design Proceedings
9th International Committee Design History & Design StudiesInternational Committee for Design History and Design Studies, 2014