The Use of Art Practice within Formal Design Structures: A Case Study and Framework

By Jamie Wallace.

Published by The Design Collection

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

The purpose of this paper is to consider the integration of two distinct practices, that of art making and that of design. The intention is to offer a case for adopting art practice within design structures as a means of searching for new opportunity and novelty, free from the local constraints of design methodology and ‘problem-solving’ led inquiry. The paper centres upon an introspective reflexive account of artistic 'free drawing' techniques integrated within a case of engineering design, supported by an animated sequence of the working process. There then follows a conceptual exploration of the distinction between the 'material thinking' of art practice on the one hand and design orientated problem solving on the other. A framework is developed for re-contextualising art practice as a vehicle for alternative inquiry within the rational dominated design process structure. The distinction between science and design is touched upon with material thinking located in the dialectic between the two. This paper consists of a proposition to integrate alternative forms of practice and inquiry in order to think differently. Particularly for rational design structures to be able to embrace the unique subjective approaches afforded by material thinking and fine art practice to widen the understanding of problem-solving within the design space. The paper demonstrates the case for further exploration into cross disciplined design practice and understanding in order to widen the scope of what ‘design is’ or ‘can be’ in the quest for new opportunities, knowledge discovery and innovation.

Keywords: Art Practice, Design Research, Design Engineering, Material Thinking, Free Drawing, Creativity, Design Novelty, Art Making, Problem Solving, Prototyping Research, Cross Disciplined Design Methodologies

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.67-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.066MB).

Jamie Wallace

Industrial PhD Student, Learning Lab Denmark, Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus, Copenhagen, Denmark

Jamie Wallace, Learning Lab Denmark, Aarhus University, Denmark. Born in the UK, Jamie Wallace originally studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Surrey. Following this he turned to the Fine Arts and studied Art and Design at the University of Sunderland and then achieved a MA in Fine Art from the Norwich School of Art in 1996. In 2007 he began an industrial programme of doctoral research into the use of art practice within organisational design at Learning Lab Denmark & CPH Design in Copenhagen. As well as being a professional practicing artist Jamie Wallace has over twenty years experience within industrial design in a range of areas which include the Mining & Airline Industries. He lives in Denmark and the south of Sweden where, together with his research, continues to make and exhibit his art works.


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