Mind & Matter


Disciplinary Convergence

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Ombrae System by QMAAS, demonstrating the transfer of digital to analog pixels. Photo by Rod Quin.


Last week I attended CIDAG, the first International Conference in Design and Graphic Arts, co-hosted by the Higher Institute for Education and Science (ISEC) and the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar (IPT) in Lisbon, Portugal. Notable themes included the role of design in education, environmental approaches to design, and cross-disciplinary trends among various design fields.

Rajendrakumar Anayath (India) discussed his “3-M” theory, outlining the future convergence between manufacturing, medicine, and media enabled by emergent printing technologies. Hugo Ferrao (Portugal) talked about new learning challenges and opportunities posed by cyberculture. Carlo Velozzi (Italy) discussed future sustainable design methodologies that will address product development as well as services and interaction projects—presaging an intensely collaborative and multidisciplinary future working process for designers.

In my talk, entitled “Beyond Flatland: Emergent Materials and the Next Interface,” I described the critical role technology plays in enabling communication, and outlined several ways in which future technologies will transform media and the designed environment. Proxy materials, smart technologies, and materials carrying embedded information are a few examples of these trends.




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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.