Alternative Perceptions of Design

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Abstract

Just think about how many objects you’ve used, from the moment you woke up this morning to the moment you sat down to read this book. The toothbrush, the cup you used to drink your coffee, the clothes you put on, the chair or sofa you’re sitting on and the tablet you may be using to read this book. The fact is that we live in a world of design—totally surrounded by designed objects. They are so ubiquitous that it is hard to imagine a world without them. Every single object that we use or have is the result of a thought process involving designers, engineers, manufacturers, and technology. Where did it all start? What were the historical and social influences that brought about these culturally multi-coded objects? In this volume, we try to answer these questions using a multi-disciplinary approach, combining design theories, history, and design anthropology. By considering design in its broadest sense we hope to present an alternative perception of design, unlike the classic type of introductory volumes dedicated to the subject. Using examples from industrial design, graphic design, and architecture, the book is laid out thematically, rather than chronologically. Starting with design in the Paleolithic era and then the Neolithic revolution, our journey takes us through prehistoric, ancient history, medieval times, Renaissance, and Baroque design as it manifested in religion, militarism, political agendas, topography, and historical creativity. Naturally, while the history of design is the main issue of this volume, it is rooted in contemporary socio-cultural developments, aiming to offer an alternative approach to practitioners and anyone else who is interested in the fascinating world of design.