Design and Geographically Liberated Difference

By Ashley Hall and Tom Barker.

Published by The Design Collection

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

The concept of geographically liberated difference has emerged from the overlap of cultural studies and economics as a critique of the effects of globalisation on cultures through the manufacturing and distribution of artefacts with unique differences across diverse territories. Although this concept is known in the domains of cultural studies and economics, very little has been written on its effect and understanding within design, especially industrial design. Industrial design has vast influence on the production and distribution of products across the globe from small scale to mass production of millions of units. The mechanisms by which design influences the evolution of cultures through the concept of geographically liberated difference are important for future development. Research by the authors indicates parallel streams of both digital and analogue methods supporting successful models of geographically liberated difference in design practice. Examples of these approaches are discussed to uncover the operable mechanisms and arguments concerning the future value and influence of this feature of globalisation.

Keywords: Design, Geographically Liberated Difference, Globalisation, Industrial Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.507-516. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.002MB).

Ashley Hall

Deputy Head of Department, Innovation Design Engineering, Royal College of Art, London, UK

Born in Cardiff, Wales in 1967, Ashley is a designer and deputy head of the department of Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art. He studied furniture design at Nottingham Trent University and the RCA, receiving his MA in 1992. After graduating he worked as a furniture, product, lighting & interior designer for a variety of design consultancies and manufacturers. In 1994 Ashley established his own company which was followed by the formation of Diplomat with Matthew Kavanagh in 1999. Clients include some of the top furniture brands: ArrMet, Artifort. Covo, Edra, Origlia, Saporiti Italia, RSVP, Sauder, Sintesi, Supporto and Zeritalia. Current work includes product ranges for mass production and an experimental line of furniture using new materials and technologies. Ashley’s academic appointments have included his roles as module leader in innovation strategy and innovative materials at the University of East London, lectureships at the University of Salford, Ravensbourne and Grays School of Art in Scotland. He has also lectured internationally in China, Japan, Thailand, Norway and Ghana. He has run department consultancy projects, summer schools and student modules with Unilever, P&G, O2 mobile, Hutchison Whampoa, Ford and Sharp.

Prof. Tom Barker

Professor, Faculty of Design Architecture & Building, University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Tom’s interests revolve around collaborative multidisciplinary practice in architecture and design. His expertise includes: materials and technology, sustainable design and creative industry policy. He has taught extensively in these areas in a number of countries, as well as advised government and non-government agencies on art, design, sustainability and creative industries. From 2009, professor at the University of Technology in Sydney leading the UrbanAid research group. From 2005-2009, while professor at the Royal College of Art in London, set up the GoGlobal collaborative international project research - running projects in China, Thailand, Japan and Ghana. He has Masters degrees in both industrial design engineering and architectural urban design, and a Batchelors in engineering. He collaborated with many professions and undertaken numerous creative projects in his own right over the last 20 years, including: the London Eye ferris wheel, the sustainable Greenwich Millennium Village, and a Turner Prize shortlised interactive artwork with Langlands and Bell.


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