Moving Objects: A Cultural History of Emotive Design

Moving Objects deals with emotive design: designed objects that demand to be engaged with rather than simply used. If postmodernism depended upon ironic distance, and Critical Design is all about questions, then emotive design runs hotter than this, confronting how designers are using feelings in what they make.

Damon Taylor’s original study considers these emotionally laden, highly authored works, often produced in limited editions and sold like art – objects such as a chair made from cuddly toys, a leather sofa that resembles a cow, and a jewellery box fashioned from human hair.

Tracing the phenomenon back to the ‘Dutch inflection’ that began with Droog designers like Jurgen Bey and Hella Jongerius, Taylor conducts an analysis of the development of Design Art and looks for its origins in the uncanny explorations of surrealism. Offering a critique of Speculative Design, and an examination of the work of designers such as Mathias Bengtsson, whose work involves ‘growing’ furniture inside computers, Taylor asks what happens when the tangible melts into the datascape and design becomes a question of mobilities. In this way, Moving Objects examines contemporary issues of how we live with artefacts and what design can do.

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