Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cooking -- scientific design and design space

In a recent article in Wired magazine, "the father of molecular gastronomy" is portrayed. This is a really interesting text. First of all it is fascinating to see how you can approach cooking as a scientific enterprise. Herve This is the scientist who invents new dishes based on scientific analysis of ingredients and their chemistry. He is looking for, what he labels "cooking precision" leading to "molecular gastronomy". According to the article Herve has been able to create some new dishes that are loved by customers. Of course, the formal system that Herve has created does not prescribe how to cook and even less what to cook :-) But, it can stimulate our understanding and imagination of what is the possible design space for new dishes. To me, this story shows the power of "frameworks" in design. Good frameworks can support the exploration and opening up of possible design spaces. This is radically opposite to the idea of developing prescriptive guidelines aimed at reducing the design space. Anyhow, to me this example also supports the idea that interaction design needs much more of interaction studies (i.e., studies of the qualities of designed artifacts).

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