Week 5 – Two Document Comparison

Culture-Based Knowledge Towards New Design Thinking and Practice

Written as a dialogue between Hazel Clark and Benny Ding Long, this article explores the ‘East-West’ approach to design. The ‘East-West’ is an alternative approach to the ‘homogenous western design’.

This approach uses traditional Chinese culture as the premise for design. It was developed by Long during his time of study, where he realised the belief that ‘Western design thinking should be revised and reoriented and recognised that traditional Chinese creative thinking could be and alternative.

Through further research into traditional Chinese culture design’s value system, Long identified the key components which ‘underpin a theory of design’:

  • Cutural cognition
  • Strategic integration
  • Value orientation

With value orientation comprising of the concepts:

  • Life-Centering
  • Totality
  • Reflectivity
  • Unification

During Long’s study of the ‘inner’ levels of ancient Chinese culture, he draws on Buddhism which proposes that there are three ‘cognitive capabilities for the perception of the world’:

  • Sensation
  • Intuition
  • Intellect

Long ‘uncover[s]’ the three ‘fundamental streams of cognition’, which describe three different strategies to approach design problems:

  • Transcendent
  • Harmonious
  • Progressive


Design, Development, Culture and Cultural Legacies in Asia

The article examines the definition of design in Asia as it has evolved.

The definition of design has evolved through two assumptions. The first being that ‘design as ontological equipment’ exist, where design is a ‘full-fledged discipline’. The second being that design is built upon a nation’s ‘identifiable cultural, socioeconomic, and esthetic aspirations and predictable lifestyle.’

The article then discusses how Asia perceives Western technology as ‘handmaidens of design and harbingers of modernity and their desire to apply onto their own nation. This has led to Asia being seen as ‘slow learners’ rather than ‘late-comers’.

The article then continues to explore how design influence from other nations influence Asia, and the difference the western value and meaning of design and Asia’s value and meaning. That influence caused Asia to adjust to the presence of Western design.



Both articles focus on the definition of design, and how the future of design evolves and is influenced along these definitions. Both also recognize the importance of understanding Asian culture in order to understand their values for design.


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