DESIGNING COMPONENTS and SYSTEMS

DESIGNING COMPONENTS and SYSTEMS

Post 415 ⇒   by Gautam Shah 

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When a designer conceives an object, it is either as a whole, or as a composition of parts that form the whole. A composition of parts has an inherent but distinct order of coordination within it, whereas objects conceived as a whole may not project such an order.

movement forged in situ in 1530 by Kaspar Brunner, “cannon ball” pendulum bob on the left.

Parts of an object, even before being manufactured, and before physically placed together, have some degree of coordination. The process of coordination starts within the thought processes of a designer along with the concept of the object.

In a continuum, designers consciously (intellectually) or subconsciously (intuitively) identify elements relevant for known situations; or inversely identify situations where known elements can be fitted. Elements and situations are mutually relevant to designers. Most universal context, for both, the element and the situation, to be relevant is the user.

Parts, components and assembly lines Lockheed

In a design process, the components, the situation, or the orders of context are initially not obvious, logical or easily identifiable. The design process for a creative lay person and a trained person or the designer is very different. A creative lay person simply goes on creating (assembling, modifying) things without being aware why certain things exist in a certain manner. For a creative person the end is important, means are irrelevant. A trained person or a designer, on the other hand, tries to discover the logic behind it. Selection of an element may be intuitive initially, but there is always a later effort to justify the actions intellectually.

Parts of a Rubik cube

A designer justifies all the actions like selection, rejection, inclusion or composition of various elements. In doing so the designer refines the intellectual prowess by equipping with an experience that is:

  1. definable
  2. repeatable or recreate-able as a whole or in selective parts
  3. recordable -its perceptive aspects
  4. transferable to another person
  5. increase or decrease its intensity (time scale) and diffuse or intensify its concentration (space scale).

Parts of a system

For a designer, knowing means to achieve a specific end are very important. Proper record keeping of all design decision processes helps here. It is very difficult to register dreams, intuitions or inspirations. One needs to recall them in a different time and space context. All intuitions or inspirations however absurd, have some physical context of origin. Designers unlike a lay crafts-person or artist, are trained and disciplined, so record their design related thought processes. Thought processes thin out or obliterate completely with passage of time, so must be recorded as early as possible. Documentation of every aspect of design process is very necessary. Such expertise helps a designer to handle extensive or more complex intuitions or inspirations.

Pre-fab house

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