Ontological Design: Architectural and Creative Power

Design and other creative output are the brainchildren of our minds. They are born out of our own thinking, being products of our ability to solve design problems, express ourselves, and channel our subconscious and conscious memories into new projects. This appears obvious, however on the other hand:  The ways in which design impacts us are complex, profound and, arguably, subjective.

Jason Silva explores, in his stream of consciousness video below,  Ontological Design: the idea that we are both the designers, and the designed. This means, that what we design, designs us back. He considers the idea of ‘what is without is also within’, something spatial designers like architects, planners and interior designers are strikingly aware of, as a given.

Immediately, what comes to mind are our most prevalent ontological creations, within and without architecture. Human minds designed the smartphone, yet now our personalities, physical qualities and daily habits are being created by the same devices in return.We feel the increasing need to be interconnected at all the time, our shoulders are slouching from the constant position of looking at our screens on our laps, the ability to connect with others around the world at the touch of a screen is becoming a precursor to how our workplaces and businesses are run. Furthermore, on a smaller scale, even the design of the central street of your city impacts who you become. Social meeting spots become the starting place of all adventures, our habits to quickly wander through stores on the way home from work because they are so conveniently placed, or to become addicted to caffeine thanks to cafes on the edge of college are entirely formed by the design around us.

We are physiologically, mentally and habitually designed by that which we create.

This raises brilliant questions of importance to architects and the like: is all design ontological? Are different people more or less affected by their physical surroundings on a personal level? How can we design utilizing the feedback loop between what we design designing us back, to be more effective creators?

Ultimately, what arises is the striking realization of the privilege it is to be an architect or designer: we are given the knowledge and tools to be able to design spaces which will design us back. We are integral to the feedback loop of ontological design. We have the power to design space, and thus have the power to design people.

How will we use this to the benefit of all beings, the planet and our own lives?

 

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