Under the title “The Futures Archive”, Design Observer has launched a podcast series that looks at the history of human-centred design with a critical eye to the future. Each episode begins by introducing an object – a toilet, a passport, a uniform, a toothbrush, a chair or a bottle – to question the motives and methods that put people, along with their complex needs and desires, at the centre of the design process. From research to iteration to manufacturing and distribution, design is seen as more than the sum of its myriad parts.
Each episode of the podcast ends with the listener being given a task, a kind of design exercise. This should lead to further work on the object and idea that was talked about in the programme. For example, you are supposed to make a sandwich and then design a chair for that sandwich. When everything is ready, you have to eat the sandwich. Or you’re supposed to document every drink container you’ve used for a day, whether it’s a mug, glass or cup made of ceramic, paper or plastic. The Futures Archive is presented by Automattic and Adobe and can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or other relevant platforms. There is also a transcript of each episode on the Design Observer website for reference.
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