RTD2015 11 Walking off the garden path: a design journey
This paper illustrates various digital-nature artefacts, which emerged from a reflective design journey to enhance and support novel connections to nature in a garden.
The research imperative is to explore possibilities for the design of digital technologies for changing people’s interpretation of a National Trust garden, encouraging encounters through the artefacts that take visitors off the garden path and reawaken them to the “presence” of the garden. The process began with an exploration of the criticisms and possibilities of technolo- gies suggested within the writings of Heidegger, Borgmann and Feenberg, which were complemented by insights from natural history writers such as Deakin. These writings guided the design sensibilities for the creation of a collection of interpretation artefacts including Audio Apples, Rhubaphones and a Nature Meditation Egg. Much of the work was situated in a Walled Kitchen Garden managed by National Trust.
Research through design complements the research philosophy because it demands space for reflection and conversation, and enables inclusion of different voices within the design journey. The methodology has helped address the question of whether a design lens that begins with criticism of technology can change the way we design, and the artefacts produced.