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Vapourworlds and design fiction: the role of intentionality

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Publication date12/04/2017
Host publicationProceedings of EAD 2017
Number of pages11
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventEAD 2017: Design for Next - Faculty of Architecture in Valle Giulia, Rome, Italy
Duration: 11/04/201714/04/2017


ConferenceEAD 2017


ConferenceEAD 2017


There is a long tradition of designers creating visions of technological
futures. We contrast the properties of two related types of future envisionment,
whose commonality is using ‘world building’ to showcase or prototype
technological concepts. We consider commercial visions that depict potential future
products within possible future worlds, and by extending the concept of
Vapourware we term these ‘Vapourworlds’. We contrast Vapourworlds with Design
Fictions, a class of envisionment that inherits qualities of criticality and exploration
from its familial antecedents’ radical design and critical design. By comparing these
two approaches we intend to shed light on both. Superficially these world building
endeavours appear similar, yet under the surface an underlying difference in
intentionality permeates the substance of both practices. We conclude with a
position that by highlighting the contrasts between these practices, mutually
beneficial insights become apparent.