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METADESIGN.

LETTING THE FUTURE DESIGN 1


Carlo Franzato
METADESIGN
LETTING THE FUTURE DESIGN
Prof. Carlo Franzato | cfranzato@unisinos.br
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Carlo Franzato
RESEARCH PROBLEM

In the literature metadesign is intended as a design process that precedes
further design processes.
It is frequently translated as the design of design (Giaccardi, 2005;
Celaschi, Deserti, 2007; De Moraes, 2010; Vasso, 2010).
Even if this expression appears efficacious, it demands for explanations to
avoid the risk of becoming a sibylline aphorism.
Some questions emerge:
Is metadesign as the first term of the expression an essentially
different process from the process of design as the second term?
Is a further design process indispensable to the metadesign one?
Is metadesign really previous to design?
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STRUCTURE OF THE PRESENTATION

1. Metadesign in the Latin tradition

2. Metadesign in interaction and open design

3. How use and time concepts change facing new technologies

4. Consequences on the concept of metadesign
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METADESIGN IN THE LATIN TRADITION: MENDINIS 100% MAKE UP
On the left, sketches for the100% Make Up collection, developed in 1992 by Alessandro Mendini for Alessi.
On the right, one of the 100 interpretations of the same vase: the version with special decoration by Philippe Starck.
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METADESIGN IN THE LATIN TRADITION: MENDINIS 100% MAKE UP

My experience editing magazines gave me an interest in seeing design and
architecture as a bit like conducting an orchestra. Basically, [that is] working
with other authors, well known or unknown, on a precise, strong metadesign,
leaving big gaps in which the authors could find space to express themselves
freely. I often had these experiences, in different fields and I continue to have
them. They give the pleasure of suspense, of how the design will turn out,
because I dont always hold the last card, the cards are held by a lot of
different people (Mendini apud Appiani, 2007, pp. 25-26).
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Carlo Franzato
METADESIGN IN THE LATIN TRADITION: MENDINIS 100% MAKE UP

100% Make Up is useful to stress some characteristics of metadesign in the
Latin tradition.
It is speculative, deriving from a deep reflection that evokes new
opportunities for designing.
It is interpretative, since that reflection has to be discussed and evolved
with the contribution of other actors within an organization, the creative
system or the society;
It is actually designed, resulting in propositions expressed with the
idiosyncratic design language.
It is open, letting and fostering other people to design.
It is unpredictable, being not known its design consequences and cultural
resonance.
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Carlo Franzato
METADESIGN IN INTERACTION AND OPEN DESIGN
John Maeda, reactive graphics, 1995. ( John Maeda) Maedas metadesign technique allows generation of visual experiences that involve
the viewers in the creation of the form by responding to their inputs in real time (GIACCARDI, 2005, p. 343).
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Carlo Franzato
http://www.copenhagensuborbitals.com/ is a non-profit suborbital space endeavour based entirely on sponsors, private donors and part
time specialists. Since May 2008 they have been working full time to reach our goal of launching a human being into space and to show the
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METADESIGN IN INTERACTION AND OPEN DESIGN
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Carlo Franzato
METADESIGN IN INTERACTION AND OPEN DESIGN

Metadesign represents a cultural shift from design as planning to design
as seeding. By promoting collaborative and transformational practices of
design that can support new modes of human interaction and sustain an
expansion of the creative process, metadesign is developing toward new
ways of understanding and planning with the goal of producing more open
and evolving open systems of interaction (Giaccardi, 2005, p. 348).
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HOW USE CONCEPT CHANGES FACING NEW TECHNOLOGIES: LEVY

Technology, even the more advanced, is bricolage, re-use and deflection. It
is not possible to use without interpreting, metamorphosing. The being of a
proposition, an image or a material device is determined only by its use, by
the interpretation of who brushes against it.
[] No technical advance is determinate a priori, before to be tested by the
heterogeneous collective, by the complex network in which it has to circulate
and that eventually it should be able to reorganize someday (Levy, 1992, pp.
203-204, authors translation).
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HOW USE CONCEPT CHANGES FACING NEW TECHNOLOGIES: CASTELLS

What characterizes the current technological revolution is not the centrality
of knowledge and information, but the application of such knowledge and
information to knowledge generation and information
processing/communication devices, in a cumulative feedback loop between
innovation and the uses of innovation (Castells, 2010, p. 31).
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HOW TIME CONCEPT CHANGES FACING NEW TECHNOLOGIES: CASTELLS

Over the classical view of the time as a succession, new technologies impose
the virtual time, a time of the now and of the eternity, disconnected from the
space.
The whole ordering of meaningful events loses its internal, chronological
rhythm, and becomes arranged in time sequences depending upon the social
context of their utilization. Thus, it is a culture at the same time of the eternal
and of the ephemeral. It is eternal because it reaches back and forth to the
whole sequence of cultural expressions. It is ephemeral because each
arrangement, each specific sequencing, depends on the context and purpose
under which any given cultural construct is solicited. We are not in a culture
of circularity, but in a universe of undifferentiated temporality of cultural
expressions (Castells, 2010, p. 492).
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HOW TIME CONCEPT CHANGES FACING NEW TECHNOLOGIES: LEVY

Levy goes beyond, foreseeing a knowledge era that abolishes the time delay
(2011, pp. 155-157). Levys collective time has no objective references, such
as the clock or the calendar: new technologies allow assuming many
subjective time references that collective time composes. Each individual has
his or her time reference and, consequently, his or her velocity, without being
isolated since asynchrony is a property of collective time.
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Carlo Franzato
CONSEQUENCES ON THE CONCEPT OF METADESIGN

In the literature metadesign is intended as a design process that precedes
further design processes.
It is frequently translated as the design of design (Giaccardi, 2005;
Celaschi, Deserti, 2007; De Moraes, 2010; Vasso, 2010).
Even if this expression appears efficacious, it demands for explanations to
avoid the risk of becoming a sibylline aphorism.
Some questions emerge:
Is metadesign as the first term of the expression an essentially
different process from the process of design as the second term?
Is a further design process indispensable to the metadesign one?
Is metadesign really previous to design?
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Carlo Franzato
CONSEQUENCES ON THE CONCEPT OF METADESIGN

Metadesign is not a present and finite process, but a continuous and restless
one.

Metadesign is a speculative and interpretative design process that opens new
opportunities to design with unpredictable consequences.

Metadesign as the first term of the expression design of design could be
interpreted as the projection of design. It does not lie in the same layer of
design and so neither in the same time reference system, even if it is strictly
related to design as its propulsion.
While design is for the future, metadesign is for letting the future design.
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Carlo Franzato
THANK YOU
Prof. Carlo Franzato | cfranzato@unisinos.br
https://unisinos.academia.edu/CarloFranzato
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Carlo_Franzato