In the world of ideas, perceptions, sensations, values and decisions, I have found it more creative to think about how things change, rather than what they are. I approached Five Essays on Design as a pattern of five elements which like the Chinese Book of Changes implies a focus on tendencies instead of things.
Since object design is conventionally thought about in terms of things I have found this booklet useful to actively workshop ideas about creative practice itself. I use it in this way, to see what it makes people think about, rather than as something to read cover to cover.
Based on the Chinese Five Colour System used in traditional architecture there developed from this an elaborate taxonomy of relationships that can extend the vocabulary of awareness.
Asking “when does winter turn into spring?” turns out to be the wrong type of question. The relationship between winter and spring is a far richer and evocative train of thought. (Evocative in this sense meaning that it engages with our embodied cognition rather than with intellect in the abstract).
These five short essays are relevant to a philosophy of design, to material culture and to issues of creativity, knowledge and experience. Essays include, Creativity and Paradox, Technology Craft and the Transformation of Skill, The Designed Object; an Ecological and Ergonomic Matrix (based upon a chair design example), The Material Connection and What Aesthetic References Do, and Self Imposed Cognitive Reality.