Design and Possibility

Mads Nygaard Folkmann


A central element in design is the search for the new and not-yet-existing. Thus, design is a matter of the possible, of which kind of products and meanings can be made possible through design. The article attempts to propose a way of theorizing the field of the possible in design. The ability to deal with, mediate and evoke new possibilities and thereby creatively explore new territories of use, meaning and impact is seen as a defining factor of design. Using a phenomenological framework and stating the imagination as a central concept, the article aims at pointing in new directions for conceptualizing the possible in design. The article differentiates between two different models of possibility in design, 1) the dimension of possibility in the design process, that is, before the finalized design, and 2) the generation of possibilities through the design object. The contribution of the article to design research lies in asking fundamental questions of how design, epistemologically and ontologically, operates through the possible.


Possibility; Imagination

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