This essay seeks to bring into focus the historical roots of Systemic Design, a design practice which borrows the metabolic dynamics of the natural world and grafts them into the industrial one with an attention to the material and energy flows in order to eliminate production waste. This contribution therefore investigates the relationship that has historically existed between systems thinking and design culture in a non-reductionist dimension; in other words, within an epistemological reflection on the real world and its structure, or “the scaffolding of the world”, as Tomàs Maldonado put it (Maldonado,1987, 7). The split that occurred at the beginning of the 20th century between, on the one hand, reductionist epistemology — orientated towards the fragmentation of knowledge and the unconditional use of the Cartesian matrix of analytical paradigm — and, on the other, systemic thinking — holistic and connected to organicism, with a focus on ongoing phenomena (processes) and the context in which such events occur — resulted in a profound change in our perception of natural phenomena and the relationship between environmental surroundings and individual and social spheres. Indeed, an epochal leap occurred in the history of science at the beginning of the 20th century which translated into the definition of a new investigation method for understanding living systems. Living organisms, as Fritjof Capra wrote, “do not perceive things in terms of isolated elements but as integrated structures (patterns), organised wholes endowed with meaning, with qualities that are absent in their parts” (Capra, 2005, 43). Psychologists of form (Gestalt), in particular, refuse to break down experience, a cornerstone of their philosophy, into its basic components. They proclaim the supremacy of global structure over individual parts in a model which may be summarised in a phrase coined by the Austrian philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Systemic Design: A Historical Perspective / Peruccio, Pier Paolo. - STAMPA. - (2017), pp. 68-74.

Systemic Design: A Historical Perspective

Peruccio, Pier Paolo
2017

Abstract

This essay seeks to bring into focus the historical roots of Systemic Design, a design practice which borrows the metabolic dynamics of the natural world and grafts them into the industrial one with an attention to the material and energy flows in order to eliminate production waste. This contribution therefore investigates the relationship that has historically existed between systems thinking and design culture in a non-reductionist dimension; in other words, within an epistemological reflection on the real world and its structure, or “the scaffolding of the world”, as Tomàs Maldonado put it (Maldonado,1987, 7). The split that occurred at the beginning of the 20th century between, on the one hand, reductionist epistemology — orientated towards the fragmentation of knowledge and the unconditional use of the Cartesian matrix of analytical paradigm — and, on the other, systemic thinking — holistic and connected to organicism, with a focus on ongoing phenomena (processes) and the context in which such events occur — resulted in a profound change in our perception of natural phenomena and the relationship between environmental surroundings and individual and social spheres. Indeed, an epochal leap occurred in the history of science at the beginning of the 20th century which translated into the definition of a new investigation method for understanding living systems. Living organisms, as Fritjof Capra wrote, “do not perceive things in terms of isolated elements but as integrated structures (patterns), organised wholes endowed with meaning, with qualities that are absent in their parts” (Capra, 2005, 43). Psychologists of form (Gestalt), in particular, refuse to break down experience, a cornerstone of their philosophy, into its basic components. They proclaim the supremacy of global structure over individual parts in a model which may be summarised in a phrase coined by the Austrian philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
978-88-422-2444-0
SYSTEMIC DESIGN METHOD GUIDE FOR POLICYMAKING: A CIRCULAR EUROPE ON THE WAY
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11583/2692586
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