THE 7TH RANGSIT UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL DESIGN SYMPOSIUM; Work In Progress,
'AUTONOMOUS DESIGN'


Executive Committee

Associate Professor Dr. Tan Jeanne
Institute of Textiles & Clothing, The Hongkong Polytechnic University, Hongkong.

Franyo Aatoth
Artist creator of exceptional graphic works. France.

Geri Forkner,
Textile Artist, USA.

Sridhar Ryalie,
Design Researcher, India.

David Luscombe
Artist, British


Professor Vichoke Mukdamanee,
National Artist.

Associate Professor Kamol Phaosavasdi,
Chulalongkorn University.

Associate Professor Sone Simatrang,
Silpakorn University.

Associate Professor Pisprapai Sarasalin,
Dean of College of Design

Somchai Jongsaeng,
Silpathon Award in Design.

Jitsing Somboon,
Head of Designer, Greyhound.

Abstract

(by Rewat Chumnarn)

     Creativity, amongst other things, is considered to be a condition of thought generated from the unconscious mind. With two sides of the brain working together harmoniously, creativity stems from solving the problems, questions and conflicts that we face on a day-to-day basis. However, to hone these unconscious thoughts to create something new that creates happiness and ease, it would require certain problem-solving skills and a process of thinking to create a logical hypothesis, which in the end will lead to precise outcomes with the least amount of errors possible.

     Creative thinking is a higher form of thinking which can affect how humans view the world. This type of thinking allows people to become critical thinkers – analyzing situations in philosophical and balanced ways. Creative thinking does not have any direct impact on human beings’ stress nor anxiety nor any impact on the natural world. Thinking behavior can illustrate a person’s identity, as well as how certain things came to be made . An appropriate thinking process would not only bring a balanced self-awareness and a demonstration of intelligence, it also brings the ability to deal with change in terms of perspective in how to live a balanced quality of life.

     “ … Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognises before it can speak. But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” (John Berger, ‘Ways of Seeing’, 2008)

An essay written by John Berger expresses the way we see things are affected by what we know or what we believe.

     “ … Good language, alone will not save mankind. But seeing the things behind the names will help us to understand the structure of the world we live in. Good language will help us to communicate with one another about the realities of our environment, where we now speak darkly, in alien tongues,” (Start Chase, The Tyranny of Words) said Berger -- expressed for readers to better understand the meaning of a living language.

     Architectural works, interior design, product design and everything in the realm of multimedia design which surrounds us daily has the function to communicate specific content, its importance, as well as allowing the global economy to move in a much more interesting and positive direction. All of these designs are part of ‘material culture’, which are the physical objects, resources and spaces that people use to define their culture -- informing us about the humanity and developments within each era.

     Talking about objects of design, they result from the process of creative thinking from designers -- considered to be problem solvers of the modern world. They would research relevant materials, analyze materials, set an hypothesis, construct a prototype, write down a conclusion, and develop the results from the conclusion to create a balanced and finished product which was built for the ease and efficiency of us human beings.

     For example, there is one interesting creation from the creative thinking Freitag brothers -- Markus and Daniel Freitag  -- the leaders of using a ‘holistic mindset’. Their Freitag bags and clothing brand F-ABRIC started through the process of ‘design thinking’. Using it as a ‘tool’ and ‘process’, they used ‘contemporary creative thinking’ in order to efficiently solve different problems. Praised by many legendary philosophers in the 1980s’ it was developed to be used in many different industries of the present.

     Thus, in terms of the art and design industry, Design Thinking is a higher level of knowledge developed and passed on from legendary designers and philosophers through the years. It has been used in other areas such from politics, to religion, to science, and even to business management -- only if they haven’t specified that they’ve used a linear creative method similar to those seen in timelines explaining history.

     From design thinking, the product communicates with the ‘user’ which then goes into the step of ‘service design’ --  a new concept that was recently developed in this millennium. This came out from the merging of ‘participatory design’ + ‘user-centered design’, meaning that they linked the user to the process of creating their products, environment, experience, and interaction in order for everything to come into place.  

     The thought process of the two brothers were considered to be an important step for the brand to reach their success today. Both of them used ‘service design’ in addition to ‘holistic mindset’ to be the heart of creating their special bags and clothing collections. They also use it for other strategies like in their marketing, public relations, and to comply and respond to society as much as the two and their team members can see fit.

     Holistic design, which the two have written in detail, has 29 points for easy understanding. All the points cover the biggest creative design process cycle that we have ever seen. The brand’s products have now become media cultures, and reflects both their philosophies, being:

“We believe in the next life of things. That’s why we think and act in cycles and cycle.”

Furthermore, there is an important aspect of the two’s thinking process as seen in an essay written by Lars Müller:

     “At Freitag, product development is matter of design. Besides optimal project management, it is necessary to figure out the right balance between commercial and creative interests. Daniel and Markus Freitag expedite and support all processes. After a formal briefing, mood boards sketches, and prototypes made of truck tarps are developed them. Only the products that fulfilled all necessary requirements enter production. Yet not every idea can be manufactured in large numbers. That means that even after actually make it to the stores. Designers are also responsible for tending to the product palette, because the selection needs to be updated, without growing out of control. Product categories and lines should be distinct and continue to develop.” (Lars Müller, ’Conversation with Daniel and Markus Freitag’,‘Freitag; Out of the Bag’, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, 2012)

     This is also related to another aspect that Daniel Freitag expressed in order to understand the main idea and theory of Holistic Design:

     “You need plenty of imagination [in holistic design]. It’s about having the ability to imagine something that will exit in the future as an object in its entirety, in detail and imagine things — and then somehow make something. Regardless of whether it’s a sketch, a conversation, or something very elaborate — it doesn’t matter. Somehow you just have to see something that doesn’t exit yet. If you have a counterpart you sometimes doubt your powers of imagination.” (Lars Müller and Renate Menzi, ‘Conversation with Daniel and Markus Freitag’,‘Freitag; Out of the Bag’, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, 2012)

     Designing holistically is the important foundation to every ethical designer. How much taste, importance, and overall happiness the user feels all depends on the interesting and creative thinking process of the designers.

     ‘Autonomous Design’, the name of this international design symposium, was established in order to be another international stage to bring together designers from all over the world to connect and exchange ideas. It is a stage for presenting key ideas and talents through different channels like exhibitions about holistic design and innovative design. The exhibitions will parallel with presentations from two keynote speakers William Lim and Kevin Ang, who will talk about their amazing products which they have designed -- creating convenience and happiness for users through their innovative and smart design process.