Strategies for Social Design

Design Research, 2016


It describes three strategies to concentrate on social and ecological impact. For example, experiments to overcome barriers. It also focuses on finding problems through alternative accesses in design. The process of designing the future should include individual abilities and experiences of all subjects of expertise.
        “Design is invisible,” writes Lucius Burckhardt. “We don’t need new products. We need new structures that change behavior,” claims Dieter Rams. These attitudes are the impetus for our bachelor thesis. It leads away from product or graphic to processes design and design theory.

Breaking barriers will lead to problems even before the solution process begins. This is a decisive step towards a solution and deserves particular attention. It’s done through experiments that provide alternative accesses to design.

The design process is targeting the individual experiences and abilities of the people. Encounters, discourses, and experiments are helping to get social challenges in focus.
        Experiments such as “Handwriting of the City” imply the importance of diversity. The opinions of the population, help to question values and to identify problems together. Furthermore, visitors of the “Museum of the People” become lively exhibits. Experiences get shared—everyone is unique. An empty card offers space for the description of one’s own role, a profession or an alias. Besides the experiments in public space, there is a multifunctional room. It brings together different professional groups, students and persons of all ages and backgrounds. Events are for example furniture construction workshops, lectures, … and cafes. 
        Every place can be occupied by a provocative visual appearance and self-constructed key items. It is possible to sit alone on the “SOCIALORLOST—bench,” but it is more attractive for two or more people. Through small impulses, one’s own behavior has a direct influence on the counterpart. Balance and consideration are prerequisites for harmonious coexistence.

The statement #SOCIALORLOST illustrates communion—not solitude. Questioned are comfort zones, norms, conditions and traditions. By pursuing experimental approaches and re-focusing the social problems of the people.

Thanks to

The collaborator Robin Weidner.

Further thanks to Prof. Dr. Susanne Schade, and Prof. Dr. habil. Georg Kneer at Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd.