VISCERAL / VIRTUAL: USING DIGITAL MATERIALS IN INTERIOR DESIGN PEDAGOGY
Louisiana Tech University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:General interior design education reconciles two distinct influences on overall pedagogy. The first is its traditional foundation of knowledge rooted in EXPERIENCE: a direct understanding and affinity for sound, light, color, pattern, and texture. The second is a preoccupation with the OBJECT: a concern for the primacy of form and shape as elements of design. While both have been based in “hands-on” understanding for much of history, the increasing role of digital/virtual techniques in design education has intensified their differences. This tension can manifest in interior design students as a disdain for the digital as “unreal,” and may contribute to an observable lag in the use of digital technologies in the education realm.
This paper attempts to ease the tension by exposing underlying learning desires, and proposes a beginning digital design pedagogy which bridges the gap between traditional analog methods rooted in experience and contemporary digital methods rooted in digital object visualization. This bridge is facilitated by the use of digital fabrication technologies which translate the virtual into the tactile, the digital into the analog, the abstract into the concrete. These strategies center on fabrication, alteration, and patterning which create a new set of analog materials and elements with digital origins. These visceral items of the hand establish experience and sensory interaction as primary means of evaluation, and allow for the learning of software rooted in haptic, as opposed to virtual, goals. Strategies include:
Digital Wallpaper – where sensory phrases and images are translated into two-dimensional pattern information.
Digital Surface – where various surfaces and finishes of haptic immediacy are produced from exploration of the same pattern under different hardware, software, and material conditions. Alterations focus on adjusting the opacity of planar materials; opaque materials are resurfaced and/or penetrated, and transparent materials obscured Fabricated surfaces may be directly tested for texture, light, and vision-altering properties.
Digital Unit - where students digitally craft 3-dimensional formal units (bricks, tiles, etc.) from aspects of the patterns, which can be multiplied, combined, and explored in new surfaces and forms.
Digital Form - where students digitally craft fully 3-dimensional forms as vessels for contained space. Virtual surfaces and objects are developed, manipulated, scaled, combined, and transformed in myriad ways. They are then rapidly prototyped using a 3-D printer or laser. Functional considerations are suspended in favor of phenomenological discussions and evaluation after prototype fabrication, where their responses to light, movement, and perspective can be directly experienced.
By moving the initial emphasis off of virtual objects created digitally onto real materials altered digitally, the haptic inclinations of the interior designer are harnessed to aid in digital understanding. Strategies facilitate an evolution from 2-D texture to 3-D form, in concepts that activate underlying learning desires. Experience of these surfaces and forms places abstruse digital processes into direct comparison with more familiar notions of materiality, eliciting a desire for more immersive digital spatial exploration.
Keywords: innovation, pedagogy.