Monthly Archives: January 2016


The constructed space is open in all directions.
Architecture begins before architecture.

Heinz Tesar (1939- , *), Notate

Our first day, the instructor will discuss the overall shape of the class, and introduce the first readings —

  • Vilém Flusser’s essay “On the word design,” in his The Shape of Things : A Philosophy of Design (1999)
  • the OED definitions of the word “design” (noun)
  • the first (introductory) chapter of Karl T. Ulrich’s Design : Creation of Artifacts in Society (2011).
  • Norman Potter, “Is the Designer an Artist?” (1969) in Alex Coles, ed., Design (Documents of Contemporary Art, 2007): 29-33

Our first exercise will be to select a designed object, research it — its intended purpose, its function (what it does), dimensions, material qualities, and perhaps precursors, patents, designer, uses, misuses, where found, its current condition (and what that might suggest about its use, value), etc., etc. — and then develop a way to present this information. In recent years, we have used The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design as our model; this time, the design will be up to you. We will look at some examples (Jenny Odell her Bureau of Suspended Objects, Phaidon Archive), but these are not intended to limit you.

Bring in the item, and what you’ve learned about it and its being situated in the world, on Monday 23 January.

Also, write — and bring in (or post to this blog) — a one-page response to at least one of the readings.

We may use the third floor walls for this first exercise (16 January through 7 February), or the second floor walls (for this or other work) during the period 8-21 February.