Article Summary and Comparison Week 5

Culture based Knowledge towards New Design Thinking and practice.


Benny Ding Leong studied design in both China and in England, giving him an objective view of design thinking and rational throughout both countries.

Througout his studies, Leong  became aware of a growing materialism and technological orientation in European design. My empirical knowledge of contemporary European design made me question its very role, and nourished my interest in studying culture -particularly traditional Chinese culture. I believed that cultural knowledge could enrich contemporary design theory and underpin innovation in design practice, providing an alternative to Western design that would have international application.

As such, Leong set out to research and study concepts that underpin true ancient chines design. Leong heavily researched ancient china to find original concepts that had been lost throught the progression of Asian design in the modern world.
Leongs research focused heavily on User centered design and he identified three identified the essential areas in regards to cultural design:

1 “Value” in design-generated by the value systems of the given culture;

2 “Macro-relations”-a combination of the collective behaviour of users, the interaction of users and objects, and the interrelationship of users, objects, and environments; and

3 “Micro-relations”–of design interfaces or ergonomics among users, objects, and environments.



Design, Development, Culture, and Cultural Legacies in Asia, written by Rajeshwari Ghose begins by Asian was slow to adopt modern design aspects, and how this affected the country’s ability to stay up to date will the changing design profession,  stating    “China had no modern design education until the late 1970s. Design education has been formed mainly in Western countries. Without an international design education structure and curriculum, China has no way to develop its own structure and curriculum.

The article then goes on to explain how the country has rebounded from this into a design hub of the world using the 3 three guidelines to Industrial Design for Development, promulgated in January 1979:

 (1) Understanding the values of one’s society and then defining a quality of life within its parameters;

 (2) seeking local answers for local needs by using local materials and skills, while making use of advanced science and technology; and

(3) Creating new values, addressing priority needs, and preserving plural identities



In comparing the two articles, Culture based Knowledge towards New Design Thinking and practise, focuses on rejecting modern design and its throwaway mentality and going back to basics to find the core design principles that underpin a country and its needs. On the other hand, Design, Development, Culture, and Cultural Legacies in Asia focuses on how Asia has grown and adapted to to modern techniques and how to keep up with the changes of the modern world.


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