The recognition of time as an essential dimension of design practice is relatively new, tightly linked to the introduction of the computer and simulation software, the awareness of ecological challenges and the development of materials and structures dramatically behaving in time. Yet, the temporal qualities of the design object is rarely questioned, except for what may concern its lifetime, endurance to use or seasonality of production.
Design is in its essence an intention and its materialisation. It is therefore a practice of modelling ideas in which anticipation plays an important role, whether it has to do with preparing instructions for the materialisation of an object in the perspective of its industrial production or with the apprehension of future modes of inhabiting the world. As a discipline, design is therefore largely oriented toward the future as much as the future is an inseparable aspect of social and cultural existence.
Nevertheless, the recognition of time as an essential dimension of design practice is relatively new, tightly linked to the introduction of the computer and simulation software, the awareness of ecological challenges and the development of materials and structures dramatically behaving in time. Still, the temporal qualities of the design object are rarely questioned, except for factors concerning its lifetime, use span or seasonality of production.
Yet, as soon as materials and objects are perceived as behaving in time, their design can hardly be restricted to questions of forms, functions or aesthetics but inevitably questions the temporal characteristics of the object: how does it unfold in time, at which pace and rhythm, through which typology and patterns of movement. This implies questioning the means: concepts, methods and know-hows through which designers can explore the temporal dimensions of their creation. The question is not only how designers design when materials and objects become dynamic but also what kind of temporal landscape they are designing through these artefacts.
Within Western society, time is increasingly shaped by technology. From clock to computer, modern technologies and their associated practices have privileged a temporality completely disconnected from the rhythms of nature. Although theoreticians have pointed, for decades, at the instrumental role of industrial conceptions of time in the production of environmental damages, designers are rarely questioning the impact of their creations on the construction of the social timescape and their consequences onto the environment - except relatively new practices such as resilient design.
In the light of the approaches of sociologist of time Barbara Adam and architect Philip Beesley , the Forging the Future session on 09/02/16 [see programme, Jour 02] will explore what kind of time are we inserting while designing. Through notions such as timescape, timeframe, timing, tempo, temporality, and futurescape, Barbara Adam will highlight the importance of understanding how time is conceptualised and especially to embrace it as an embodied dimension, interdependent of the place, people, matter and technologies through which it is mediated. On the other hand, Philip Beesley will introduce us to his kinetic experimental architectures and geotextile installations by discussing how time has become a new dimension of his work and how it is negotiated at the intersection of theory and practice.