There has been a loss of enchantment for industrial design practice
in the latter half of the twentieth century. According to Alexander
(1964), Krippendorff and Butter (1984), and Norman (1988), a flourishing
philosophical practice of industrial design, became submerged beneath
an increasingly instrumentalised and commercial practice which came to
be known as product design, and which operated as a form of celebrity
practice coupled to scientific methodologies.
‘Enchantment’ has a variety of related meanings to do with charm and
delight (to be explored) but is used here in Kipperman’s sense to
signify a strengthening of the imagination, and a state in which we are
invited to reflect on the moral and imaginative stance we take towards
our world, its sustenance and its reinvention (Kipperman 1986). Some
steps have already been made in this direction within industrial design.
Forest and Faucheux (2009) criticize industrial design’s subservience
to instrumental thinking and implore designers ‘to explore new
cartographies of knowledge’ and to embark upon ‘creative collisions’.
The designs of Sottsass, Burney argues, are ‘philosophical statements
or notes… [whose] importance lies in their ability to communicate
rather than their success as products’ (1991). This research aims to
clarify the relation between enchantment and industrial design, and to
use this theory, alongside conversations with industrial designers, to
produce a body of industrial design practice that shows how enchantment
can be restored to the field.