Critical Design

According to the reading “Critical Design FAQ” and the “Speculative Everything Lecture” by Anthony Dunne, critical design is all about attitude. It is about design fiction in the near future. “Critical design uses speculative design proposals to challenge assumptions and preconceptions of everyday life products”. This non-commercial form of design encourages people to think, to start a debate, raise awareness or provoke action. Critical design is about real problems and how they will penetrate the future. It is about the transition from thinking about how the world is, to how it could be considering all the possibilities.

With such a rapidly changing world in all of the aspects its inevitable to think about the future and what it would be like. People tend to start to anticipate problems and solutions and what consequences would arise in the future, and this is when critical design flourishes: To make us think about what would happened. It is very different to conventional design, because it does not reinforce the status quo. It brakes it, it jumps out of the box and analyses complex meaningful issues.

When I think about the future I normally come up with 2 issues: Transportation and Education.

  1. Transportation: This is a current issue pretty much world wide, more and more people want to currently move around in cities and within cities, so how is this affecting the future and the way we perceive distance? I saw with this example called Hyperloop, which is an ultra high speed public transportation. The design team is trying to defy the status quo and enable people to travel as fast as sound. Maybe one day it would be possible to live in London, have breakfast in Paris, work in Berlin and then go for dinner in Brussels.
  1. Education: This brings me back to a TED talk I once watched from Ken Robinson about how schools kill creativity. He says that education is the key to the future, but how are we supposed to educate people that will run the world in 50 years if we have no clue what the future would be like in 5 years? This whole idea of educating children to lead the future is very intriguing to me, and very complex at the same time. I also wonder how technology is impacting children’s life. Personally I think that too much technology is actually detrimental to their development, and indeed it could kill creativity if it is not used correctly. Yes, technology is very helpful but it also makes people stupid and lazy. Even if I think about myself, whenever I have to come up with a simple maths problem in a supermarket or with my friends or something, I immediately grab my phone and do the maths, I couldn’t do it otherwise. So how is this affecting schools? What will children do in 10/20 year? Would they even know how to multiply or divide? Is it even necessary when we have all of theses devices that do the work for us? I believe education has to change, it has to adapt to the way children will be in the future, and so does the classroom as seen in the video below and the following images.

Design by Lava and ARUP about effective spaces for learning that are sustainable, integrate with the landscape and connect with the school environment, suitable for prefabrication and mass customisation.

10-new RrGRAU111029 small1 small3 small2 301011_BrisbaneContext Render_Final Au 111031---COF-Melbourne-View4-AUGR


Dunne, A., Raby, F. Dune and Ray. Critical Design FAQ Available at: (Accessed: 28 January 2016).

Resonate Festival (2013) Speculative Everything-Anthony Dunne at Resonate 2013: (Accessed: 28 January 2016).


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