Deep Dive into Speculative Design

Over the past decade, Speculative Design has emerged as an alternative, critical and provocative form of future-oriented designerly practice. Now found in diverse settings including government, business, and even the military, Speculative Design offers designers a way to consider future possibilities from a political, ethical, and sometimes whimsical perspective. In the words of Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby who coined the term, Speculative Design pluralizes the world, loosens “reality’s grip on the imagination” and thus allows designers and users to “social dream” together.

We aim with this Deep Dive to give students both a contextual understanding of the emergence and significance of Speculative Design and a few practical tools to design speculatively. We will: discuss the history, current practices and future directions of Speculative Design, read some key texts to create a shared understanding of its role and contribution, evaluate instructive examples, and design speculative artifacts.

The course is structured around a design process undertaken by students in couples. Each course day will cover one step of the design process (from worldbuilding to reflection) and provide students with both theoretical knowledge (short lectures and suggested readings) as well as practical recommendations on how to craft design speculations (design principles and instructive project critique).

Upon completion of this course, students will:

1. Become familiar with the origins, significance, and applications of Speculative Design.

2. Be able to critically analyze Speculative Design exemplars.

3. Be capable to design speculative artifacts in response to important social issues.

The course is coordinated and facilitated by dr. Maria Luce Lupetti and dr. Roy Bendor.