The Importance of Perspective - A WDL Study

Industrial design and architecture are two vastly different disciplines...or are they?

March 26, 2024

Recently we were designing a networking product for a client and some of our concepts were looking like cool little buildings. This really intrigued us, so we decided to explore what would happen if we went on a conceptual tangent and intentionally merged the two worlds of architecture and industrial design. These professions have a lot in common but of course there are huge differences between a product and a building, primarily scale.

In this study, we pondered how to reduce the contrast between design and architecture. We aimed to blur the lines between what delineates an object versus a building. To demonstrate this fusion, we concentrated on the common elements that are shared between good design and good architecture - proportion and form, surface nuance, materiality, light control, and detail accent. Then we borrowed modern architecture styles like Brutalism, Internationalism, and Deconstructionism and transposed them onto our product concepts. Interesting to note that architecture has been practiced for thousands of years so there are many styles, where industrial design is young by comparison and perhaps overdue for better style classification.

Not surprisingly, scale had the most influence on our thinking. Designers and architects typically sketch ideas from their end user’s point of view where the viewer and subject are scaled together. For example, when designing a product, you’d sketch it in human scale in a usage setting, but if you’re designing a building, you’d sketch it from the perspective of a person standing in front of it. In our study we did the opposite. We sketched our products from a very low “mouse eye view” like an architect would, which instantly shifted our perception bias about scale. It made our products suddenly look more like buildings. It was a thought-provoking exercise, and it makes one realize that the worlds of design and architecture are closer than you'd think.

At Whipsaw we always seek unique points of view because it’s often the key thing that leads to breakthrough innovation. When you look at problems from every different angle, and embrace many different disciplines and perspectives, you begin to see new patterns and ways to solve your problem. We also just like to try interesting things for the sheer joy of it.

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