What does 'digital design' mean to you?
“Digital design is actually built on a conceptual approach that's probably hundreds of years old and embedded in nature, the nature of design itself and the way it approaches formal problems analytically.” –ANDREW WITT
Are there certain modes of expression involved? Please consider both the back and front end of digital design processes.
“If you don’t admit computational architecture produced a particular series of outlooks, you are either incredibly naïve or cynical. But each of us needs to ask the question from ourselves: do you do what you do because you do it with computers, or you do you use computers, because you need to do certain things? It is still an open question we are figuring out.” –HERNAN DIAZ ALONSO
Is digital design populist or exclusive?
“One thing that’s exciting is that technology is becoming much less expensive and much more available to everyone. The internet provides access to tools, so open source tools are part of the digital vocabulary in which there are lower and lower barriers. Access to tools is becoming more and more universal, so I don’t see it as an elitist platform or approach to design. It’s the opposite ultimately.” –PETER TESTA
To what extent is technical knowledge design knowledge?
“Design knowledge is a specific way of using technology and technology is not the end. It is an enabler. In our work, technology or structure aren’t really foregrounded. They enable other architectural effects we are interested in. There are designers who foreground technical knowledge over design knowledge, and that's very dangerous, because it isn’t driven by ideas that are within the discourse. Then the technology is the end.” –DAVID ERDMAN
Computers are valuable in exploring different spaces of possibilities, but what are the spaces worth exploring?
“Make sure that in your campus you have robots in the street cutting the grass, that you have electric cars and wind turbines. That’s the best way to improve education.” –ENRIC RUIZ-GELI
When was the last time that you were surprised by a computer in a design process? How did it happen?
“Often some of the most surprising and some of the most interesting things happen when you err. The machine doesn't make mistakes but you make mistakes. The surprises and mistakes are extremely important, so you have to develop a skillset for how to transfer those into opportunities to do new things.” –MICHAEL SPEAKS
What do you think are the most urgent ways in which the digital design paradigm affects the industry and the market?
“There is too much different software out there with too much interaction between them. This lack of coherency between software is especially a problem in fabrication and digital design, so we need to develop an optimized workflow of how things work best to make it more efficient.” –STEVEN MA
What kinds of challenges may one encounter in realizing digitally designed products? Please consider aspects from conception to fabrication.
“The most challenging thing for my students or my staff is understanding that it's slower – it's actually not quicker and it requires a lot more experiments in and out of the computer, and a mixture of high tech and low tech, which can be very disappointing to some people. They want it to be kind of one pure answer – setting up the system and not having to touch it anymore. But it just requires a continuous tweaking and pruning.” –DAVID ERDMAN
Who or what is your work in dialogue with? Please consider both historical and future references.
"The sort of coolness and hipness of design has diminished, but you actually begin to make real products. We, for example, just did two full-scale prototypes for prefabricated housing using these same tools, so we are not so much in dialogue as trying to move the discussion forward to make real things that intervene in the marketplace, and also give people opportunities.” –MICHAEL SPEAKS
How do digital design artifacts age? Mention an example of a lifespan, or a process of creation where it's being considered.
“Designers need to be aware that aging is a natural process for all products. Early modern design is identifiable as early modern design, so it's dated in a way. The products of digital design will probably age as digital design evolves. But that shouldn’t keep us from the exuberant possibilities of experimentation. The aspiration of design should be timeless, but we also have to seize the opportunity we have in our age with digital design.”