Dongha Kim and Prasad Boradkar, Arizona State University
The accelerated development of innovative forms, unusual material applications, new technical means and processes, and globalization in the second half of the 20th century have heavily influenced manufactured products. Since the 1960s, it has been observed that corporations and designers have focused on creating user-friendly products leading to, among other things, softer organic forms and more vivid colors. Though designers have stressed the importance of satisfying the psychological and physical needs of the user, few studies have traced the origin and development of this tendency. Designers worldwide have adopted various approaches in order to appeal emotionally to users and to infiltrate a competitive marketplace. This tendency is essentially driven by a combination of the rationality of functional design and the sensibility of user-centered design. We would like to label this “Sensibility—Design.” This paper is an attempt to outline its basic tenets, formulate its theoretical underpinning, and illustrate its manifestation through specific examples in the context of the history of industrial design. Sensibility refers to complex feelings such as amenity, pleasantness, comfort, pleasure, and so forth, which are often experienced in the use of objects. Sensibility—Design can be characterized as a specific design approach, which generates products that stimulate the human mind and the senses through visual, audible, and tactile factors. This design attitude blends human emotion with high technology and is often seen in the products from companies such as Alessi, Sony Co., Thomson multimedia, Philips Co., and designers like Philippe Starck, Michael Graves, Emilio Ambasz, etc. It is obvious that the tendency has evolved from a branch of Pluralism, but derives its essential ideological premise from Modernism.