This study aims to define design poetics as a category of design practice set apart from
commercial, industrial or market-led design that generates a collection of experimental
artefacts which investigate the everyday life of contemporary culture.
It is argued that in creating an active interplay between users (human agents) and objects,
poetic design involves a different kind of production (which is not about improving the
functionality of a product) and alternative forms of "consumption" (which is not about a „using
up‟ of objects), by developing new practices of living with things. As such it is suggested that
design poetics depends on the production developed by consumers as a creative users (postproducers),
within unconventional experiential and social scenarios of living.
In changing the bilateral relationship object-user poetic design develops objects from the point
of view of the user – its activities and models of operation and this aspect is related to an
emotional and experiential evaluation. Thus the study proposes a re-evaluation of objects and
users through experiential, narrative and performative criteria in order to understand their
various roles and functions. In proposing these particular points of evaluation, poetic objects
are distinguished as a particular category of objects together with the practices they engender
or support; and within a network of relationships and contexts, as specific sites of interaction.1
In this light, it is shown that poetic design proposes a class of objects that respond to needs
beyond the objects‟ instrumental (functional, practical) power; but to their contribution to life
experience, embodying a variety of processes and manifestations. They translate immaterial
interactions and make these interrelations visible.
A Doctoral thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor in Philosophy of Loughborough University.