Context, Continuity and Texture in the Designed Environment: Bridging Psychoanalysis and Design

By Lisa DeBenedittis.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Understanding how we derive meaning from the designed environment has been an occasional object of study for theorists in both the fields of design and psychoanalysis. However, there has been scant discussion between these fields, namely in applying psychoanalytic understanding to design practice. The aim of this paper is to address that transdisciplinary gap by extending an aspect of psychoanalytic theory toward making sense of the designed environment. In particular, this paper builds on the work of psychoanalyst and theorist Thomas Ogden, with respect to internal object relations. This model isolates the three features of context, continuity and texture, for the importance that they suggest in the interior life of the individual. It holds significant relevance for designers and design theorists, as well as for psychoanalysts seeking to understand our attraction to and compelling relationship with design in everyday life.

Keywords: Designed Environment, Object Relations, Texture, Anxiety, Psychoanalysis, Skin, Orientation, Context, Continuity

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.15-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.116MB).

Dr. Lisa DeBenedittis

Associate Dean, Curriculum and Instruction, Deans Office, Parsons The New School for Design, New York, USA

Lisa DeBenedittis is an Assistant Professor of Design Research and is doing post-doctoral training as a psychoanalytic candidate. Her research interests are in the bridging of the two fields: namely, exploring the ways in which one’s experiences in the designed environment can be understood from a psychoanalytic perspective.

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