Form Follows Idea: An Introduction to Design Poetics


‘Form Follows Idea’ was written at the invitation of the publisher who specializes in books on contemporary art, architecture and design. It consolidates the concepts and rationales, which underpin the work of Professor Maxine Naylor (University of Brighton) and myself. Our text reflects upon our individual, independent design activity and recent design collaborations. We specifically draw attention to the concept of integrity using our own experimental design outputs, which are questioned against three frames of reference. These are (1) axioms and milestones within modernist ideology (2) the nature and performance of materials (3) the application of archaeological metaphor as a device for reinventing contemporary artefacts. Significantly the book formulates and demonstrates, using over 90 of our own sketches, drawings, designs and photographs,(and references to Duchamp, Robert Venturi, SITE) the notion that design itself can be a direct critical medium for cultural reflection without recourse to interpretation by the design critic who ‘writes’ about the artefact. By illustrating 'embedded' visual narrative the book reclaims the role of reflective critic for the artist/designer. The book’s originality is defined in the foreword by Professor Jeremy Myerson, Director Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, Royal College of Art as ‘a manifesto for a “third way” in design, a championing of cultural enquiry within the object, which goes beyond the idea that designers just design and the context of what they create must be defined and directed by others… With 'Form Follows Idea', Ball and Naylor identify themselves as key players in this debate, their experimentation through design making a significant contribution to the research field.

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