Regarding Design as a Constituting Practice Matters

Bo Westerlund


This article explores the use of the two concepts representing and constituting in relation to design practice. Representing and representation are often used to describe the relation a model or prototype has to the end result. In this exploratory article we intend to investigate what impact a change from represent to constitute could have. One inspiration is the writing of John Stewart on the post-semiotic approach to communication. The examples used in the article are from practice rooted both in traditional industrial design as well as co-design. This article argues the importance to see design work as a constituting practice rather than a representative one. Both the fact that the future does not yet exist and therefore is difficult to represent but also the strong argument that knowledge is created in dialogue and constituted in action, support this standpoint. First when we stop interpreting design matter as representations, design can matter to the world.


design, concepts, design process, prototyping

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