Orchestral Manoeuvres in Design

Atkinson, P, 'Orchestral Maneouvres in Design' in,
Van Able, B et al (Ed.) Open Design Now: Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive, BIS Publishers, Amsterdam,2011, pp 24-31
ISBN 978-90-6369-259-9.

This book chapter looks at how the role of professional designers will have to change in the future, proposing that designers may have to become less like sole authors of work, and more like co-designers of pieces jointly created by a group of people, much like a conductor works with an orchestra to interpret and produce a composer's score.

Introduction - Back to the Future

The concepts of open design - the collaborative creation of artefacts by a dispersed group of otherwise unrelated individuals - and of individualised production - the direct digital manufacture of goods at the point of use - at first sound like something from a Utopian science fiction film. And yet here we are. We can now easily download designs from the internet, alter them at will to suit our own needs and then produce perfect products at the push of a button.


In many ways though, there are huge similarities here to much older practices of production and consumption. The emergence of Do It Yourself as a necessity for many is lost in the mists of time, but defined as a leisure pursuit, a pastime, it emerged from a perceived need to 'keep idle hands busy' - and in the hours following a long working day, acted only to bring the Victorian work ethic from the factory into the home. DIY = Productive leisure.

Details of Open Design Now: Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive are available on the publisher's website here, or on the Premsela website here.
The full chapter can be accessed openly under the Creative Commons Licence at the book's offical website here.