by Stefano Mirti
In the English language, the word “design” can be used as a noun. A plan or drawing made to show the appearance and functioning of some kind of object (furniture, building, garment etc.) before it is built or produced.
Then of course, “design” can be a verb: “to design”. In this extent we can design a building, an exhibition, a journey, our own life.
The design for a lamp. To design a lamp. A design lamp.
Too many lamps, let’s get back to design.
It could be useful to approach “design” from a different point of view. “Design” as an attitude, “design” as some kind of special glasses to view the world, to view life, to view ourselves. Design as a cognitive pattern to generate new meanings, new relations between existing meaning, modifying our perceptions and understanding.
To achieve this is quite a radical goal, but nonetheless, it is very simple.
It’s a switch. A switch that can be turned on or kept off. If you set it on, you enter another world. And this is what we like the most about “design”: when it takes us into magic realms. Feeling like Alice going through the mirror, entering some kind of fascinating (and spooky) wonderland.
Design is a language. Design as a language, as if it were philosophy or mathematics. As if it were music. Learning to play a musical instrument does not necessarily imply living the life of a professional musician. Learning to play music allows us in first instance to live better, add layers of meaning to our existence.
Design to transform the world, but to transform the world, the first thing to do is to transform ourselves. Are you ready? Then enrol in Design 101 here.
Stefano Mirti is an architect, designer, teacher etc. etc. He is one of the partners of Id-Lab in Milan, responsible of all the design activities and one of the instructors of iversity's MOOC "Design 101".