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The Design Society
This paper explores the potential and possibilities for applying a critical design approach and critical design thinking to industrial company Mapei AS, mainly focusing on improving product development and creating innovative concrete surfaces for the construction industry and urban spaces. The paper also discusses the methodological challenges and possibilities of working in a cross-disciplinary team consisting of product designers, tertiary-level product design students, chemical engineers, and relevant stakeholders. The study presents an overview of a critical design approach, which is a continuation of previous work on how methods such as design fiction and poetic estrangement can add value and explore the possibilities of critical design as interventions in industrial, material, and educational systems. The research consists of a series of case studies and participatory design workshops that involved testing the critical design approach with tertiary-level product design students. The participatory design workshops focused on creating design fiction and a collection of conceptual design proposals that shift the focus from design and object to ideas and concepts, challenging the stakeholders and the established ideas and materials. The results of the conducted research and the participatory design workshops represent an expansion of the critical design approach into industrial and educational contexts, as well as the public realm.
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