15:00 - 16:40
Session: S10
[Group Experiences] + Design
Embrace the change: Framing Demonstrators as an Alternative to the Mass Production Norm in Industrial Design Education
Demonstrator; Mass Production; Design Mode; Boundary Objects; Framework

It is believed that industrial design was born in a big industrial bang as a tool sharpened for mass production. As an alternative to craft, industrial design practices were aimed at utter generalization and efficiency to minimize the price of a single piece. But over time, technological progress and changes in mindset made this approach obsolete. Despite the growing awareness that there is a need for a new design mode, only alternatives can be found in bespoke professional equipment and prototyping areas. Meanwhile, an emerging topic called ‘demonstrators’ appears in the field of design. This paper explores this area through several examples and argues that demonstrators can be framed as a design mode that design education should refer to, due to their advantages over mass production. Demonstrators grasp the current technological state and represent it as a single-piece object, not only enhancing manifestation of new ideas and bringing stakeholders together but also enhancing portfolio for industry. Four inherent characteristics of demonstrators are presented, namely: 1) they convey a message; 2) they are designed for exposure; 3)they reflect the present and 4) they are finished products. Together they establish a fluid definition the notion of demonstrator and set directions for further research. First steps towards analysis of the possible solution space of demonstrators highlight three defining axes: form, context and time.