There are many ways to understand design and its ethical dimension, that Bruno Latour links to the ability to distinguish between good and bad design, compels us to constantly question not just what we design but the way we design.
This space gathers and organizes some ideas about design which are occasionally materialized in the form of lights, furniture, and other objects by the Catalan Industrial Designer, Research Master's Degree in Art and Design, Jordi Blasi.
Humans are part of a network of relationships where conventions, norms and rituals are formed, maintained and modified, articulating spaces and material objects. Matter becomes an indispensable mediator of complex social relationships in which objects act as agents with their own trajectories, inclinations, and tendencies. Design, by influencing how we interact with objects, questioning and challenging traditional ways of doing things, has the capacity to condition this conglomerate of relationships.
When we interact with the world, we find things. Things we grasp mentally, simply know, or empathize with. Martin Heidegger considers that this relationship is based on utility: objects are there to serve us. However, Sara Ahmed argues that the relationships people establish with objects are founded on empathy.
In the Object Oriented Ontology, Graham Harman considers that everything exists on the same plane. We all exist on the same ontological level, nothing or no one is more important than another subject or object. This line rejects the privilege of human existence over the existence of non-human objects, and asserts that objects exist independently of the perception we have of them, questioning the relationship that each entity maintains with itself based on universally shared elements that constitute its identity.
As designers, our mission is to design objects that help people in their daily lives, creating understandable products that engage with users: establishing emotional connections predisposes them to last.
Useful and beautiful objects designed in an ethical sense, following Plato’s view; regarding the enthusiasm generated by the possibility to build a better reality, as Peter Sloterdijk suggests; or as a sensory experience and aesthetic pleasure, the way Graham Harman interprets the idea of beauty.
In the book News from Nowhere, William Morris outlines a future where the world appears to us as more equal, without classes, money, or competitive trade, where craftsmanship prevails over machines, and people live happily by producing only what they truly need. Morris's utopian vision underestimates the potential of industry to make objects more accessible, manufacturing them more efficiently.
However, he anticipates the collapse in which today we see the material conditions of our own existence endangered by the ecological threat of climate change. A new reality that compels us as designers to stop legitimizing power and become aware of our vulnerability.