Systems Upgrade

What capacities do new media, design and fabrication technology afford us in studying the artifacts of design history?

The research is a deep study of material artifacts from design history, using advanced digital design and manufacturing tools, to construct bridges between design history research and contemporary creative practice.

The research submits that a deep study of legacy material artifacts may constitute a valuable bridge between design history and contemporary creative practice.  While this investigation is dedicated to an elaboration on material artefacts, the relationships between design and the material world are largely mediated by representational tools. This project focuses on a study of the ways that we may re-describe these design legacies.  More precisely, the study of design history elaborated here, is a reflection on the history of designing.  The focus is on the conversation between the materialized work and the ways in which it may be brought into focus through our descriptive tools.

Interestingly, it is through this process that an exercise in analysis may also become the means through which we may upgrade design histories for extension into contemporary design practice. While digital archaeology of design artefacts may extend our knowledge of the history of design, it can also be leveraged to upgrade these historical antecedents for future applications.


Forthcoming book: Asensio Villoria L. & Mah D. 2021/2022, Systems Upgrade: (Re)fabricating Tectonic Prototypes, Actar Publishers, Barcelona/New York

Project Contact:

David Syn Chee Mah, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Design
Leire Asensio Villoria, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Design