On material production. Sensitive qualities and practical knowledge in artefacts’ stabilization process
Keywords:design, etnografia vagabonda, estetica, sapere pratico, tacit knowledge, aesthetics, ethnography
In the last few years, a large number of studies within Science and Technology Studies have been trying to open the black box of design. These studies focus on the design practices performed by professional communities - including architects, designers, aerospace engineers and technology designers - with the aim of highlighting their social and situated nature. The stabilisation of a new artefact is a result of a series of negotiations among different actors, regulations, material and social constraints. The design process thus acquires a new material and social dimension involving actors who had not been adequately considered in the past. The present work focuses on the specific features of a new artefact based on the suppliers-craftsmen's sensory relation with materials and their tangible qualities. By describing the design process of a piece of furniture, I therefore intend to retrace the emergence of its tangible qualities.