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Lifestyle Transformation Design

Willem de Kooning Academy
Fri 13 Apr

A manifesto written by our Lifestyle Transformation Design students and tutors

Transforming lifestyles by generating creative solutions to the social challenges of today and tomorrow!

Ah, Lifestyle Transformation Design. The one department at the academy that cannot be defined or explained in one single breath... So, let us deconstruct the clichés, and explain what lifestyle transformation design really is.

The first thing we need to do is to shift the emphasis from lifestyle design to lifestyle transformation design. We transform lifestyles in order to make contemporary challenges more accessible, to engage in debate on future challenges, to improve our grasp of the future, and to do everything else we need to do in order to improve our everyday life and make our world a better place. A number of significant new developments in contemporary society confront us with the necessity of changing our lifestyles. We are now heading into a period of further transformations that will deeply impact our lives on a personal, social and economic level. This is where the role of lifestyle transformation designers comes into play.

As lifestyle transformation designers, we ask ourselves how we can influence various aspects of our society in order to better address contemporary and future challenges. We do this from a variety of perspectives including technology, food, health, relationships, art and culture, etc. We develop our knowledge of methods such as future thinking, critical thinking, design thinking and storytelling, and learn to apply these methods in our research. Conceptual thinking and solutions-based research provide the foundation for all of our projects.

As future-oriented designers, we must always continue to evolve. Like water, we flow through different disciplines including photography, audio-visual media, web design and graphic design, in order to arrive at a convincing visual representation and communication of a new, innovative and meaningful concept in the form of a final product. We do not master only one single craft, which is what makes us so diverse and inventive. We are no strangers to combining multiple disciplines in order to realise an innovative product or speculative solution.

The biggest misconception about this study is that it’s all about styling.

The biggest misconception about this study is that it’s all about styling. Of course, it is important to always have an aesthetic perspective on your product. However, more important still are the concept as well as the research, and both equally so, since they will, in fact, determine the quality of your process, and eventually define what the design should look like, rather than the other way round. You can become a curator, a product and market innovator, a concept developer/designer, a creative strategist, a trend initiator and visualiser, or even a creative visual communication specialist.

Though we come in many different forms and shapes, we all have one thing in common: we are critical, contemporary, inventive, and of course, we are keenly aware of the importance of aesthetics. We hope this text will spark excitement, and awaken your interest in becoming a future transformation designer.

Cover image: Mono-eating by Aimée Jiline Selling.

Read more about the course, what it has to offer and apply here.

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