I recently had the opportunity to have a chat with Ayse Brisel, who runs Birsel+Seck design studio. She’s going to be part of a 3DS event soon (Design in Life) so I thought it’d be nice to introduce her and her concepts!
Can you tell me about your design concept: Deconstruction & Reconstruction?
Often Designers are asked about how they think and it’s a challenge to explain the process of design. In the last two years, I tried to articulate my process and Deconstruction & Reconstruction (De/Re) is the result of that.
We are all shaped by our preconceptions. Objects, situations and reality come to us prepackaged as a coherent whole. De/Re is about breaking our preconceptions to free our minds to imagine an array of new hypothesis.
One of my favorite examples of De/Re thinking outside of my work is the Dyson Air Multiplier. It pulls apart the conventional idea of a fan to eliminate its most fundamental part, the blade, and reconstructs a new hypothesis around how to blow air without it. It breaks the status quo to remind you of what you were trying to solve in the first place, which in Dyson’s case was moving air, freeing you to think about new and hopefully better ways of doing it.
I’ve read a lot that you look at your life as a design project… Can you tell me more about that?
When I was articulating De/Re as a process, I thought that it would be interesting to see if this process could be applied to designing one’s life. I like to think of life as our most important project and yet most of us think that we don’t have much control over our lives.
So my point is: ok we can’t control everything, but we can start imagining and designing the kind of life we’d like. So I started a series of workshops called “Design the Life You Love”, to teach people, non-designers as well as designers, to think about life with imagination and originality.
One part of this process is asking people to look at what the Dominant, Subdominant and Subordinate parts of their life are. Another way of saying this is, what is central to your life, what supports that center and what completes it.
Since there are only three parts, it forces people to look at what matters for them in their lives and the hierarchy between them (say, family, friends and work). If you want to have more, you need to resolve dichotomies to figure out how you can get more value within these constraints. Just like a design problem!
Often, people at my workshops are at a point in their life where they want to change something but they don’t know exactly what. So this helps shifting their point of view, and even if they don’t act on it, they learn to think about life differently, creatively, using design tools.
What future do you see for the design industry?
These days, my thinking is that we’re problem solvers, as well as team players. We’re really good at dichotomy resolution, bringing opposing ideas together to create new meaning and value.
So my point is that the design industry will increasingly help people to design their lives and address world problems. There are so many issues (poverty, women rights, democracy, etc.) where our creative thinking can definitely come up with 1+1=3 kinds of solutions, in collaboration with other people and disciplines.
And that’s why I like Deconstruction & Reconstruction; it’s a systematic and learned process around solving problems, but without loosing the whole intuitive and imaginary part of design.
Pretty interesting right? I was personally thrilled by De/Re… it’s quite a problem solving method! What do you think?
P.S.: I’ll be live blogging and tweeting at the event next week so stay tuned!