Design is commonly understood as an activity of producing useful artefacts rather than an activity of inquiry. It aims to produce more refined design objects that fulfil every possible need; and objects which do not serve needs, solve problems or cannot be used almost seem frivolous in design and are often considered as art objects. This study, however, is not concerned with art objects but with design objects as objects for contemplation and with design as a form of philosophical inquiry.
This form of inquiry, however, is understood as a reflection on the
human condition rather than a search for truth. Design is not concerned
with finding truth but possibilities. It deals with matters of concern
rather than matters of fact, with the human perspective on the world
rather facts about the world.
Design as inquiry is an exploration of the present and possible conditions for human existence in a technologically mediated world. The aim is not to produce design objects for use but objects, which increase our understanding of the human condition in a world of technological artefacts.
Therefore, these design objects need to be able to enhance our ability
to reflect and need to create knowledge. Since design objects are
affective and not explanatory, this cannot be achieved by means of
arguments but by showing a perspective on the possible ways of
existence. Since we naturally understand the world through interacting
with artefacts, design objects may enable us to understand these matters
more immediately than abstract theories.
The task of design as inquiry then, is to produce design objects, which allow us to experience the
human condition in the technological landscape in a reflective way.