[Concept]ual design versus practical design.
I was repeatedly confronted with the common line of thought by us early designers this week.
Can a conceptual design be practical?
Can a designer design in habitable, meaningful space from a flower? What about a kaleidoscope, quilt, square, or even from a concept such as rhythm, focus, or void and object?
I think so. In fact, I believe that it is these everyday objects and concepts that can be some of the best catalysts for creative and dynamic designs/representations.
It is a difficult thing to 'think outside the box'. I would even say that in these instances, to use a box as object is out of place. It is not that most people cannot achieve this type of design thinking, nor that doing so is a rare and limited talent. Simply that people have been taught to perceive the world and its designed objects, or life in general, in pragmatic and practical ways. Simplicity and efficiency as means of thinking are king, many would say.
Our brains, left or right, fight this shift in how we perceive, observe, and synthesize. To move from seeing a flower as a generator for creating a structure centralized in a courtyard with amphitheater seating or exploring musical rhythm as a flowing organic landscape accented with vertically rising structures is almost nonsensical.
Is it 'practical' to think like this?
I believe that as designers drive designs, with concepts they are challenging the way they perceived a problem. The problem I believe is then truly flushed out to its fullest form during this period of 'process'.
Without this process a designer simply is answering a question, not providing a full solution.
So is [concept]ual design practical?
I would say design is impractical without it.