Sustaining Cultural Aesthetics in Design for Cultural Identity

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As the world is merging in a melting pot of the ever advancing technological market, training young industrial designers has become more and more challenging. With the limited time and credit hours requirement, there are more students to teach than twenty years ago. On one hand all basic design fundamental principles have to be continuously taught, while on the other hand proficiency in technological skills such as CAD and rapid prototyping is becoming dominating the industry. As design educators we find ourselves unintentionally teaching more skills than equipping students to be responsible thinkers. In the mist of the old and new, design students are striving in learning the advance trend in design and technology, unknowingly one of the most important aspects of design is being neglected, namely, culture. Culture that we design for, and culture that we originated from, have been somehow lost in the design classroom. This paper is an experiment of a teaching approach that intentionally uses cultural aesthetics as the focus in product form development. The approach has been used and refined in the last two years through an annual study abroad design exchange program between Auburn University and Shu-Te University. The attempt is to develop a systematic model to reinforce Taiwan design students in understanding of the important role of culture, and incorporating cultural aesthetics in design. It is our desire to continue to explore and develop the approach in hope that it would plant a seed of cultural concern to the new generation of designers

Keywords: Culture, Cultural Aesthetics, Product Design
Stream: Cultural Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English

Prof. Tin-Man Lau

Professor, Department of Industrial Design, Auburn University
Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Tin-Man Lau originally from Hong Kong, earned his B.S. in Industrial Design from the National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan in 1983, and his M.A. in Industrial Design from the Ohio State University in 1986. He worked for the Taiwan Kolin Co., Ltd. as an assistant engineer before his graduate study. He jointed the faculty at the Auburn University, Alabama in 1986. He is now a full professor teaching both undergraduate and graduate design courses as well as CAD in the Department of Industrial Design. He is also an independent design consultant specialized in developing consumer products. During his tenure in Auburn, he has directed design projects sponsored by NASA, Brother International, DOE, Frigidaire, Gametime, etc. He has also participated design research projects funded by IBM, SeikoMead, and NASA. He is recently named by DesignIntelligence magazine one of the four Design Educators of the Year 2007 nationally.

Dr. Chyun-Chau Lin

Instructor, Department of Product Design, Shu-Te University

Chyun-Chau Lin works as an instructor in Product Design Department, Shu-Te University, Taiwan. He is also a freelance product designer, and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Industrial Design at National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. He received his Master degree in Industrial Design from Auburn University, USA. His research activities include product innovative design, design management, design methodology, and ergonomics.

Dr. Nien-Te Liu

Assistant Professor, Department of Product Design, Shu-Te University

Prof. Chiu-Te Chiu

Associate Professor, Department of Product Design, Shu-Te University

Ref: S08P0141