Towards a Non-parochial, Non-partisan Framework for the Study of Design History

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This paper articulates, a non-parochial, non-partisan, framework for study of design history that is generalised enough to incorporate the approaches and contribution, of all cultures, in all periods of time, and all geographical settings. The framework can embody all types of man made products. This is achieved firstly by looking at the development of design as epistimic activity. In the epistimic approach, both design and thinking is seen as a relational activity and the nature of relationship in the thinking style determining the nature of design development. Development of metaphoric thinking, rational thinking, empiricism, and system thinking; are shown as determining the nature of design development. Secondly we look at design development being facilitated by developments energy, materials, structures, machines, control systems, and systems. One such layer of creates the foundation for the development another layer of design development. Thirdly we take up the meta-theoretical approach of man’s worldview. In this, design contributions are mapped in hedonistic – ascetic continuum on one axis and technological – emotional continuum as the other axis. Such a classification is shown to be able to incorporate the diversity of human creativity from all cultures.


Keywords: Mapping Diversity, Design History, Cascadian Growth, Design Thinking
Stream: Nations, Nationalism, Communities
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Towards a Non-parochial, Non-partisan Framework for the Study of Design History


Dr. Lalit Kumar Das

Head, Instrument Design & Development Centre
Industrial Design Programme, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

New Delhi, Delhi, India

Lalit Kumar Das pioneered Industrial Design education at IIT Delhi. He has developed a programme that is an excellent blend of design sensitivities and industrial propensities. He graduated in Civil Engineering from IIT Kanpur. Thereafter he did his Masters of Technology in Design Engineering from IIT Delhi and then Master of Art in Industrial Design from the Royal College of Art, London. He has a variety of interests in design and man’s innate potential to design. He has worked with artisans and has conceptualized distant education for artisans under the banner of IGNOU. He is deeply interested in
sustainable approach to design and a non parochial non partisan framework for study of design. He has many publications to his credit. He has been engaging in the development of the recently announced National Design Policy.

Ref: D08P0469