Parametric design thinking about digital and material surface patterns
There is a growing need in contemporary society to understand new and emerging relationships between technology and creativity. In practice-oriented areas of education such as design, many instructors have come to understand the importance of different learning styles and how students benefit when presentation of new material is varied to reach all students. The concept of parametric design thinking enabled by advanced computational processes has recently been identified as a relevant approach to design education. The present research further explores parametric design thinking through two case studies of design workshops in an educational context and how this approach can promote diversity. The first case (Robotised Clay Workshop) documents material exploration and creative and aesthetic possibilities in digitalised clay processes. The second case (Surface Patterns in Textiles: From Tradition to Digitalisation and Back) explores digitalised processes in hybrid textile design. The two case studies contribute to the exploration of parametric design thinking as an educational approach and discuss digitalisation and the relations of body, hand and mind in terms of the Vygotskyan ‘zone of proximal development’. This content was synthesised for a workshop on surface patterns for third-year bachelor design students. The paper identifies some potentials and pitfalls of this pedagogical approach and concludes that students’ awareness of conformity and diversity in the design process can be used as a starting point to explore digital surface patterns, offering students a new way of learning about function, aesthetics and product semantics through parametric design thinking.