A method of interpreting Chinese traditional everyday artefacts in the context of sustainable product design

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A method of interpreting Chinese traditional everyday artefacts in the context of sustainable product design


Author: Zheng, Yawei
Title: A method of interpreting Chinese traditional everyday artefacts in the context of sustainable product design
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2014
Subject: Product design.
Industrial design.
Art, Chinese.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Design
Pages: xxii, 326 pages : illustrations ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2762958
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7757
Abstract: Many scholars and design professionals have advocated for the significance and value of reapplying traditional design wisdom to solve contemporary design problems. This research attempts to realize this approach toward design innovation by investigating and describing the general process of how to derive design insights from traditional design wisdom and apply them for contemporary design purposes. This research takes a methodological approach toward investigating and describing the process of interpreting design insights from Chinese Traditional Everyday Artefacts (CTEAs) for the particular design context of sustainable product design (SPD). The research tries to build a descriptive theoretical model with specific cognitive techniques to guide this interpretative process. By its nature as descriptive research, the research applies a qualitative inquiry paradigm to conduct both theoretical and empirical investigations. Modified analytic induction is used as the primary inquiry method to develop a loop of empirical experiments and theoretical modification is used as the basic unit of the research tasks. Empirical experiments are field studies of CTEAs in different Chinese regions and six design workshops conducted in different Chinese design schools and participated in by 119 design students and professionals. These workshops were designed to test different phases and situations of the interpretative process. Theoretical investigation was carried out by seeking theoretical explanations and solutions for understanding and describing emerged patterns and concepts of the interpretive process from the empirical experiments. Related theoretical concepts and explanations from design methodology and cognitive psychology have been studied and organized to form the theoretical framework. The framework represents a general structure of insight interpretation in the design process.
To support in-workshop interpretation of CTEAs tasks toward the goal of generating SPD concepts and solutions, a temporary framework of SPD criteria has been built by structuring selected existing strategic principles and solutions from four evaluation perspectives: human, social, natural environment, and product. The research finally achieved its objective of building a theoretical model of a design method of interpreting CTEAs for SPD. The model can be represented in two forms: 1) a full process map of interpreting CTEAs for SPD; 2) the abstracted paradigm of ICTEA-SPD (I-SPD) method. The full process map is developed to explore the greatest potential of single SPD insights abstracted from the design of a CTEA. It is a combination of three sequential phases of selecting and investigating CTEAs, abstracting SPD insights, and interpreting insights and evaluating design concepts. To assist the application of this interpretative process, 13 cognitive techniques have also been developed to reduce the difficulty and ambiguity of specific tasks coinciding with the process. The abstracted method paradigm represents how the method can be applied to different research and design needs. Besides the realization of a particular approach for SPD innovation, the research findings have both theoretical and empirical applications. The research identifies a new methodological approach to design as interpreting insights and also provides substantial knowledge of interpretive thinking that can be involved in the general design process. For empirical application, the provided process and cognitive techniques have been applied in workshops for research and educational functions. They can also be used by professional designers to meet their particular requirements.

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