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Design: the Object in Use
The Relation Object-Usage-User in the Work of Three Agencies
Le design : l’objet dans l’usage, originally published at Presses des mines in 1998, is now reissued.
Back cover. The study of the designers’ work is part of a more general questioning which aims at the work of construction necessary for the market situation to appear. The designers, who have to physically make the object and anticipate a future market, are of particular interest for those who want to understand the complex mechanisms of the incorporation of demand into products. Design is taken in divergent definitions. But designers share a common definition of their work: that of an articulation between the user and the object. It is why they are studied, as sociologists of usage. Three teams of industrial designers, chosen for the complementarity of their conception of design and of their work environment, were surveyed. The study of their practices, of their modes of organization, and of the representation techniques they use, singles out possible modalities of anticipating usage. As opposed to marketing, designers are subject to pressing constraints: their task of “making” the object underlines all that the object involves of indeterminate contents compared to an ideal specification about the desiderata of demand. This indetermination imposes the necessary condensation of its dimensions: aesthetic, technical, functional, commercial. It is this undecided moment in which the object takes shape that makes the plurality of possible solutions appear, as well as the structural indetermination of supply in relation to demand.
Le design : l’objet dans l’usage, Presses des mines, 1998-2019
Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier is a sociologist. She conducts research in economic sociology on the social fabric of the consumer.
Antoine Hennion is an honorary member of the Centre de sociologie de l'innovation (Mines-ParisTech, PSL/CNRS), centre which he directed from 1994 to 2002, conducted research in the sociology of music and culture, on the media, on taste.