design and collection

This post is in a series of commentaries on a class running at Stanford, Winter Quarter 2010 – “Transformative Design” ENGR 231 – [Link]

I mentioned in a recent post about design and the everyday the little photobook “thoughtless acts” by Jane Fulton Suri and IDEO – [Link]

It is a collection of observations, documented in snapshot photos, of intuitive ways that people adapt, exploit and react to things, creatively, without really thinking. Tacit acts.

A collection – of course, designers don’t just come up with artifacts. The research that is often at the heart of design, certainly human-centered design such as that practiced by IDEO, involves collecting and analyzing and interpreting observations – about people, what they do, what works and what doesn’t work for people.

Bill-at-IDEO

At IDEO some of this research is embodied in a fascinating collection of “designerly things” – interesting materials (squishy, hard, metals with a memory, temperature sensitive …), cool hinges, neat handles … . They’ve been collected from all over by IDEO people and are carefully curated in carts around IDEO offices, recorded in a database so that you can search for particular qualities, particular solutions to design problems.

Bill-at-IDEO-02

Bill Moggridge with the IDEO collection

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London was set up as a design museum that would inform good industrial design, through encounter with its collections of things from across the world and through the ages.

Another connection between design and archaeology.