catapult magazine

catapult magazine


engineering = science??


Apr 28 2003
06:36 pm

A very interesting article that I think would be appreciated by engineers and non-engineers alike that talks about the role of aesthetics in engineering design:

The paper asks the question: “What are the characteristics of good engineering design aesthetics?”

It answers this by saying, "I want to argue that aesthetically good engineering design is that which embodies technological allusivity…. Technological allusivity in engineering design is achieved when the design successfully suggests a (delightfully) harmonious interaction, at the human-technical interface, whereby the product dissolves into an extension of the user.

Consider the key words in this definition. ‘The design successfully suggests,’ refers, of course, to the idea that allusivity is the core of aesthetic meaning. By referring to the ‘human-technical interface,’ technological allusivity is connected with ergonomics and user-friendliness. The phrase, ‘dissolves into an extension of the user,’ is a metaphor for the process by which the product becomes so familiar to us that it is as unobtrusive and as natural as our bodies and minds."

I think that gives an idea of how engineering isn’t and shouldn’t only be focused only on function. Obviously, the function of a technological object is important, but proper functioning alone does not make a technological object “good.”