Smart Textiles Design Lab Blog at The Swedish School of Textiles

Anne Britt Torkildsby presents her licentiate thesis

Anne Britt Torkildsby presents her licentiate thesis Existential design – the “dark side” of design thinking 25 May, 1 pm, T473, The Swedish School of Textiles, Borås.

Discussion leader is Eva Brandt, Associate Professor, Ph.D.Center for Design Research, Danmarks Designskole.


Who is better to sum up the project than the people I have met on my way? Although, or I ought to say just because, there have been a lot of Whos, Whats, Whens, Whys and Hows on the journey so far – there have, accordingly, been Okays, A-has, Wells, Buts and Hmms as well. Added up all together, they have contributed to forming the existential designial analysis, and so made it possible for students to take a walk on the “dark side” of design thinking so to speak. However, if I myself were to give a short answer to these questions, I would say that the Who = designers (both students and practitioners), the What = the existential designial analysis; the critical method; the design manual, the When = as means for opening up the design brief, i.e. the initial stage of the development process, the Why = with the purpose of bringing to the surface and illuminate what designers seems to forget otherwise, and lastly the How = by generating critical design examples – thus offer criticism or comments on extreme environments such as intensive care unit and remand prison while also exploring the boundaries of design objects per see. In order to develop the What a bit more, I can add that the first part of the licentiate thesis, that is the design manual, sets out to present an alternative way of thinking about design: a method of designing with focus on ‘designials’ (fundamental forms of design being) – which in turn aims to illustrate that design objects may directly impinge upon certain ‘existentials’ (fundamental forms of human being), and, more importantly, make clear what complications can occur if such a method is ignored. To facilitate employment of this way of thinking, the existential designial analysis is developed into a critical method, which furthermore is defined, described and exemplified in the design manual (as well as two short films). As for the second part, i.e. the dialogue, it is discussing and exploring the concept as a whole from three perspectives (A = the design researcher, B = the industrial designer and T = the textile designer) – with the intention of putting the “dark side” of design thinking in a larger context design-wise, and hopefully get more people (also outside the research community) to identify with it, hence give it a try. Well, bon voyage good people, see you at the “dark side” of design thinking!


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