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The Experimental Design Lab, or ExLaB, is a design laboratory that explores, researches and creates design through an experimental design process focused on the materials and machines things are made from.
Playful experimentation and prototyping lie at the core of the ExLaB pedagogy, encouraging designers to re-examine everyday materials and invent new ones. This process driven design, design through making, suggests an alternative “bottom-up” approach to the conceptual process that places materials and the way things are made at the core of the process. This alternative approach is important both as a way to provoke innovation, by compelling designers to uncover latent opportunities that only become evident through open ended experimentation, while also readdressing our relationship with the planet by requiring a deep understanding of what things are made from.
The major project designed and made by each student is a piece of furniture that is the product this intensive process of experimentation and research with both fabrication techniques and materials. The final furniture pieces should exemplifying how the constraints of certain materials and making processes can, in fact, be manipulated and used to the designer’s advantage, driving the design process to result in creating an innovative, beautiful, unusual and functional object. Students will be provided with specific training in the operation and potentials of different fabrication equipment within the MSD makerspaces.
This subject is a quota subject and places are limited. Students who have provisionally enrolled in the subject must provide a short portfolio of their design work and a statement outlining why they are interested in the subject to be considered for selection. Submission is to be emailed directly to the subject coordinator at least two weeks before semester starts.
Costs to Students:
- Students will be required to purchase all materials used for the development of their design and the production of the final piece.
- All fabrication costs will be provided for free if the student chooses to use the facilities with the ABP makerspaces.
- The typical costs to students is $800 - $1,200 and is determined by the materials selected by the student for their project.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of the subject, students should be able to:
- Develop a design agenda and concept from an experimental, iterative process that focuses on making techniques and material qualities
- Demonstrate a deep understanding of the chosen materials qualities and take advantage of these in the design of the furniture piece.
- Show a thorough understanding of making processes and how the selected processes take advantage of the material qualities use for the furniture piece
- Create a highly resolved and functional furniture piece finished to a high quality standard with refinement of details.
- Communicate and test ideas and design propositions through iterative use of prototypes, material and making tests, orthographic drawing, 3D-modelling (digital or physical), photomontage, renderings, and animations;
- Apply critical thinking to the assessment of design proposals, and to make changes and improvements based on that assessment through iterative design processes;
- Critical design thinking and analysis;
- Introduction to and advanced use of a range of fabrication and making techniques
- Ability to work with different design methodologies
- Physical and digital prototyping and its translation process
- Time management and project management
- Constructive acceptance of feedback and criticism.
- Ability to integrated digital tools and physical prototyping in design process.
Last updated: 3 November 2022